How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by Jake-X on Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:16 am
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lol, sounds like fun. Unfortunately, I'm leaving on vacation in like two minutes and I don't have the time to do it while I'm gone, and then Christmas break will be over when I get back and I'll need by computer working as normal. But I'll try to do it the next time there's a break from school.
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by neuromanta on Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:04 am
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thetan wrote:
neuromanta wrote:Well, my first "serious" learning experience with computers was that when my father bougth a Commodore 64 when I was around 7-8 yr old. Being behind the iron curtain, he had to go to Vienna to be able to buy a computer, so he is a true hero in my eyes, he made it possible for me that I'm a software engineer now.

uhhhh!!! thats fucking bad ass. Much respect to your dad. I also just generally respect people who started out on C64 and older systems, just because they were on their shit before i was and the game was harder to get into back then.


Sadly I didn't become much of an expert on C64, but I'm still interested in it, even though it's considered obsolete. But no one should feel that because he didn't begin early on a retro computer, it means he is "lesser" in a way. Years after this others will consider those, who began learning on the old Core7i PCs with windows 7, the ancient demigods of computer science :).
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by mojo1948 on Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:32 am
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For me it started when my sister gave me her old Commodore Vic 20 and a bunch of magazines when she got her new C64. It makes me laugh when I think about it, I remember it took me days just to figure out how to load and run a program. Once I got the basics down I started looking though the magazines and they were mostly about assembly language, so thats what I started working on. Eventually I got a C128 and I spent some time getting some old C64 programs to run on the C128, it was a lot of fun. About the time I was getting pretty good at assembly, everything including myself went IBM compatible. I pretty much gave up on assembly and started playing with a copy of Turbo Pascal that I acquired and I wrote a couple of game modules (pretty simple stuff) for a local BBS that I used hang out on and then everything went Internet and The BBSs died out. That was all a long time ago. I eventually got an engineering position where I worked on a PC all day and eventually got away from any programming, it was never anything more than a fun hobby for me. About a year ago I started messing with *nix, found this place and tried some of the challenges. Everything has changed a lot but the thought process is still the same.

@Thetan
Those old computers where pretty simple, You could pretty much "wrap your head" around the whole system. There was no networking to worry about and anything security related wasn't even a thought. Things are much more complex now
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by thetan on Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:34 am
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mojo1948 wrote:@Thetan
Those old computers where pretty simple, You could pretty much "wrap your head" around the whole system.

It appears my point has been misinterpreted. Probably mostly my fault though. I never was trying to say that the older systems were crazy complex or anything. Nor was i poking at the notion of users of older systems being some form of uber geniuses.

I was expressing my sense of respect to the legacy, much like a modern architect would respect roman architects.

Today was our last day before xmas vacation at work, my boss and the rest of my team left the office around 1PM but i hung out for another 2 1/2 hours just shooting the shit with this guy in another team that built our order entry system back in the 70's (a project my teams going to own and redo once we finish some other shit). Fuck man, i could've listened to his life story all day had he remembered enough of it. Everything from his forced discovery of fortran (all chemical engineers had to take it) that forever changed his life starting with him dropping out of college once he ran out of programming courses to take to his career working with informix and then sybase to my job where he's been at ever sense.

mojo1948 wrote:There was no networking to worry about and anything security related wasn't even a thought. Things are much more complex now

The problem is that because security was never a thought (and arguably still isn't to most run of the mill lame-stream software engineers) this is the reason why security is as fucked as it is.
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by Goatboy on Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:03 am
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thetan wrote:I was expressing my sense of respect to the legacy, much like a modern architect would respect roman architects.

Truth.

There's this guy at our local hackerspace/DefCon group who is like the guy Thetan's talking about. It's fascinating to sit and listen to some of these old-timers. He too picked up FORTRAN, and was talking about how he used it to make some money on the side by analyzing horse races when 99.9% of everyone involved in that scene was doing it by hand. He did some research on automation and AI, contributed to some of the early Linux code (some of which he said is still in the kernel, the very code he wrote), and on top of that he built a fucking boat out of milk cartons, salvaged garden trim, and scrap wood.

