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

Who Am I?

Winn Schwartau, author of Information Warfare, once wrote to me "Why are you so hated? Why are they coming down on me? I used to think hackers were a friendly curiosity...but now, they're a pain in the ass. Old crew. New crew. Assholes by the gross." More recently he wrote to me "The topic I think you would be ideally suited to address is 'Why I am the Most Hated Person in the Hacking Community.'"

Maybe that's an exaggeration. However, I'm proud to report that computer criminals have defaced more web sites than I can count with protests against me. For example,

Facing the worst hacker attack in its history, the New York Times found itself caught in the cross fire between computer hackers and people who write about them...The attack, which left the New York Times site strewn with pornographic images and a rant replete with profanity and racial epithets... targeted Carolyn Meinel, the author of a book and other works on computer hacking...."Every ISP I have used over the past two years has been assaulted by these guys," Meinel said. She noted that the hackers thus far had failed to break into her home computer or deface her Web site, but that her server logs showed evidence of numerous attempted attacks.

-- "N.Y. Times hack tip of iceberg ," by Paul Festa, CNET News.com, September 14, 1998 http://news.com.com/2100-1023-215504.html?legacy=cnet

I don't dare use ordinary Internet Service Providers or Online Services because the bad guys launch massive waves of computer attacks against any company that allows me access. Instead, Vincent Larsen's company (http://www.sage-inc.com) keeps my servers secure and online, with outstanding success.

Since March 1998 I've also been the organizer of the world's longest running hacker challenge. The Happy Hacker web site, http://happyhacker.org, has been inviting people to break in since March 1998. We've offered web, email (POP3 and SMTP), file transfer protocol (FTP) and administrative servers. Yet no one has been able to exploit them. We even allow anonymous logins to the ftp server. I've given out a user name and password for the POP3 server. Yet as of this writing (June 2003) no one has figured out how to exploit any of them.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot the resume stuff.

I have a master's degree in Industrial Engineering. That is the discipline of how to create and manage complex human/machine systems. It's heavy on programming and the mathematical underpinnings of how computers work. In the 70s I designed and built special purpose analog and digital computers. In the 80s I was a scientific programmer for DARPA. In the 90s to the present I've been writing and consulting on computer security for customers such as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

My computer security experience includes:
· Contractor with the 1998-2000 DARPA Intrusion Detection Evaluation Program.
· Participant in the Aug. 2002 DARPA CyberAdversary Workshop.
· Participant in the KDE kiosk-framework documentation project.
· Beta tester of BRICKServer Linux (http://www.sage-inc.com) and author of its user manual.
· Sample publications:
· Author, "How Hackers Break in and How they Are Caught," Oct. 1998 Scientific American.
· Author, "Code Red for the Web," Oct. 2001 Scientific American. The Code Red article is reprinted in Best American Science Writing 2002 (ECCO, an imprint of HarperCollins) and Computers In Society, Tenth Edition, Kathryn Schellenberg, ed. (McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, August 2002)
· Author of one chapter and a subject of several others in The Hacking of America: Who's Doing it, Why and How, Bernadette Schell et. al. (Quorum, Nov. 2002)
· Author, The Happy Hacker: a Guide to Mostly Harmless Computer Hacking, now in 4th edition and a Japanese edition (American Eagle, 1998, 1999, 2001)
· Meinel's Guides to Mostly Harmless Hacking, which are mirrored on many web sites, make fun of computer criminals while teaching the basics of old-fashioned, legal hacking.
· Subject of news stories about the hatred that many computer criminals have for her.
· Owner of the hh-unix email list at Yahoo Groups, with some 1500 members.
· Owner of the happyhacker email list at Yahoo Groups, with some 19,000 members.
· Highly rated computer security expert at Allexperts.com.

Maybe you are wondering whether I am an überhacker. I'm working toward that goal. Some of my friends who helped write this book have absolutely, without question, proven they are überhackers. Vincent Larsen conceived the Linux-based BRICKServer that runs Happyhacker.org, and he leads the programming team that continues to expand its capabilities. See http://www.sage-inc.com to learn more about his company and servers.

If you follow in their footsteps, you, too, can become an überhacker.

# # #

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