Because real hacking doesn't involve a mouse or a "Start" button.
An overview of some of the tools used by hardcore hackers/phreaks before the Internet ruined the computer underground.
Believe it or not, there used to be a time (1980s through the early 1990s) when hackers were actually smart, swift, and most importantly, discrete. Not like the clueless drones of today who jerk off to pictures of Kevin Mitnick in $2600 Magazine while trying to type on a $3,000 computer their mommies bought for them and bitching about how much they hate America while using their other hand to stuff their face with Twinkies trying not to get crumbs on the anti-capitalist t-shirt they bought at Defcon for $25.
I won't even mention the "phreaks" of today who do nothing more than prank call telephone operators or dial random numbers while not having a clue about what a line equipment number is, or what centralized automatic message accounting does, or heaven forbid what this means:
RC:LINE:/ ORD 1/ TN LOD-LODH/ OE 01510409/ LCC 1FR!OK RC18 0 1 ACPT 4/1 19:30
Those old days are long gone.
Here are some final notes from Erik Bloodaxe in Phrack #48.
Description of each item, starting in the lower right-hand corner.
- Notebook with Pens Always carry a small notebook for quickly taking notes about anything you see. Make notes of dumpster locations, pay phone locations, guard rotations, secret phone numbers, etc. The inside of the notebook should have a list of commonly used phone test numbers (milliwatt, open test, & loops). Several of the large craft stores (Ben Franklin) carry disappering ink pens, which also come in handy from time to time, like taking notes you think might get confiscated later. (trust me - I know)
- Formatted Floppy Disks Carry extra floppy disks formatted for different platforms (DOS, Mac, Linux) and also carry 720k formatted floppies for older computer systems. I also carried a floppy full of tools, like MS-DOS keystroke loggers, hex editors, memory editors (GAMETOOLS, Soft-Ice), and other crap I thought was cool. (not really relevant today)
- 7/16" Nut Driver For opening telephone company pedestals when a good swift kick didn't work. You may also want to carry a set of security Torx bits for opening telephone network interfaces.
- Hookswitch Holder Downer© How do you tell the real hackers from the lamers? Ask them if they have a Hookswitch Holder Downer©. What is that you ask? When hacking from a pay phone, you need something to hold down the hookswitch while you setup your gear (acoustic coupler, modem, software dialing settings, etc.) It's hard to do all that with only two hands, so you use a Hookswitch Holder Downer made from part of an old handset. (bonus points if you use a real pay phone handset).
- Telephone Listener with Induction Pick-Up Radio Shack part number 43-231B. Useful for listening for any voice prompts or bitching operators while long-distance dialing with the pay phone handset already hooked to the acoustic coupler.
- External, Battery Powered Modem Always use a good quality external modem (makes them easier to reset and view LEDs). Make sure it can handle weird bps rates (600, 1100, etc.) as some computer systems actually use that as a security measure. (pictured is a Zoom Fax/Modem PKT)
- Extra 9 Volt Batteries Always carry a handful of extra 9 volt batteries for the modem, acoustic coupler and telephone listener.
- Quarters 'Cuz sometimes you may need to actually pay for making a phone call from a pay phone. (or getting ice cream)
- Fireworks Good for causing quick disturbances for those zany rent-a-cops to handle while you make your "move". (don't forget matches)
- Nails Used for "punching" pay phones (as seen in Wargames) for making local calls. (yes it does work)
- Acoustic Coupler For connecting your modem to a pay phone (or motel) handset when no RJ-11 jack is around. Make sure you get a high quality one, but don't expect modem speeds above 2400 bps. Also be sure to carry extra telephone cables and at least one extension with alligator clips. Acoustic couplers will not work with those bastard systems which set a minimum connection speed rate. The main reason for hacking from pay phones is that they allow you to dial anonymously and it won't draw as much public attention as sitting outside a telephone terminal box. Why not use cellular phones? Because cellular phones are radio beacons and actually make it easier to track your location, see that dumbass Mitnick for more info on that. (pictured is a Computer Products Plus Telecoupler II)
- 2-meter Amateur Radio Transceiver Forget those kiddy crap radios they sell at Wal-Mart and get a real radio transceiver. Also, be sure you can modify the radio for out-of-band transmit (150 & 450 MHz). You never know when you need to fake a radio call to get a mall security guard off your back. (pictured is a Standard C158A)
- Radio Shack Police Scanner Always carry a scanner to monitor police or security guard traffic. It helps to have a second person monitoring the scanner while you do your work. To overcome scanner-in-your-car laws, broadcast the scanner audio over an unused commercial FM radio channel or you can also use an unused amateur radio frequency. (pictured is a Radio Shack PRO-95, I used a PRO-46 back in the day)
- Tandy 1110 HD The greatest hacking machine ever. Radio Shack part number 25-3531. NEC V20 at 16 MHz, 640k RAM, 20 MB drive. MS-DOS 5.0 and Tandy DeskMate.
- Packard Bell STATESMAN Plus 486SX at 33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 200 MB drive. Dual boot between OpenDOS and NetBSD.
