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Jan. 4, 1999
See the Happy Hacker web site at http://www.happyhacker.org
Svenska: http://w1.340.telia.com/~u34002171/hhd/gtmhh/svenska/hhdsvensk.html
Preview Ender Wiggin's new look for the Happy Hacker website at

Inside this report:

* Looking for help from El Salvadoran hackers
* Hacker Wargame news: we have a winner!
* FBI vs. Carolyn Meinel -- read all about it!
* Book review: Winn Schwartau's "Information Warfare"
* Happy Hacker book news


 *** Looking for Help from El Salvadoran Hackers

Our former Happy Hacker Digest editor, Dale Holmes, sent us this request for

I'd like to ask you a favor... Would you be willing to put a note out
to the HHD list asking anyone in El Salvador to contact me (at this
sysguru@yahoo.com address). I am trying to help a friend locate his
abducted son. It happened in 1997, and he has received information
that his son may be in El Salvador. I thought that maybe I could point
any friendly HH readers toward the Wanted poster and if they know
anything they could send me a note. 

It's not really a Happy Hacker subject, but if you wouldn't mind
simply inviting El Salvadoran readers to contact me, I could explain
it to them from there... It could make a big difference.

-- Dale 

 *** Hacker Wargame News -- We Have a Winner!

Check out http://koan.happyhacker.org to see who has root there now!  The
winner has left the guest account easy to get into.  Just guess its
password.  It is really stupid, even a stupid person can guess it.  Get in
and you can hack the guest account Web site -- check it out at

We also have to give honorable mention to two hackers who figured out two
different ways to get telnet to work in the guest account (Satori had turned
telnet off). Cryptotek, who was the first wargame sysadmin, discovered read
permission on the telnet program.  So he copied it into the guest directory
and set permissions on it to make it executable!  (Use the command "man
chmod" to learn how to do tricks like that yourself.)

Here's how the other fellow got telnet working:

From: Kt0pher@aol.com

hey i dont know if you really care but observe this-  [i imagine noone has
showed you this before or you would have disabled it, wouldn't want people
telnetting to whitehouse.gov trying to brute force in 80s style] 

koan% cd /usr/bin
koan% tn3270
tn3270> telnet

FreeBSD (koan.happyhacker.org) (ttyp7)


Maybe if you post this to the list let me explain what tn3270 is.  It's a
program similar to telnet that's really designed to communicate with the old
legacy IBM systems like the 370 because of some special characters on the
terminal keyboard, but it obviously works with BSD rather well....  thanks


Meanwhile, Satori is root on wargame computer fishbone.happyhacker.org,
which is also the Happy Hacker Web server.  Hint: this is an OpenBSD box
running both Kerberos and ssh.  Not so long ago this combination would get
you root if you knew how to exploit it.  But no one did, aw, too bad! 

He, he, we did it again, we put a new computer on the wargame and only the
better hackers noticed it was up.  She's smurfett.happyhacker.org, a Linux
box.  Sysadmin is Vasendek.  When she first went online and was relatively
vulnerable, it was impossible to ping her from the Internet.  The only way
you could tell she existed was to get in koan.happyhacker.org and ping her
from there (that guest account isn't as lame as you thought it was!)

So here's how to spot what computers are up on the wargame.  From
koan.happyhacker.org's guest account, give a network ping command:


This sends out a ping to every computer that is on our Local Area Network
(LAN).  You will see a whole bunch of replies coming back.  Then you can
double check what is there with the command:

arp -a

Hint: this is not foolproof. We could still hide a computer on that LAN that
even these commands won't uncover:)  But that's life in the Wargame.  Happy


FBI vs. Carolyn Meinel -- Read All About it!

You can read a news story about Meinel's press conference in which she
revealed details of FBI harassment of her at the Wired web site, 

Now here's the story as told by me (Carolyn Meinel)

It all started in August, 1996.  I'm a middle-aged research engineer (MSIE)
-- and a computer hacker.

When you read that I'm a hacker, maybe you are thinking that means I'm a
computer criminal.  Nowadays almost everything you read about hacking is
really about computer crime.  But it wasn't always that way.  It used to be
that hacking meant wanting to get inside of what makes computers work, and
discovering fascinating and fun things about the Internet.  People who claim
hacking is only about computer crime make me mad.

In August 1996 I decided to help the new generation of Internet users
discover the good guy, harmless sort of hacking.  So I set out on a quest to
teach the secrets of hacking to as many people as possible.  (See

I figured that with my humorous style, no one would be offended by my
teaching people about hacking.  I was wrong.  Within days, an alliance of
hacker gangs mobilized to try to drive us Happy Hackers off the Internet and
out of business.  Computer criminals vandalized each Internet Service
Provider that allowed me to be a customer.  They repeatedly made clumsy
attempts to frame me for computer crime.  You can see examples in the hacked
Web site archives at http://www.antionline.com. 

