Book Review: The Dangers of Computer Hacking

Years and years ago, someone gave me this book as a gift. [John Knittel], a co-author thought I might find it amusing. The book, titled The Dangers of Computer Hacking, is a grade school level breakdown of, well, computer hacking and the dangers thereof. At the time, I thought it was rather fun and amusing. Since then, it has sat on my shelf without much action.

Last weekend, however, my 8 year old son was building perfectly spaced shapes for his slinky (new plastic slinkies suck) and found this book. I snatched it up and read through it real quick. The realization came to me that though this is somewhat tongue-in-cheek(check the topics on the back cover), this book is actually a fantastic reference for the un-initiated.

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Tales from the Hackaday “tip line”

surprisingly accurate portrayal of Caleb

Lets just start right off and acknowledge that the word “Hack” is in our site name. We all see it. It is right there, in plain English. However, anyone who spends more than a few nanoseconds looking down below that big name, will quickly see that the kind of hacking we do is more like McGyver and less like Operation Swordfish.

This exceedingly obvious point is missed by many, many people. We get tons of requests coming in for various acts of hackery. They range from nonsense gibberish to flagrant lies. Yeah, sure you forgot your password and the recovery system isn’t working. Oh they stole your website but you can’t prove that you’re the owner? Hrm, you want to be a master hacker and are seeking our guidance on how to steal money?

Join me after the break for a few actual examples.

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The LayerOne Hacking conference is around the corner

We just wanted to give a heads up to everyone to remind them that the annual layerOne hacking and security conference is coming up soon. They have announced their speaker line-up which includes talks on home monitoring, lockpicking, mobile malware and tons more. The event is located in Anaheim California on May 28-29.

They sent us sort of a press release with some information on the event and some details on the badge. You can read their email after the break.

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Defcon 19 Call for Workshops

defcon

The crew at Defcon is hard at work getting things ready for this year’s event, taking place over the first weekend in August. While the typical call for papers has been out for almost two months now, the extra space afforded by the RIO hotel has given the organizers a chance to shake things up a bit and try something new.

Along side the call for papers, they have issued a call for workshops. Since they have about 8 spare rooms on hand, they have decided to allow people who consider themselves a leader, ‘leet hacker, or ninja in their particular field to share their knowledge in a small (30 person) workshop setting.

The organizers are not strict on content, though it should be compelling. They cite examples such as teaching people to build an impenetrable Linux installation, PS3 hacking, or even helping people prep for a Ham radio license exam.

If you have something interesting to share with the community, be sure to swing by the Defcon site and get your application started!

Security Audit Kit in a Mouse

Sometimes it helps to have an entire set of tools with you to tackle a problem, and sometimes it helps to take the discreet route. [StenoPlasma] took the latter of these approaches, and stuffed a USB hub, a 16 GB flash drive, and an Atheros based USB wireless adapter into a regular looking USB mouse to make a Linux bootable system in a mouse. Because he chose the Atheros adapter, he is also capable of doing packet injection with tools like Aircrack-ng, which can invaluable in a security audit or (white hat) hacking situation.

This is the only photo we have, so it could be possible that the mouse is no more than a mouse, however we know all of what [StenoPlasma] claims is 100% possible, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope this inspires others to hack up your own mouse kits. Be sure to check out the full parts list after the break.

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Editorial: Fear of the Unusual

As an engineer and as a writer for Hack a Day, I am used to seeing hardware in all kinds of states; from looking professionally done, to artfully constructed, to downright hackish. Unfortunately in today’s society of manufactured goods, most people just don’t have any experience with homemade electronics. Furthermore, because of a frenzied fear of terrorists, bombs, and IEDs, people who aren’t familiar with hacked or personally constructed hardware often assume the worst.

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SecurityTube – a YouTube for hacks

securitytube

SecurityTube is a site which has recently caught our attention. The site has quite a variety of videos from various sources related to security and hacking. Videos range from DEFCON talks, to documentaries, step by step how tos, and even proof of concept vulnerability videos. It’s certainly a great resource for anyone looking for something a bit more involved then a plain text writeup, and offers a way for you to catch those hacker conference talks you missed. Many of the videos come with a bit of a background information as well, so it’s far more informative then your regular YouTube videos. This site is certainly going to become a very valuable resource for many people, and is certainly a great way to kill an afternoon while still learning something.