Another interesting guy you might have heard of is Michael J. Staggs. I met him at an HTCIA (High Tech Computer Investigative Association) conference where he gave an excellent presentation on memory analysis. Picture this: Big corporate/LE event at Target headquarters. Everyone is in a suit & tie, and it's a big vendor-fest. Then walks in MJ. He looks like a biker; long, scraggly grey hair with a bald patch in the middle, and is wearing jeans and a graphic T-shirt (pics very related. He gives this presentation like he's done it a thousand times (which he very well may have) without notes or anything. On the way out, a bunch of vendors are harassing him (which annoyed me) and finally my instructor (the president of the association) got him to step aside and talk to me for an hour. He's worked for every three-letter government agency, FBI, CIA, NSA, you name it. He got started in the Navy working on writing the original ARPA-NET protocols and code with the MIT guys. I could go on, but I'd be here all day.

The whole point to all this is that it's good to have people to look up to, and I like writing long posts every once in a while. The end.
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by pu1l on Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:02 pm
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How I started hacking... wow... Weird chain of events, but I was playing gunbound when it first came out, and as a skiddie I was looking for trainers etc...

I stumbled upon a website where they had images of a guy riding on the dragon mech (which was something you could only get if you chose random and would only get it 1/20 times) during mech selection. It was just the pictures with the email, I emailed him/her (i'm still confused which one it was). I had done simply memory editing and whatnot for single player games so I had a basic knowledge of hex and asm, but really basic. A few days after I emailed him/her (it was Jess and/or her boyfriend if any of you remember our crew) they opened up a forum, me and bykai were there to answer generic memory editing/hacking questions and were quickly chosen as mods. They did Tuts there for some of our lesser hacks, like the visual dragon mech (it was only the image, you didn't get the firepower of the real thing), and the mods and the more skilled hackers had our locked threads with our new hacks like the gold hacks etc... We taught packet editing and memory editing. Hacking for me was always trial and error, especially when you're talking games..

One example When you died in gunbound a slot machine came at the bottom that would allow you to drop dynamite or win a couple bucks, I was trying to hack that to always win gold, but I accidently found you could pop it up while you were still alive, and before they started encrypting packets we knew the packet headers etc.. you couldn't move your character via packets because the server wouldn't verify it, but there was a "dynamite drop" that you could get on the slots, so I changed the packet header from a slot machine reward to a location packet, and this allowed for a random teleport, so if you were about to be hit, you clicked drop dynamite, and it'd teleport you whereever the dynamite was predetermined to drop

Another one was the cash shop items before they released the cash shop I was trying to find a gold hack, and the gold hack was found very similar to this, what I did was used CE to find the page numbers (I had already found that changing the item number wasn't working) just simple page up search value increased, page down, value decreased, page up value inc, page up, value inc.. etc.. Well lucly for us they had the cash shop items in the catalog on inaccessable pages, so I just set the value to page 6, there were only 4 pages, and clicked down page, which set the real value to 5 and requested value 5 from the server, if you just set it to 5 and hit page up it would reset to a valid page. Well there were the cash shop items, like they had a monacole sp? a laser eye etc... the issue now was buying them, they had no value so it wouldn't let you click Buy Item, to goto the confirm buy page.. Since I had already messed around with changing the item numbers or rather their checksums, it was a 32 byte item code, I knew where the memory address was, so you'd click buy, and it'd take you to "Are you sure you want to buy ITEM NAME" well I was trying to change the checksum at the confirm buy page to a more expensive item and potentially have a gold hack, but it kept the same price for the original item (so my gold hack failed) but now I try and buy a cheap item like a knife or something, get to the confirm buy page (Are you sure you wanna buy knife?) and replace the item checksum to the laser eye one (since the buy button was locked for these items) and purchase it for free (they had no cost set for these items) and we were the first to sport the cash shop items...
Hacking is alot of trial and error, and alot of creative thinking, we eventually found a gold hack that worked along the same lines as my buying unbuyable items hack, and after sporting my insta-teleport hack for a while they started encrypting packets and eventually added that gay anti-hack program, nguard or whatever.
But as far as hacking goes, we learned by teaching ourselves, we stared at hex for hours on end, we did millions of unknown value searches, we stared at hundreds of packets, but we kept at it, and we owned gunbound. We had the first and only Gold hack, the first and only teleport hack.. etc...

