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.

hi haw are you
please hack in software,the software iran.
hurry up
Hi, I am fine thanks. I’ll get to that as soon as possible.

hi there, I’m 13 years old, and my level 119 from Runescape.com just got hacked. i would love if you guys can please hack it back please i try to recovery the password but it wouldn’t for for some reason. the user name is (removed) and the last password i knew was (removed). please try your best to hack it back and if you guys get it send me a message the password.

Man, that really sucks. If only there were someone you could contact about that.


Please hack (removed)@hotmail.com this for me and send the password to (removed)@hotmail.com
thank u so much!

Well, I guess the honesty is refreshing. No, we’re not going to hack that email address for you.


Hai. I want to learn the lessons penetrate the system gsm>

send me : (removed)@windowslive.com

No, we’re not going to teach you how to penetrate GSM systems. I’m not even sure that anybody here even knows what you mean.


I need smart card writer with softver and 100 blanc card.
I need that to copy bank card ,can you halp me to buy that itams because I am not shure wot card and writer is some.

No, we will certainly not help you buy the itams you need. We’re not really shure why you thought we would. (yes, I realize I shouldn’t be throwing stones on spelling and grammar.)



My name is (removed). An enemy of mine put up my picture and my full names on a satanic website, www.(removed).com claiming that I sold my soul.

I have asked them numerous times to take it down since I did no such thing, but they have refused to take it down.

Can you please hack their website?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


I have it on good authority that you did in fact sell your soul. Sorry, we just can’t help you there.


I was wondering if you could help me hack into your bank account.  I’ve lost the password to my own.

Yeah, no prob– wait, you almost had me there!

i am interested to learn hacking someones bank account or money. i need money for my family. please help me and advice me how can i hack some ones bank account or money.

Man, that is actually sad. Still, NO.


Do you know to hack facebook password
please tell me

Add me on facebook (removed)    Jersey Photo.

No, I seriously don’t know how to hack facebook passwords. No I won’t add you on facebook. Missouri Photo.


hello, a sincere request from you’ll could you please teach me how to hack facebook or gmail,,,,pls,,,,u people are masters in this,,,,,jus help me wd this i wud be really thankful to u……

Wow, this just hurts.


I could go on and on and on. We get these in all the time. Another peculiar thing I’ve noticed is that many of them even forget to give us a link to the site or email they want hacked. They just simply state “please hack”, or “hack site”.  Maybe these are just die hard Hackaday fans encouraging us to keep up the good work, but I seriously doubt it.

In conclusion, no, we won’t hack that for you.

123 thoughts on “Tales From The Hackaday “tip Line”

      1. Favorite part:

        Q:How can I get the password for someone else’s account?
        A:This is cracking. Go away, idiot.

        Q:How can I break into/read/monitor someone else’s email?
        A:This is cracking. Get lost, moron.

        Q:How can I steal channel op privileges on IRC?
        A:This is cracking. Begone, cretin.

  1. The saddest part of this is that they will probably never understand how contradictory it is to ask someone to hack for you, or to teach you how to hack computers/gmail/facebook without first putting in the time.
    The whole point of hacking is that it is a set of tricks that you pick up after working with a system for a time. It can be passed along, but only to people who already know what they are doing or are really committed to learning.

    I blame Hollywood depictions of hackers for this attitude. They all want to just be able to write a

    1. This is the thing. As an alpha-geek, people often ask “Ooh, why don’t you hack into computers?”.

      The answer is, because it’s incredibly technical, boring, hard work. Unless it’s something you enjoy tinkering with, it’s just gonna be a massive pain in the arse. It’s also a full-time occupation, you need to be up to date with the latest holes and patches.

      I dunno, I blame Hollywood. There need to be more films where people make aeroplanes out of tinfoil and a monkey wrench, let the aeronautical engineers take all the stupid requests from idiots.

      1. Read youtube comments. They’re always full of people saying:

        can u tech me to build robot plz? my email is bladibla@bladisbleh.com

        People seem to think it’s just “click” and you’ve got a GPS-guided roomba, stun-gun or whatever ready.

        It’s hard. That’s why it’s so fun.
        (brb, building a gps-guided roomba-mounted stungun)

      2. This one was really good. What about spaceships from soda bottles and used diapers as well ? :D All jokes aside, it really explains the situation. With all that crappy movies with people in them cracking safe systems only with a some random keyboard bashing, it is only understandable for “normal” people to think cracking some computer software is just magic. Although it doesn’t make it any less painful to hear “can you hack this/that” requests.