Note the lack of Rollerblades...
- Picture 1 Miscellanous tools include telephone cabling and junction box, extra long serial cable and an automatic tape recorder phone adapter.
- Picture 2 Packard Bell STATESMAN Plus.
- Picture 3 Packard Bell STATESMAN Plus.
- Picture 4 Tandy 1110 HD.
- Picture 5 Tandy 1110 HD. That's a picture of Phiber Optik.
- Picture 6 Acoustic coupler and extra extension cords.
- Picture 7 Modem and audio listener, with induction pick-up coil.
- Picture 8 Dog repellant, flashlight, Leatherman tool (with extra bit attachments), Swiss army knife (MacGyver-style), phone line extension cord.
- Picture 9 An example of what a hacking session at a pay phone would look like.
- Cybertek #16 Cover And another example!
- Hacking From a Payphone Pictures from a Miami 2600 meeting.
- Fake Security Guard Uniform - Useful for looking important in places you shouldn't be in.
- Corporate Logo Hat - The ultimate social engineering prop. ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX logos are the best. If someone asks you what you're doing with the pay phone, say you are sending in stories or business information over the phone lines.
- Jolt Cola - Good for all-nighters at pay phones. Goes well with cheap $0.25 junk food (goop).
- Dumpster Key - Locked dumpsters usually all have the same lock & key if it's collected by the same company. Get ahold of the key anyway you can.
- Telco Documents - Collect all the telephone system documents you can find. Old Bell System practices are the best. If your collection of telephone documents is not measured in feet - you're lame.
- Toll Fraud Forms - Print out your own and tally up your score!
- Phone Booth - Rule #1 - Everyone needs their own phone booth.
Other Neat Stuff
Here are a few examples of some software that was made by a local crack/warez group.
- FILE_ID.DIZ File ID. Used in BBS menu displays.
- QEMMHACK.TXT How-to manual for the crack. Has info on who cracked the software and a small ad for their BBS.
- QEMMHACK.EXE The actual program that does the cracking.
- BWREG.DOX Blue Wave registration editor overview file.
- BWREG.EXE The executable, hand written in assembly.
- 3DSCRACK.TXT AutoDesk 3D Studio Release 4 crack overview file.
- 3DSCRACK.EXE The executable, this file was actually the first known dongle crack available for 3D Studio.
Here are some old (10+ years) articles and notes from the local hack/phreak/BBS scene:
- Log File from a ToneLoc Carrier Scan
- Example of a Trans Union Credit Report
- Central Office Door Combinations
- Example Hacking Text Article
- Hand Written War Dialing Notes
- Ahhhh Yeah....
- x86 Assembly Code for a Software Registration Crack (Compiled .COM) My first crack, written in during school!
Here is an article from December 1990 issue of Esquire magazine. It covers a hacking session with Phiber Optik and the other Masters of Deception (MoD) guys. I added a few of my own notes.
Small article on Mickey "Cheesebox" Callahan, one of the true original phone phreaks, long before the media whores of today.
Here is my version of a MP3 player. Before those stupid iPods came out, I made a little FM pirate radio station to play MP3s to my radio. It was fully computer controlled, complete with a remote control DTMF emergency shutdown. The MP3s played on a DEC AlphaStation 100 and you could telnet into a port and request which song to play via a little interface I made in Perl. The current playing song was displayed on a webpage and via finger info. All this over seven years ago!
- FM Transmitter - Picture 1 Internal view, the FM exciter is on the left, the controls are on the right and mounted against the front panel.
- FM Transmitter - Picture 2 Front panel overview.
- FM Transmitter - Picture 3 Old Broadcast Warehouse FM exciter. The first version used an exciter from Free Radio Berkeley.
- FM Transmitter - Picture 4 Close up picture of some control and filtering boards.
Notes & Links
- Thomas Icom's Hacker Tools
- Technical Intelligence Communications (TICOM) 'Zine New hacker 'zine from Thomas Icom.
- L0pht Heavy Industries Shrine
- Mirror of Kevin Poulsen's Website
- Mirror of Chris Lamprecht's Website Minor Threat, the ToneLoc dude.
- Mirror of KevinTX's Website Ran and administered the webhost paranoia.com.
- Mirror of Aleph1's underground.org
- Script Kiddies and Scenewhores: How not to be one, and why we hate them by Grifter
- The Myth of the "White Hat Hacker" by Mercenary
- Definition of a Hacker By the Phrack High Council.
- Cybertek Electric: Issue Three Contains "Hacking on The Highway", by Joshua Tower and The Men From Mongo
- A Guide to Internet Security: Becoming an Uebercracker and Becoming an UeberAdmin to stop Uebercrackers Christopher Klaus
- The LOD Communications Underground H/P BBS Message Base Project Information and Order Form File
- LOD Communications Presents: The Bell Shock Force! - Hall of Shame Informative Gems from the halls of - "alt.2600"
- obsolYte! Dedicated to vintage computer hardware
- jwa Good links and info. Also good screenshots.