Despite these attacks, us Happy Hackers refuse to break the law while
defending ourselves.  We believe it is wrong to fight back at our attackers
by committing computer crime against them.  At our web site we teach you,
too, how to defend yourselves legally, using free software.  You don't have
to be a giant corporation in order to keep yourself safe on the Internet.

When the criminals realized they couldn't destroy our Web site, then a group
calling itself Hacking for Girliez decided to try to cause trouble for us by
vandalizing a series of high profile Web sites: Motorola, MC Hammer,
Penthouse, NASA JPL, and on Sept. 13, 1998, the New York Times. 

They made clumsy attempts to persuade investigators that I was responsible
for their crimes.  For example, at the MC Hammer web site they argued,
ETHICS. BLAME HER."  At thePenthouse web site they said, "ARR3ST 
At the New York Times they made the claim  "Speaking of FBI..  did we forget
to mention what Carolyn Meinel offered to do for us?  If asked who we were,
or if she had any  knowledge of who we are, she offered to give misleading
information to the FBI in order to help us continue our hacking spree.  She
assured us that she had plenty of other people to focus the FBI's attention
on, and that they would 'surely take the heat'."

I thought there was no way that their silly rants could persuade the FBI
that I was helping their crime spree.  It was  good thing, I thought, that
the Girliez were so clumsy in trying to incriminate me.  Their crime spree
was amazingly destructive. The Girliez did $1.5 million damage to the
computer system of the New Your Times.  It took over a week to get their Web
site entirely back online. Coincidentally -- or was it coincidence? -- the
New York Times Web site was closed down while hundreds of thousands of
people were attempting to download the Starr report.  Whoever gets arrested
for their crimes is likely to spend a long time in prison.

In early Oct. the Hacking for Girliez gang gave an interview to Adam
Penenberg of Forbes magazine, which hit the news stands Nov. 1. Between that
and gossip in the underground, the identity of the culprits became an open
secret.  It also became obvious to almost anyone that the Girliez hate me.
As Penenberg's article pointed out, one of the Hacking for Girliez criminals
told him "Meinel has this thought that as the Happy Hacker, she is this
noble leader among leaders... we thought, 'Let's make her life hell.' "

Yes, I figured, there was no way anyone with as much as a double digit IQ
would think I had ever been one of the Hacking for Girliez gang.

Oct. 26 an Albuquerque FBI agent, Tracy Baldwin, told me it was urgent that
I meet her at the local headquarters the next day.  I presumed she was
interested in getting more information to help her solve the case.  I had
caught the Girliez in the middle of an August 7 attack on Rt66 Internet and
prevented them from doing a lot more damage than they did do.  Also, I know
a thing or two about computer security, as shown, for example, in my Oct.
1998 article in "Scientific American" magazine.  It seemed logical that
Baldwin would want my help in solving the case.

I was wrong.  In a bare interrogation room featuring manacles bolted to the
desk behind which she sat, Baldwin told me I was a suspect in the New York
Times hack.  She demanded that I take a lie detector test. 

I consulted with four lawyers.  They all said the FBI only gives lie
detector tests to trick someone into saying something that will get them
arrested.  Oct. 30 I told Baldwin I would not take the test.  She got pretty
ugly about it, tying to persuade me I'd better take the test if I didn't
want to be arrested.

Nov. 10, Dr. Mark Ludwig, publisher of "The Happy Hacker book," went along
as a witness with me to the Albuquerque FBI office.  There we met with three
agents: Doug Beldon, Roger Black, and Baldwin.  Beldon told Ludwig, "Sure,
she's a suspect."  They subjected me to over an hour of browbeating, warning
me that if I didn't take a lie detector test, my chances of arrest would
increase. I sat there and said nothing -- and took notes.  It was a
fascinating opportunity to observe how the FBI tries to intimidate innocent
people into incriminating themselves.

Guess what -- Doug Beldon has a certificate in his office saying he is a
graduate of the Rush Limbaugh Institute.  It figures.

Does this mean that I will no longer cooperate with the FBI in bringing the
Hacking for Girliez gang to justice?  Because the FBI has not backed down
claiming I am a suspect, I no longer dare talk to them.   However, I am
still tying to bring the Girliez to justice by helping others to catch them.
For example, as reported in the Forbes magazine article, I arranged with
Internet Security Systems (http://www.iss.net) to remotely monitor Rt66
Internet.  If the Girliez are foolish enough to return to attack Rt66, they
will walk into a trap. Or, they may fall into someone else's trap. He, he.
Gosh, maybe they will have to quit committing computer crime!

I will continue to help keep the Happy Hacker message of white hat, good guy
hacking on the Internet.  You have the right to know the secrets of the
Internet and to learn how to protect yourself from nasty characters such as
the Girliez.  I won't let criminals like them shut me down, and I won't let
the FBI shut me down, either.

