What's New!

Chat with

How to Defend
Your Computer 

The Guides
to (mostly) 
Harmless Hacking

Happy Hacker 
Digests (old stuff) 

Hacker Links 


Meet the 
Happy Hacksters 

Help for 



It Sucks 
to Be Me!

How to Commit
Computer Crime (not)! 

What Is a 
Hacker, Anyhow? 

Have a 
Great Life! 

News from the 
Hacker War Front

Preview of Meinel's latest book, Überhacker! continued...

What You Need to Know Already

If you have never telnetted or used a Unix-type operating system, you really should first read my book The Happy Hacker or study the tutorials at my web site, http://happyhacker.org. If you run into problems, you also can get answers to your questions by joining our discussion email lists or using the Happy Hacker chat channels at http://happyhacker.org. Many people who were total beginners with computers have written me saying that they were doing amazing things within days of picking up The Happy Hacker book.

Conventions Used in this Book

· A constant width bold font denotes commands you type into a computer, for example:

arp -a

If it is a command you must give at the MS-DOS prompt of a Windows computer, the command will be shown as:

C:\>arp -a

We assume the C drive is the root of the MS-DOS file system, which it will be for most readers. If you are using another drive, substitute that drive letter for C. OK, OK, I know the überelite would say %systemroot%, but I hate to do all the extra typing.

If it is a Unix-type computer, for example Linux or OpenBSD, the command will be shown as:

~> arp -a

where ~> represents the command prompt.

· Constant width italic denotes variables (often inside brackets) that the reader will choose. For example,

C:\>arp -a <hostname>

On your network you might have a computer that you gave the IP address of and the hostname in human-speak of guesswho. Since hostname could be either one, you could type either:

C:\>arp -a

C:\>arp -a guesswho

The response you should get is shown in constant width font:

C:\>arp -a

Interface: on Interface 2
Internet address Physical Address Type 00-20-78-16-fa-56 dynamic

In case you were wondering, the above example reveals how to get the physical address of an Ethernet network interface card on host

· Italic is used within normal text to denote file names, file and directory paths, user account names and group names when placed inside normal text. For example, if you have broken into an Apache webserver and wonder where the heck did they hide the web page files, you can find that information in the file httpd.conf.

· We also use constant width within ordinary text to denote the contents of files. For example, on an Apache webserver, within the file httpd.conf, the portion of the text that determines the root of the webserver (the location of the opening web page) is DocumentRoot <directory>. For example, at one time the Happyhacker.org web site was configured as DocumentRoot /var/www/htdocs.

· Combinations of keystrokes that must all be held down in "seriam" meaning hold down one, keep it down while pressing and holding down the next, and so on, are linked by dashes, for example:


Which in most cases will gracefully shut down a Linux computer, or


This second command may look odd, but it refers to the keyboard of a Sun computer. In order to break into a Sun from the console, at boot time you hold down the "stop" key and the letter "a" to get a prompt that lets you boot from a disk of your choice, heh, heh.

· A-> B-> C-> denotes a series of items that must be selected in that order to get to a certain menu (usually used in explaining Windows hacks). For example,

Start-> Programs-> Administrative Tools (Common) -> User Manager

This means click Start, then menu item Programs, then click Administrative Tools (Common) on the next menu that comes up, and on the third menu that comes up, click User Manager. (There, renaming it can make it harder for people to break in, by highlighting Administrator, then User-> Rename.)

· Bold constant width is used within normal text to denote a literal command you would give. For example, suppose you have a hard time finding the home page of one out of many users on a webserver that hosts large numbers of domains. You can pick out a word that is likely to only occur on your target's web site, get into a portion of the directory structure that you are certain holds all the web sites, and give the command find . name print|xargs grep httpd.conf >/tmp/myfindfile.

More --->>

Carolyn's most
popular book,
in 4th edition now!
For advanced
hacker studies,
read Carolyn's
Google Groups
Subscribe to Happy Hacker
Visit this group

© 2013 Happy Hacker All rights reserved.