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readme.txt - The Final Readme


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Since my previous rant-a-thons have gone somewhat unnoticed on occasion I figured I'd give it one last shot, so he's a rundown of what to do/say/ask for and what not to do/say/ask for. This thread will be updated periodically (that is whenever the next person does something stupid enough to make a rule against it).

The community here is polite and helpful if you treat it right and just like a fine classic automobile if you treat it right it'll serve you until you trash it. Remember to give it the right fuel (say the right stuff) and don't "grind its gears", you'll get along just fine.

How to get answers and not get shredded: (Summary of http://hak5.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=7745)

Ask politely and don't demand things:

People will help you if they can, just be patient. If no-one has an answer after a few days then perhaps bump the topic. If you still don't get an answer then either no-one knows it or you posted like an asshole. Think about what you're typing, read it back a few times before you press Post. This will allow you to check the tone you're posting in and your spelling and grammar, it'll also mean you get to see if what you wrote actually made sense. I'm not a grammar nazi but if you start talking in txt spk or 1337 then we'll probably just ignore you.

Be clear in what you're asking and give plenty of details. We're not mind readers and we didn't know that you were using a PowerPC processor in the computer you were trying to fix and we didn't know you were trying to install OS/2 on it.

Don't ignore replies:

If someone replies asking for more specific information or with a possible solution, provide the information or thank them for the solution and if possible tell them it worked. It can be kinda irritating when people take the money and run, so to speak. If something's worked for you then post it (or point out the solution in the thread that worked) so others who have your problem know how to fix it.

Don't start pointless flame wars:

OS wars, text editor wars, game console wars, we've seen them all before, they're really tedious and no-one ever wins. If you don't like something then that's entirely your choice but don't insult someone because they prefer the competition's product.

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What not to do/say: (Summary of http://forums.hak5.org/index.php/topic,7499.0.html)

Don't bust in like you own the joint:

This is a community forum and as such users are expected to work together. No-one automatically deserves more attention or respect more than anyone else be they newcomers or old-timers. Treat others with respect and remember that not everyone has your sense of humour. If you do unintentionally offend someone then you might at least apologise and if you repeatedly do it on purpose you may find yourself with a warning or a ban.

Don't demand or expect immediate answers:

No-one has to give you answers to your question or reply to your thread any more than you do to theirs. Demanding an answer yesterday is a sure-fire way to ensure you'll never get the answer, especially if it can be googled in a matter of seconds.

Don't ask us to break something for you:

Don't ask us to attack "you" to see if you're secure, we haven't got a clue if you own the machine(s) you're asking us to test. Could be anyone, and we're not going to screw over your ex-girlfriend's computer because she went off with your best mate. Real life problems stay in real life, don't bring them here. Don't ask us to help you recover "your" passwords either, there's plenty of tools and methods out there if you get stuck.

Don't expect people to help you if you won't help yourself:

We're not the free ticket to all knowledge. If you don't put work in to figuring out what to do with something then we won't either, it's a simple equation. If you expect us to give you a step by step instruction manual for something because you didn't read the readme file or because you didn't bother googling it then you'll just get yelled at for not bothering. Likewise if you're given answers and without trying them or researching them you demand them to be written in idiot for you, people will get pissed off with you.

Doing your own research helps too. If you come to us with no clue whatsoever and appear to want all the answers right there and then without lifting a finger, we'll call you lazy and suggest you go and look up whatever you're trying to do. I'll admit that some things can be a little difficult to dig up, but that could well be for a reason - we don't want kids running around with a set of point and click tools to wreck any piece of electrical equipment they come across. It's not funny, it's not clever, it's downright irritating. On the other hand, if you come to us and say "hey, I found a little information on something I want to try but it's proving difficult to find a practical way to execute it" with a brief list what you have so far, that's a sign that you're not just asking us to be lazy, that's an indication to us that you're not going to just take our answers without knowing or caring what they mean or what the effects could be, then go ahead and use them. Besides being a waste of our time, it's potentially dangerous for you and the computers you use this information on.
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What not to ask: (Summary of http://hak5.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=7499)

How to hack your school:

Hacking/abusing/trying to take down the network

Fiddling grades

Stealing answer papers

Stealing others' work

Remotely accessing other machines

It's not clever, it's not funny and it won't earn you any respect or the title of "hacker". It'll get you in to trouble, that's all. This has been asked and argued a million times and it's getting old.

How to hack someone's passwords/accounts for:



MySpace/Facebook/Bebo/social networking

Someone's computer or network

Online games

No, we won't help you see the emails you think your ex-girlfriend's brother's dog's friend's owner's next door neighbour is getting. It's their email, not yours. Not only is this a moronic waste of time, you're never going to hack Hotmail or gmail or Yahoo! Mail or [insert mail service] because all the password checking is done at the back end. Yes, it's possible to obtain the information without hacking the servers but we're not going to tell you how.

How to cheat at online/multiplayer games:

This is probably one of the most pathetic things you could ask for. It's lame, it's unfair and it's really not worth the effort. Don't bother, you'll just get flame grilled.

Where to find/how to use trojans/RATs/install a stealth VNC server:

Fairly obvious from the title, we aren't going to tell you how to control someone's computer without their permission. If you need to be able to access their computer then you can have them co-operate with you in doing that (and I don't mean by social engineering them).

Where to find warez, cracks or malicious hacking tools:

If you really really need something you'll find it. All it takes is 5 minutes and a brain cell. A monkey could use Google, come on, it's not hard. If you're looking for a press'n'pwn hacking tool you won't find it here, go read some books.

How to hack:

There's no single answer to this and if you're asking how to hack then you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons. You don't need to know how to hack because if you're hacking you don't need the label, you just do it. It's not something you do for the label, not for the kudos, not for the name on the mad props list, not for the bragging rights, it's something you just do. Don't call yourself a hacker, you're probably not one.

If you do want to learn though, read. Read, read and read some more. Learn how to research without the aid of other people and how to cross-reference sources and data. Make clear in your mind what your goal is and steamroller towards it, you'll get there eventually.

Hacking isn't about a quick way to own people, it's about experimentation, exploration, learning and experience. Sure, it might be hilarious to eject someone's CD tray 50 times per minute, it might be side-splittingly funny to send messages across the network, it might even make your piss yourself when everyone's network shares quit responding... but who did this benefit? What did you get out of it besides 5 minutes of shits and giggles? What did the victim get out of it? A broken machine? If someone trashed or hijacked your pride and joy, your main or only computer, how would you feel? Think about things before you do them, think of what the outcomes will be, consider whether there's a point to what you're doing.

If you want to learn to be a hacker, you have to learn an awful lot and you have to learn it yourself. Having a text file full of 1337 h4x and a thumbdrive packed with malicious tools does not make you a hacker any more than driving a car with a spoiler makes you a rally driver. It doesn't even make you cool. I'd never give the name hacker to someone who just thinks it's cool to screw with people/networks for amusement or gain (though I'm not sure I have the right to call anyone a hacker, anyone worthy of the title wouldn't brand you one either).

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