Keep hacking, and keep out of trouble, folks!


 *** Book Review: Winn Schwartau's "Information Warfare"

Information Warfare : Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway,
by Winn Schwartau 
List Price:$18.95 
Happy Hacker/Amazon.com Price: $15.16
(at http://www.happyhacker.org/general.htm#Information Warfare)
You Save:$3.79 (20%) 

Availability: This title usually ships within 24 hours. 
Paperback 2nd edition (October 1996) 

    This is the book that helped me keep my head when hacker warriors
targeted me. Schwartau's book includes many essays by other computer
security experts.  But this book is best when it is Winn speaking.  He tells
the reader about some of his frightening experiences as the
target of way too many hacker wars.  Most important, he tells you exactly
what to do to keep yourself safe from credit card fraud, getting your power
and phone turned off, and many more hazards of warfare in the cyberspace era. 

    Thanks in part to this book, I've never lost one cent to credit card
fraud (despite valiant efforts by cybercriminals to mess me up), never have
lost power to my home, and have managed to keep both my personal and Happy
Hacker Internet access alive and healthy.  It's great to be
able to laugh at the d00dz who think they can use computer crime to scare me. 

 Now in case you think I'm a Schwartau groupie, let me make one thing
perfectly clear -- I can't stand him!  But so what, he wrote an invaluable
book, now run out and buy it if you want to fight hacker wars and win!
Also, it cost a lot less than my book:):) -- Carolyn Meinel 


 *** Happy Hacker Book News

People keep on emailing me saying they can't buy the Happy Hacker book
because bookstores tell them it is sold out and more won't be available
until February.  That is just plain *wrong*.  Barnes & Noble has it in stock
in their distribution centers, Amazon.com usually has it in stock (despite
what their web page may say) and we have several boxes of them sitting in
the Happy Hacker office.  You can find links to buy "The Happy Hacker,"
second edition, from your choice of Amazon.com, direct from the publisher,
or to get an autographed copy from me (Carolyn Meinel) at 
http://www.happyhacker.org/ general.htm#The Happy Hacker

A recent review of this book appeared at

The Happy Hacker

reviewed by Bob Bruen

The subtitle of this book is: A Guide to (Mostly) Harmless Computer
Hacking, a goal which is met. Very little of what is in the book will
turn you into someone breaking into banks. What I liked most about the
book is the sense that the old definition of hacking around with
computers can found all the way through. Trying out this or that,
learning what something means, playing around with features of
computers that are not so obvious. Happy Hacker turns out to be quite
a good introduction to exploring computers and networks for just about
anyone. There are lots of tidbits to try out on your Win95 box. The
explanation of port scanning is one of the best I have I seen. Besides
a lighthearted approach the description is clear and the examples are

Ms. Meinel places copious warnings about getting in trouble with your
boss, the law and other hackers throughout the book. Just as often she
provides hints of fun things to try that will not hurt anyone, but are
useful. For example if you wondered why that annoying $MS background
page shows up even after you deleted the file, well a second copy is
contained in another startup file, so instead of deleting it, replace
it using her instructions. This type of hack hurts no one, but is

Forging email, one of the oldest hacks, is explained along with the
well known email spam problem and what you can do about it. She traces
out some spam mail to its source as it passes through forgeries by
explaining mail headers. This is useful education for folks starting
out in the world of the Internet. Professionals may see some of this
as obvious, but most people do not, making this a worthwhile purchase
if you want to learn a few steps beyond the basics without risking

Since the author writes well, the book reads quickly and easily, but I
would like to have seen more pages. There are four basic sections, the
first eight chapters cover Win95. The second section has seven
chapters dealing with Unix and networking. The four chapters in
section three are about mail and the last three chapters provide an
interesting history of hacking, hacking humor and meeting hackers.

The book is priced right and I enjoyed it. As long as your
expectations are on target, it is a worthwhile purchase as a good
introductory text. I expect most readers would have at least one new
trick. You will not find stack smashing or crypto, but you will see
how to bypass Win95 passwords as well as see how email is forged.


This is a list devoted to *legal* hacking! If you plan to use any
information in this Digest or at our Web site to commit crime, go away!
Foo on you! Don't email us bragging about any crimes you may have committed.
We mean it. 

Happy Hacker is a 501 (c) (3) tax deductible organization 
in the United States operating under Shepherd's Fold Ministries. Yes! 
This is all a plot to save your immortal souls!

For Windows questions, email keydet89@yahoo.com or editor@cmeinel.com
For Unix questions, contact unixeditor@cmeinel.com
For Macs, write Strider <s.corinth@iname.com> 

Happy Hacker Grand Pooh-bah: Carolyn Meinel <>

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