      3. I actually ran into this over the weekend. My Dad was going on about “Person of Interest” and computer this-that-and-the-other thing.

        Finally I said, “I have trouble watching those shows.”

        My parents are both private pilots, and Mom said, “Like us noticing all the mistakes in airplane shows?”

        My reply, “Yeah… imagine a guy on TV yelling ‘Set flaps to 120 degrees! I need 120 degrees of flaps to avoid crashing!’ .”

        Dad:”There’s no such thing as 120 degrees of flaps…”

        Me: “And there’s generally not ‘fights’ on computers as people try to hack each other real time.”

      4. The only ‘real time’ hack ‘fight’ I’ve seen was one prepared team vs an unprepared man. The ‘fight’ was over in a second.

        As to the comment I’m replying to: as a future aeronautical engineer, PLEASE GOD NO.

        Feel free to make exoskeletons/mechanical implants really popular, that should get mechanical engineers into a fix.

      5. Somewhere along the line us aeronautical engineers have been relabeled aerospace engineers. The net effect has been a move from assuming we design boats to assuming we all design spaceships/are astronauts.

        Anyway, anybody who knows anything knows that aircraft rely on magic pixies to keep them in the air (apart from helicopters which act on the repulsion principle). Aero engineering is all about keeping the pixies in the plane.

    1. I like their attitude, by Comparison Caleb or hackaday policy is a softy. From attribution.org “This is a personally owned and privately operated system. You have no rights here.”

  2. Golly, I always thought this was a Black hat hacking site. I read it all the time and I’ve been waiting ever since an articles to learn how to hack bank accounts and websites. Maybe it’s better that I go somewhere else now.

    1. Hang around M4rc3lv, we’re just laying the ground work you’ll need to become a r34l pr0. The best is yet to come! Once you’ve shown your abilities through astute comments and your hardware projects get featured a few times, we’ll invite you into the “inner circle”.

    1. That’s actually pretty funny.

      Reminds me of the time I wrote a fake command prompt in qbasic to fool my friends. It would respond to many of the default commands like ‘help’ and ‘dir’ with smartass answers and pretend it was gonna delete the hard disk. :)

      1. In the college I learned programming in, we spent half the time avoiding login trojan horses (and the other half writing them). A Honeywell Bull Unix System V, with actual Wyse green-screen serial terminals! This was in the early 90s! And they taught us COBOL!

      2. I find it hilarious that this is the sort of thing we do in the engineering department at my college, but the firewall has a block on it for “hacking” at least it lets you pass it….

      3. Way back in the DOS days, a friend and I used to modify command.com directly to respond with smartass responses. We would do it to each other’s computers to mess with each other.

    2. lol. My friends do the same thing. They think I’m some crazy hacker when I repair their machines using a Linux USB drive and my basic knowledge of electronics. I guess it’s the jargon that throws them off.

      1. I’m not even In high school yet, and I do this all the time. It’s so easy, and you could probably get a job making props for movies with it, since Hollywood’s idea of hacking seems to be a command prompt with a bunch of random numbers.

    3. Yeah, I’m in high school too. The firewall here used to block hackaday for “illegal hacking content”, until an actual human (as opposed to websence) finally reviewed it. Now everyone in the room notices the green and black page and comes over saying “So… whatcha up to, huh?”

    4. At school we ran a fake Win2K logon program (PC was running Win98) and we got the IT teacher to “login” to the machine, where the program captured his password. Bear in mind that this was the same guy who asked “is that Windows XP?” to a student with a Macbook.

    1. Caleb, I thought you guys were going to clean up the comment sections. I assume that you’re trying to be honest, stand-up people by leaving criticism up, responding to it, etc… But it’s a serious downer, it’s aggravating, and these sorts of things appear on just about every article.

      Is there something I can do to convince you to start cracking down? Hackaday is a great site, but the community’s signal-to-noise ratio is just terrible.

