Welcome to the revised and updated edition of Л Complete Hacker's Handbook, dedicated to the endlessly fascinating exploration of computers, networks, phones and technology that is the world of hacking. Whether you are an Internet newbie curious to know what all the media headlines are really about, a computer enthusiast wanting to know more about how the Internet works, or an average Internet user, this book will demystify the subject of hacking by describing how it works.
You might be worrying that, in describing how hacking works, this book might encourage hordes of "wannabe" hackers to create mayhem on the Internet by looting computer systems, pillaging credit cards and killing networks with Denial of Service attacks. If you think this, then it is likely you have been placed into a state of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) by media hysteria.
This book aims to show you, the reader, that most hacking is responsible exploration of computers and computer networks with very little emphasis on breaking system security, stealing credit cards or crashing Internet systems.
What's new? In this volume we have updated several chapters in an attempt to reflect how quickly the emphasis changes in the world of information security. Since the last edition went to press there have been many changes in the world of hacking, not ail of them due to technological innovations. The changes impacting the world of the hacker in the Age of the Web can be loosely grouped in three main domains: social, legal and technological.
The social domain relates to how hackers and computers relate to society and how hacking infiltrates and influences popular culture.The trickle of arcane "hackish" techniques into the public domain has accelerated due to the fact that more and more people are using computers and the Internet. The legal domain is how society responds to protect itself against cyber criminals, cyber terrorists and "black-hat" hackers by increasing information security for the majority of digital citizens. This is not always succesful, as large corporations and their lobbies dominate the legal domain, and this can mean that protection of digital citizens often takes second place to protection of market share, and hence profits. Finally the technological domain is the driving force behind everything else, as it drags first the social, and then the legal domains along for the ride. New technological innovations will filter down through the social and legal domains as hackers explore and popularise new technology and discover new techniques which are then adopted by society at large. As more and more people use the new technology, so legislation will attempt to keep up with what is seen as black-hat behaviour, outlawing activities that threaten corporate profit. By then the real hackers will have moved on to explore new areas of technology in their endless search for novelty, innovation and teaming. The real hacker never gives up learning.
Why do they do it? Because it's there. Because they can. Most of all, because it's fun! This is the reason why hackers have been at the cutting edge of information technology for many years and show no sign of stopping. People who love doing what they do for the sheer pleasure of it wilf often work harder, explore more, invent better and think smarter than someone who is just doing a nine-to-five job for a wage. Hackers who wrote war diallers in the seventies, moved on to write TCP/IP network scanners in the eighties and got bored with buffer overflows in the nineties are out there inventing new, interesting and unusual software for the 21st century. What makes being a hacker so much fun is that the constant exploration and learning about computers, networks and technology, has no end. True hackers soon learn that "to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive" simply because there is no arrival. The continual changes in the technological landscape challenge hackers to learn more, and more, and more. Computers and technology will continue to change and grow, and hackers wilf change and grow with them, always moving forward. It looks as though as long as there is technology, there will always be hackers.
In terms of the social aspects of hacking, new material has been added to Chapter 3 to reflect the social evolution of the hacking movement and the contribution made by people who would not normally be thought of as "hackers". Their influence on the current scene is so strong that not to tnciude them would have been an insult.
Changes in the legal background to hacking have been immense. The growing media awareness of the rise in "cyber crime" has driven a demand for increased legal controls on hacking and stronger control of digital copyright. So much has happened that Chapter 11, originally entitled "MP3sand Warez", has been renamed "Copyright in the Age of the Web", as it seeks to place the activities of MP3 and warez "piratez" into a wider perspective.
Finally we have the technological innovation and new tricks that hackers thrive on. Sadly, it could be argued that the level of technological innovation "ain't wot it used to be", as the fallout from the "dotcom" mayhem starts to slow down the rate of technological change on the planet. Faster connections, better processors and larger, flatter screens do not a more secure world make! When you scratch the surface, however, you find that this is not true. A lot of what used to be "specialist" knowledge has made its way into the mainstream. To reflect this, new sections have been added on firewalls, intrusion detection systems, buffer overflows, Internet worms, cellular hacking and wireless LANs.
Hopefully you will find something of interest in this second edition of A Complete Hacker's Handbook - at the very least you should gain a greater understanding of computers and networks. If you try out a few of the things described here, you should understand hacking better and as a consequence have less fear of hackers.
Using computers and the Internet can be fun, but the real fun starts when you look below the surface and start to learn what makes things tick. Learning to be a hacker is not for everyone and I hope that after finishing this book you will understand the appeal of hacking for men and women across the globe. The actions of a few "black-hat" hackers get other hackers a bad press. This is unfair because only a tiny minority of hackers want to compromise systems belonging to other people, write viruses and worms and engage in casual crime such as credit card number theft or phone fraud, it's because the majority of hackers are benign that a book like this can be written, and it's because the majority of hackers are benign that you can read it. Hackers made the web and it's here to stay, so you should explore it, learn about it, and enjoy it. After all, that's what it's there for.
Happy Hacking. Dr-K.
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