dudes! welcome to the world of computers. j00 are about to embark on the most elite adventure! you will be my host, because i am tapeworm.
so, my fellow hacker beotches… the big question, "what is a hacker?" just because the majority of hackers have secret plans for world domination doesn't necessarily mean that they're bad people. the definition of the term is a sensitive topic, even amongst hackers themselves. in fact, a lot of hackers don't really even consider themselves to be hackers. almost everyone has at least some idea of what they think a hacker is: for example, someone who…
these interpretations of the term are in all cases incorrect. not only are these ideas false, but they are insulting and even racist in nature. the media along with people in general have had a long history of being afraid and drawing ignorant conclusions based on what they do not fully understand. in this case it is not about the color of our skin, as we are faceless in technology, but rather it is about the evolution of our very cultures. the birth of the internet helped to spawn a new culture, and it was named "geek."
it may sound like i am being overly sarcastic, but i'm not. just as within any other culture, geeks speak their own language, separate themselves with stereotypes much like the terms redneck or jock, have rules to abide by within each group, and even have traditions. it can literally be considered another culture. to understand the hacker, we must understand geeks as a whole.
moving on to the basics, a hacker is nothing more than a curious person. in other words, to hack is to explore and learn, and in itself is by no means illegal depending on what exactly you're hacking. it is not fair to assume that every hacker is malicious. there are basically two types of hackers, the white hat and the black hat, more appropriately referred to as a cracker. just like in the really old movies, white hats are good and black hats (crackers) are bad. a baby hacker is typically referred to as a script-kiddy. script-kiddies are smart enough to take advantage of and sometimes even manipulate tools written by professional hackers, but they don't quite know enough to go at it on their own. i call them baby hackers because they are in many ways just like real babies, annoying little brats who have a lot to learn, but they can also be cute and fun to mock.
there are many different methods of hacking, and each has its own term. for example, some forms use a method called reverse-engineering; phreaking refers to hacking phones; war-driving refers to hacking wireless networks, etc. we'll get into more depth on each of these later. the thing to keep in mind for now is that each method has its own special technique and its own different levels of skill, which is why some people also refer to hacking as kung-foo or some type of wizardry/magic.
although hacking is an essential part of the geek culture, it is not a required skill. many geeks are just as confused about what a hacker actually is as the rest of the world, so as i'm sure you can imagine, hackers have had to deal with a lot of stereotypes. it is no wonder that the majority prefer to remain anonymous. i can't even tell you how many people have contacted me personally asking for some sort of immature favor. it is people who intend to be destructive or violate someone's privacy that give hackers a bad reputation, so if it seems like certain people intentionally try to make computers more difficult to understand, you're absolutely right. yes, hackers find it amusing to confuse you, mocking their own false perceptions. the operating system windows was originally designed to appeal to average, non-techy people (that's a polite way of saying stupid people, maybe why windows is a prime target for viruses) and it is the non-techy people who allow havoc. i'm not implying that windows is a bad operating system *cough* yes i am *cough* heh no seriously folks i love using windows; in fact i'll show you just how fun it can be. hopefully by reading this book, we'll learn why the dummy approach isn't always the best case scenario.
windows has a very user-friendly api (application programmatic interface). think of a hacker as a magician, someone who knows how to fool you with illusion by manipulating the appearance of this interface. once you know how an illusion works, you can rarely be fooled by it again, but magicians are always creating new illusions. magicians deceive just as hackers deceive: they are both con-artists but that is not enough to make someone a criminal. there is nothing wrong with learning this magic to protect and monitor your own personal machine, or to play harmless pranks on fellow geeks or friends, but just keep in mind that there is always and always will be a more powerful magician than you. it is never a good characteristic to come off like you're above anyone else. geeks are always open-minded and accepting of new members in the community, so long as your intentions are sincere. if you want to wreak havoc then go download the anarchist's cookbook by william powell and have fun blowing your legs off, but at least get it on video tape so others can learn from (or laugh at) your mistakes.
another sensitive topic amongst geeks is that of breaking into a third-party computer to explore security flaws. a white hat would not hurt anything, just look around and then inform the administrator of the holes. even though the hacker's intentions may be to help, some administrators still get offended as if they were poking their nose around where they shouldn't have been and think maybe some legal action is in order. the other side of this opinion is that maybe these administrators should consider retirement immediately; if you don't want to take the time to learn how to use a computer properly or follow common standards, then you might want to stop using computers altogether. these hackers aren't trying to hurt your business or reputation; they're simply trying to improve upon technology, kind of like free bug-testers. hackers like to solve problems, even if solutions already exist. many security professionals find flaws for a living. in the long run, it would be better that a white hat inform you of your security holes than someone malicious finding them; white hat hackers help to prevent problems before they start. of course there is a fine line between finding flaws to help improve something, and finding flaws just to be annoying.
you should always be careful when hacking even with permission. some servers are set up encouraging you to hack them, only as a form of entrapment. you can never be too careful.
what it all boils down to is the concept of open-source development. i am 100% for open-source technology (that is when they let you see how something works), which windows is not; however, i chose windows for this book as it is the most widely used operating system on the market at the time of writing. a question commonly asked is that if a company doesn't want you to know how their system works then what are they hiding or even gaining from it (aside from obvious profit)? it becomes a monopoly. there would be a great comfort in knowing exactly how something you're paying for works, what it is doing with your information, or how secure it really is. fortunately, there is one apparent solution…. that solution is as they say, "hack the planet!"
in the famous words of timothy leary, "think for yourself, question authority."
please note: for legal reasons i am not encouraging that anyone crack windows (or anything else); i am simply stating that in my opinion all technology should be open-source. after all, being able to see exactly how something works without being able to manipulate it is the most secure solution; that is the goal of open-source technology. the information contained in this book is simply that: information; use it at your own discretion. it is not my fault if you kill/damage a computer, get beat up, or anything else. please be responsible and mature.