  3. Please hack (removed1)@hotmail.com this for me and send the password to (removed2)@hotmail.com
    thank u so much!

    “oh yes, no problem, i done like you say and sended the password from (removed2) to (removed1)…”

  4. [LoL]Hi, could you please help me hack the TSA databases so I can sell the naked body scan images as porno? I know there are a lot of them, so please focus on the ones of children. Thanks.[/LoL]

    Sorry, forgot where I am…
    [LoL]Hi, could you please help me hack the TSA databases USING AN ARDUINO so I can sell the naked body scan images as porno? I know there are a lot of them, so please focus on the ones of children. Thanks.[/LoL]

  5. I always wondered if this was happening at HAD HQ. And Yes I agree there should be a section for the funniest hacking requests (kinda like the literallyunbelievable.org website where you can see Facebook postings of people who have no clue what the Onion is).

    Speaking of open and honest, nice that you posted a picture of yourself above the article, Caleb. Or is this one of the other editors? ;-)


  6. Before I started actually *reading* the material here, I had to work hard to avoid it. My first impression was that Hackaday was by and for a group of self-serving, 1337-minded thieves. The biggest contributing factor to this impression? The skull-and-crosswrenches logo, suggesting devious pirateness.

    So I’m not surprised these kinds of requests are attracted to Hackaday. Beyond the multiple connotations of the word “hack”, you’re flying a Jolly Wrencher.

    By now, it’s surely too late for Hackaday to change its branding, but is there any way to prevent this kind of first impression? Seriously, I didn’t want this site to show up in my browser history because of its implications of illegality! Seems so silly now.

    1. You actually make a good point. Between the black background and the checkbook OCR font, this site looks a little bit like something out of a geocities page hosting the anarchist’s cookbook in 1996.

      That being said, one of HaD’s biggest assets is the skull ‘n wrenches. That’s some damn good branding there, and one of the more recognizable graphics from the hacker/maker/diy-er websites out there.

      Here’s a simple test: take out a sheet of paper and sketch the adafruit logo. Now do the sparkfun logo. Now do HaD. See? That’s awesome branding.

    2. THAT’S WHAT I WANT!!!!

      Jolly Rancher’s candy with the Jolly Wrencher on them. Put them in a “little black bag”, and put them on little electronics kits. Halloween the HackADay way!

    3. >Seriously, I didn’t want this site to show up in
      >my browser history because of its implications of
      >illegality! Seems so silly now.

      WTF ?! do you really fear that some dumb idiots, which can’t check what hackaday is, could think you’re a terrorist ?

      1. I remember when listening to the radio years ago, a sheriff was talking about a recent terrorist bust they’d made. He said something like “in his bedroom we found wahr (wire), books on electrical circuits, electronics parts…” As if that is all that is needed to be convicted of terrorism. How many of us are, by that definition, “terrorists”?

        BTW, the guy they busted really was a bad guy.

    4. Did you just coin “Jolly Wrencher” or have I missed it previously? Good one!
      But I agree on both sides, the Skull and xbones does signify piracy, but even if we’re not that kind of “pi”rate, it’s still kewl. So I guess (warning: yet another cliche’) it comes with the territory.

      1. Following up to myself, while we were there in the forefront of defending Internet Privacy a couple months ago, I feel “our” logo, may have been detrimental when viewed by 3rd party onlookers.

      2. :D Well, I’ve never read “Jolly Wrencher” anywhere else, but a quick Google search reveals that it’s not unheard of, though I didn’t find references to HaD specifically on the first search page.

        And your point about HaD’s public image, especially in defending internet rights. First impressions go a long way, and people readily dismiss pirates’ opinions as invalid.

  7. When I was in the hospital a few months ago, they offered patients free wireless. Their DNS blocked this site. I knew why. There’s that big word, HACK. I was very disappointed in their IT department for not knowing the difference.

    1. Then again it’s very unrealistic for any IT department to know it. Given the vastness of the web hackaday isn’t the only site being blocked by simple keyword/character string based security measures.

  8. Entertaining but…while you are out reshaping the public’s use of the term hack,please also address the ignorant use of communism/communism, fascism/fascist, socialism/socialist, and that’s the short list. ;)

    Personally I thinks it’s lame to blame the ignorance of the public as another commenting to this does. I grew up in a DIY environment. Reading current HM,MI,PM,PS and similar magazines, along with devouring dad’s stash of magazines of the same the going back to 1950. I do not recall the term hacker being used in print, until it was used to describe the computer nerds, but most of the public heard it when it was use to describe Mitnick et.al. in the corporate press, who probably picked up the term from Law Enforcement using it in the era of the Steve Jackson Games & BBS raid era. Yes I heard the term hack used to describe a completed, and fully functioning as planed project. That is similar to entries in the online urban dictionary.Hack most likely is slang for the slang”hatchet job”, both in place long before hacker was first used for some computer programmers. So is the ignorance of the public the problem, or the ignorance of those who chose the terms to describe what they do or themselves?

