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Windows Edition, March 2000
See the Happy Hacker web site at http://www.happyhacker.org
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Opening Comments

Opening Comments

Ok so I managed to pull myself away from this latest online 
craze "EverQuest" to bring you another HHWD. I would like 
to thank everybody for their creative input and e-mail 
submissions, it was certainly encouraging for me to open 
up the mail box and have messages overflowing onto my 
desktop (Yep I felt special!). There has been a lot of 
publicity lately to the recent rash of Distributed Denial 
of Service Attacks. I considered addressing much of this 
from a hacker's perspective (read: Hacker not Cracker) but 
as I should have it both Caroly Meinel and John Vranesevich 
released articles earlier in February. With such great 
articles I thought I would just link to them rather than 
sound like a broken record, after all it is much better to 
work smarter than it is to work harder.

On another note, you might notice that Carolyn has updated 
some of the content on the Happy Hacker Web Site. She has 
even been kind enough to tease us with a chapter on social 
engineering in her upcoming book "Uberhacker". I will admit 
I came under some heavy fire from people who took offense 
to my description of organized hacker groups such as 
(GfH, LoU, etc). I will re-iterate that not all organized 
hacker organizations are unskilled individuals with a lust 
for nothing but destruction. I belong to a JAVA users group 
here in Las Vegas (Oh no here come the flames!) and I would 
certainly categorize this as a group of computer hackers 
that have a fondness for JAVA in common. I'm simply 
reinforcing the fact that you don't need to join some 
"31337 H@x0r Group" to be a hacker. Using the simple 
information and tools provided to you through the web one 
can mold themselves into the essence of a true hacker by 
sharpening their skills and building rather than destroying. 
It's important to note that I still hold firm to my 
perception of certain hacking groups despite the flaming 
e-mails I receive.


Hacker Insurance??? Ludicrous you say? Perhaps not.
SEC to hire 60 "cybercops"
What is all this DoS stuff I'm hearing about??? This is a great article 
by Carolyn Meinel detailing some very useful information regarding Denial of Service. 
Microsoft to make Windows 2000 a "stable OS", that's what they say.. 
Users encouraged to self certify applications under Windows 2000.

A Lesson Hard Learned

What many of us would consider common sense is not 
always common sense to everybody. 

I received an E-mail from a friend who I introduced 
to Linux which had a subject line of "Help I've Been 
HACKED!." As I read on I learn that he had just 
finished a complete semi-secure installation of his 
favorite version of Linux. This doesn't seem like 
much of a task but to properly configure a Linux 
workstation that is going to be connected to the 
Internet, install all relevant vendor patches, manually 
scour the box for known security holes, and finally 
reach a comfort level takes a considerable amount of 
time regardless how great a Uberhacker you may be. 

It is not uncommon for me to spend 40 + hours applying 
all of my knowledge to perfect, to the best of my 
ability a workstation or server being placed on a 
dedicated leased line. Couple his experimentation with 
certain third party software packages, busy work 
schedule, and the pride he takes in his work, this 
fresh and ready to go box was an accomplishment for 
him. He was so excited to finally be able to hook this 
box up to the Internet and take it for a test drive with 
a reasonable level of security to ease his conscious. 

He placed the Linux machine onto the Internet enjoyed 
a few rewarding moments and headed off for bed. He 
awakes Saturday morning to find his install completely 
wrecked. It probably took only a few keystrokes for 
somebody to undo everything he had spent countless hours 

His box was in utter shambles and the OS in such 
a wrecked state it was useless. My initial thought was 
well if the machine won't even boot lets forget trying 
to repair it and focus our attention on catching the 
person responsible. He had already sent a couple of 
e-mails to his ISP with no response and decided to 
solicit my involvement. I e-mailed his ISP soliciting 
their cooperation in tracking down the intruder. After 
all I would think any ISP would be willing to help if 
they knew a ruthless cracker was riding their backbone. 
Below is the original E-mail with the name of the ISP 
removed to protect their identity that was received by 
me in response to my request for cooperation.

Dear Greggory,

ABC is always willing to cooperate with law enforcement 
when it concerns network abuse. Before we could release 
any information, there would need to be a court order 
issued. The FBI would know the proper steps to take to 
obtain the proper information.
I could determine who penetrated Mr. Smiths computer if 
the attack originated from the ABC network. If you sent 
me the system logs showing where and when the attack 
occurred I could track it back to the person responsible. 
I would then take the proper action against the person 
responsible according to ABC's policies.

ABC's Acceptable Use Policy (APU) prohibits abusive or 
illegal conduct on our network - or the networks of our 
customers. We investigate all complaints, and if it is 
determined that conduct contrary to our AUP has taken 
place, appropriate action will be taken per our AUP and 
Terms of Service.

Please include full headers when reporting Abuse or 
USENET articles; we will require this information. This 
information should include the Internet Protocol address 
and the date and time the message was sent. This 
information is very important in determining the account 
from which the message originated.
Please address reports about ABC.NET users to abuse@abc.net.
Please include timestamps and your time zone if you are 
forwarding copies of system logs.

We take network abuse seriously, and will respond quickly 
to address security and abuse incidents on our network. 
You are invited to view our AUP at the address below.
ABC, a ACME Company
Abuse Department

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