Jess decided to open up an IRC for us, that was hosted on the HTS irc, I started doing challenges there, talking to the guys in the IRC, and when I started getting skilled in new methods, Xec, Archy, and a few others took on some blackhat projects and we all allegedly contributed. I got out of here when Xec got arrested, and I don't really hack anymore unless I get depressed/bored.
I learned how to hack, by learning that hacking wasn't that hard, you just gotta try to figure out where some human coded something that either is editable, accessible, decryptable or just plane insecure code. It helps to know the languages so you know what common coding errors are and how to exploit them. But this is all talking about memory editing/packet editing, so it only relates to a small portion of hackers, but it's a great start. I learned the rest of the techniques from HTS and mainly HTS IRC. I don't know how the IRC now-a-days, but back then there was always someone helpful on, as long as you were willing to learn and didn't just want it handed to you. HTS was always a front and a training ground for underground blackhat projects, and SWIM was involved in alot of those, and that was the best part. Hacking is like playing the piano, it requires finesse, practice, some basic notes, and a few good teachers, most of all you need to stick with it, the times I got the most frustrated and gave up, were usually the times when I picked back up I was seconds away from a great discovery. I'm nowhere near the greatest hacker out there, but I've got enough skill to get me by. I left HTS because when Xec left, there was little order, a few arrogant bastards took control and allowed some idiots to run the show (one of which tried to delete the IRC while it was running, and still remained a dev with access for months after)

I assume this is along the lines of the answer you wanted, but basically I learned how to hack by hacking... seems cyclical, but it helps to find a type of hacking you like (BOF, SQL inj., Malicious coding.. etc..) and find a mentor.. Eventually you'll do something you regret and unless you were smart they'll be kicking down your door and you'll be doing your 2 years in fed prison, so stick to it!
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by fashizzlepop on Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:56 pm
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Find a mentor...? Great, that's what we needed. More noobs asking for their own hacking mentor. Less of mentor, more of a friend to go with you.
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by insomaniacal on Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:06 pm
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fashizzlepop wrote:Find a mentor...? Great, that's what we needed. More noobs asking for their own hacking mentor. Less of mentor, more of a friend to go with you.


That's actually what I always sorta feel I'm missing. There's plenty of guys online to talk tech with, but next to no one in real life that I know who has any interest in computers past Facebook, Gaming, and 4chan.
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by thetan on Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:38 pm
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insomaniacal wrote:That's actually what I always sorta feel I'm missing. There's plenty of guys online to talk tech with, but next to no one in real life that I know who has any interest in computers past Facebook, Gaming, and 4chan.

Location location location. I was in the local coffee shop this afternoon waiting for my oil change to finish down the street and i wasn't the only programmer there banging out code on my laptop for a couple of hours. As a matter of fact the only group of non programmers there were an elderly group of ladies and they worked for the school board apparently.

I just so happen to be lucky enough to have been born, raised and still live in silicon valley / bay area. Not everyone is as lucky.

The Luck Constant

LUCK_CONSTANT = TIME + LOCATION + TYPEOF(PERSON)

Tom Preston Werner Founder of Gravatar and Founder/CEO of Github gave an amazing speech at Startup School this year about what you can do and what he has done to modify his LUCK_CONSTANT.

http://www.justin.tv/startupschool/b/272178966

^^ By far the best speech/presentation i've seen this entire year by FAR!
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Re: How did you become/how are you becoming a hacker?

Post by fashizzlepop on Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:10 pm
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I have only a couple of friends who are more into learning than video games. I'm actually hosting a mini-hackathon after Christmas where we are going to stay up all night and try to crank out the code to our cloud media converter. We'll see how it goes. :) Portland, OR has a good nerd population but most aren't high school kids of course so it's not quite like working with peers.

@Thetan, I'm actually down in San Jose right now for the holidays. Have you seen the political ads for reducing LEGAL immigration? What's your opinion on that?
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