    I never ever looked to see if hack a day has a face book page until I seen the face book reference in this post. There is a hackaday page, and it would seem hackaday is part of the problem. The description of the page is the same here at top right, not a thing to but the term hacker into context. Yes it may be not noticed most, and not understood by many that do, but shit man you at least have to try.

    Laundry day so I have time to kill…

  9. The funny part is that the Department of State will not let anyone access your website on thier system, because they say they do not allow hacking websites to be accessed from thier system. :)

    1. @Shane: +1

      Got busted recently by visiting the website of the local hackerspace because it featured the H-word in the domain name. They did not bother to look further than the first five lines of text.

  10. Back in the days when usenet ruled the networks and I followed several comp.*.security channels, the usual response to posts like that was:

    “*sniff* *sniff* Does anyone else smell bacon?”

    I honestly don’t know if anyone in law enforcement is still dumb enough to try soliciting responses for [illegal action request X], but it’s a big internet. Besides, there’s still no shortage of idiots among the criminal classes.

  11. Bugger.. hit the Submit button too soon.

    Suggestion #1 (which you’re probably already doing): just send such messages to the bit bucket. There’s always a chance that any reply, no matter how innocuous, will get you more official attention than any intelligent person wants.

    Suggestion #2 (which is more fun): If you get bored, cultivate a good relationship with your local/regional cyber-law enforcement (generally very cool people), and forward the stuff to them. Even they enjoy the prospect of doing a sting on some other cop’s sting.

  12. I signed up on HaD years ago, and I’m still waiting for my Laptop with the swirly Tron-esque OS like they showed on their recruitment video (I think it was just labeled “Hackers”). I mean that one chick was pretty hot, but com’on, it’s been years and still no official hackers laptop.

    Do I need to send in my PO Box address again or what?

  13. I was an undergraduate at MIT, where the words “hacker” and “hacking” had, and still do have, quite a different meaning than they have in general parlance today. The theme of blog seems more in keeping with the spirit of the MIT meaning.
    Several years ago, when I had described myself as a “hacker” in my AOL profile, an unsolicited email from a young gentleman with creative orthography made it obvious to me that the common meaning had drifted, and eliminating it as a keyword from my profile would probably prevent misunderstandings.

  14. I was sad that hackaday didn’t aleast post a ‘best of april fools submissions’ maybe I missed it but I didn’t see ANYTHING for april fools on hackaday.
    googles stuff was pretty good tho. I’m totally geared up for tap based gmail.

  15. It isn’t just the public though. The ‘free wifi’ we get on public transport and in a lot of coffee shops blocks hackaday because its such an evil place where ‘hackers’ live.

    1. I think what we need is a different URL that find-replaces all usage of the word ‘hack’ with ‘banana’. I feel that’d not only stop filters, but also provide for a lot of entertainment.

  16. The public’s perception on “hacking” is so skewed that I’ve reached the point that I no longer even utter any phrase ever mentioned by any moron in mainstream media.

    It all stems from a discussion with a like-minded individual where a co-worker inadvertently overheard me use the term, “hack,” while discussing, of all things, this site. The first mindless utterance out of her mouth was, “hacking is illegal.” I sent her away with a verbal assault.

    Truthfully, I don’t think she cared one iota, her mind was already made up.

    That’s what makes the whole thing sad. The U.S. is slipping behind the rest of the world because of the anti-hacking mindset that’s been cultured here. Check the news, there are myriad of accounts. A high school kid was suspected of making a bomb, turns out it’s a soda machine. An elementary kid was suspended because he brought a home-made accelerometer to school for show-and-tell (another “bomb” scare). A high school kid was arrested for making a custom “tube rocket launcher” (ESTES) that malfunctioned.

    Hell, I remember being able to order plans for a flaming potato launcher in the back of the comic books. Now, modern chemistry sets are nothing more than a few bottles, a bag of baking soda and vinegar. Ugh…..

