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Claus Sterneck / Claus in Iceland
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Wolfgang Sterneck
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The Mentor / The Hacker's Manifesto
Hex_Edit / Why do we hack

The Mentor:


Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me...

Or feels threatened by me...

Or thinks I'm a smart ass...

Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found.

"This is it... this is where I belong..."

I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

The Mentor



Why do we hack? Is it to alter webpages and leave some type of cybergang inner-city graffiti? Is it to laugh in the face of over paid, under qualified sysadmins? Well for myself, and everyone I associate with, the answer to both of those would be no. So then, why do we do it? To seek knowledge? Perhaps…

That is definitely an overused and somewhat groundless excuse. We seek knowledge and wisdom every waking moment. Every breath we inhale leases us another 3 seconds of learning. Yes breaching a network's security does without a doubt involve learning. Yet do we not, on occasion, breach systems using exactly the same the same method as we have used previously? So in that case, why do we do it? If you have broken one NT box by guessing the Administrators password, why would we do it again to a different NT machine? Have we not already learned how to use an IPC$ share to gain the name of the re-named Admin account? We already know how to glean hidden shares from the afore mentioned null connection. What are we learning from repeating the task? Nothing. So why then? I suppose the first few times, is in the hope that you will run into a new challenge.

And sometimes we do, but is it often enough to chalk it all up to the great quest for knowledge? I personally wonder if that is true. Mabey as much as we shudder to admit it, it all comes down to two reasons. One is simply because it is there, and because we can. The other is slightly more sinister… We are voyeurs. We want to know what interesting stuff is on the other side. Whether we are corporate voyeurs, or peeping toms rifling through some hapless 98 users hard drive.

Sir Edmond Hillary once said, when questioned as to why he wished to climb Everest, " Simply because it is there." Are we really that shallow? Do we do this all simply because we can? Is the great quest for knowledge nothing more than what we tell ourselves to appease our conscience? Yet on the other hand I feel that there must be more to it. Mabye we really do have a primal thirst for information that isn't readily available to us. Perhaps we have a hidden side, that no one ever sees. A side that nothing ever senses but our keyboards. A darker vampiric, hematophagous side that thirsts for the live giving hemoglobin of information. A part of us so powerful it has altered our very genetic state. Have we evolved past the majority of our peers? Have we become demi-gods of a brave new "virtual" world?

If you could imagine for a second, that we were to carry the same abilities and powers into the real world. What would we see? You are having and annoying conversation with someone you dislike, in heartbeat they vanish from site. You could instantly alter every part of your appearance, as to be totally unrecognizable, or to appear to be someone else entirely. Any company or person you wished, with a wave of your hand, they would lose the ability to communicate with anyone else in the world. You could be a ghost, and ethereally pass through any locked door or alarm system. You could grab any piece of information you desired from that home or office, and pass back through it's locked doors, with out any trace.

Would these abilities not elevate us above normal human status? Is coding not the act of creation on a God like scale? " I wrote a little telnet app yesterday." Would translate, " Well you know, it took me a couple of hours, but I built this nifty little machine that allows me to instantly teleport myself to anywhere in the world." If that is the translation for writing a telnet app, what would everyone think of the guys that wrote Half life?

So then back to our lives in this virtual world. Are we Gods? No. To us there is only one true God. And that is the Internet herself. All of her protocols, and operating systems. All of her routers, switches, fiber, and servers. Every tiny part of her, that communicate so eloquently together, as to create a whole. A whole entire being, that we all reside within. This is our God. This is whom we choose to worship. So what are we then my Hacker brethren? We make up less than 1% of all who reside within. Are we priests? No, I would place that label on the sysadmins, and helpdesk jockeys who instruct the herd. Perhaps we are Demons? Do demons not belong to the darkside, to the anti-God? If the Internet is our God, who is our Devil? Is it possible to have a positive without a negative, a Ying without a Yang? We must have an anti-God, yet what? I am not sure I know the answer. Could it be all that seek to control her? All that seek to bend our God to their gluttonous financial and controlling gain? It sounds plausible, and don't we battle against these powers? Do we not war against the very idea of governments and corporations altering our brave new world? If we are warriors of our God, would that not make us Angels?

Thousands of years from now, our descendants may read their bible and understand how we all fought gallantly against the forces of darkness to ensure they lived in a world free of tyranny and oppression. They would read how the few battled fearlessly against the many, how we couldn't fathom the far-reaching consequences of our actions. They would marvel at how many of us were captured and destroyed, with out even knowing why we had to fight.

So mabey we really don't need to grasp at an ethereal "why". It may all be pre-ordained, mabey we are just meant to do what we do, and it will all be revealed further down the long treacherous road. Then again…

It is possible we are all just vitamin E deficient, socially inept humans, with a burning desire to wreak havoc, and feel power and respect we aren't afforded in our daily lives. Perhaps it is none of these things, yet that isn't for me to decide. I personally like the idea of throwing down my gauntlet, and standing as an avenging angel bedside my God. Ready to war against all that would seek to harm her.


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