    1. I made a few little devices that blinked LEDs in reaction to sound (electret + preamp + LM3917), but didnt have enough time to figure out an enclosure for them. so we tied shoelaces through mounting holes in the pcbs and wore them as necklaces.

      the first 2 days of ultra music festival this year, they didnt even see them hanging around our necks. but the last day (the only day they actually pat you down) the security lady says to me as im trying to enter, “what’s that?” i say, “just a little blinking light thing.” she says, “i don’t think they allow blinking lights in here.” and then i gave her the trollface.

  17. I was recently retained as a consultant to reverse-engineer embedded code for a x86 system for which the company had lost the source code.
    I visited HAD on company computers and the next day the site was blocked because of “hacking”. The next week HAD was again available.
    I applaud the company’s IT team for their timely review.
    Irony can be pretty ironic.

    1. btw, my most important discovery from this work was that {
      int a;
      int b;
      int c;
      // code here
      } } }
      forced variables on the stack in such order that the stack offsets matched the original code.

  18. LOL, you would think they would look at some of the articles on the site before they assume you can (or would) hack back their password for them. You should respond with, Ok your password has been hacked back please send me $10,000 and I will forward it to you.

  19. I think the stereotyping of black-hatters in this article is offensive: I am sure they are not all balding, with scraggly hair and whisky goatees, sitting on antique chairs and wearing wizard outfits. Please remove the photo at the top!

  20. There is this really annoying article about hacking on hackaday, and it has way too many comments. How do i hack the site to remove the article and comments? If you know please tell me on at@dot.com

    (i really wish i owned that domain, just to be able to have that email)

  21. At the local hackerspace we get regular requests to break into e-mail accounts for adultery cases.

    Trolling them could have been an option, but since you never know what’s happening at the other side of the keyboard (is is a cop looking for an easy bust ? Is it a crook ? Is it really a distressed person ?), we always decline the proposal in a very civilized and sensitive way: they never bothered to contact us again.

  22. Doodz!

    Kin u plz help me? I need to hack an ATM card scanner out of a roll of duct tape, a Timex Sinclair, 3 paper clips, and a egg of silly putty. Come on doodz I know you kin do it!


  23. Damnit. And here I thought this site was all about the bad actors on network television…

    Truthfully, I blame anime. Every kid that ever watch something even vaugely anime styled thinks that “hackers” can crack ANYTHING in ten seconds or less strictly for fun.

    Me, I charge in beer…
    The advantage? One ends up too drunk to feel like hacking anything…

  24. I remember that I used to read the 2600 magazine in the college, at lunch time or in the interval between classes. People used to look at me and say “OMG LOL! YOU’RE SO 1337 H4X0R! CAN YOU HACK X FOR ME??!?!?!11?!”, then I used to answer “I’m too busy this week hacking (bank|FBI|KGB|et cetera). Maybe next week”, just to troll them.

    There is a friend of mine that 3V3RY F**KIN’ W33K, err sorry, every week asks me to crack into his cousins PC to get her nude pictures for him. He says that I “can use the backdoor of MSN messenger to connect blah blah blah, ‘like in the movies'” WTF!? I think he is such a looser for this. Why he don’t buy a porn magazine or get a girfriend?

    Also, I hate those hacker movies that people can track down cellphones within seconds (24 hours, CSI, et cetera), explode the White House by just typing random crap (Live free or die hard), use cool xscreensaver patterns to hack the gibson (needless to say), type random crap and make a random movie appear on the screen of the hacked computer and upload an OS in matter of seconds (Tron Legacy, btw the first movie was much better), just to say a few.

    By the way I was just forgetting…Caleb Kraft, can you shouu me a way 2 hack my alarm cluck int0 mah tiperiter s0 i can cable it 2 mah ham-radiu xmtr and make it tr4nsfer other ppls monei into mah bank acoount? oh, i alsso like 2 hav an d-vice that can brainvvash ppl in a way m0re eficient then tv. n0w i hav 2 go cus’ mah fngers cant typ more b00l5h*7. th4nx y4, 1337h4x0r1234

    1. There is one fatal detail in this comment, and i hope, i pray, it’s the result of a mass typo or grammatical error. If not, you’ve got a super-messed-up friend, whom you should probably not befriend anymore.


  25. i was actualy kicked off a model railroad forum for shareing an LED hack link from here (thought it was awesome and fit the topic well)

    then the idiots looked into the site and appologised … -.-” i havent been back .. nor have the donations that helped keep it running

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