Hacking, the (kinda) real stuff!

By Keith Connolly on December 10, 2010

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For those who don't know me well I am a, as I'd like to say, "technology enthusiast". Basically, I love 0's and 1's. I love the latest gadgets and I love the latest computer talk. My whole life has been filled with computers and I love working with them more and more each day (usually).

With that out of the way, what does this have to do with hacking? Well, you see a few years ago when I was 13 or so I played a LOT (I really do mean a lot) of counter-strike. Doing this I met a lot of people, namely, a group of in-game hackers. These guys were fairly benign. They liked to make aim-bots (programs that run in the background that aim for you -- making you godly) or similar little hacks or programs that simply made them kill you, faster and easier. While I almost never played the game with hacks on (I joined the pro circuit and played for a while so I couldn't be caught dead with hacks) I really enjoyed making them.

Ok so that's all good and dandy -- DLL-injection, ram modification, fun stuff but not even really the GOOD stuff. So my appetite changed. I wanted more and more hacking. I became obsessed with it at this point. One of my fellow hackers invited me to a more "mature" group of hackers he was part of. We embarked on other "educational" schemes... see the group wasn't black hat (hackers who want your info and want to screw you over i.e steal your money) nor white hat (people who hack to improve security, etc.) we called ourselves gray hats (or grey hats). Neither in it for nefarious works -- nor in it for the betterment of all mankind.

So was this the life of movies with hot girls on skateboards running from the po-pos? Nope, it was mostly 13 hours a day of staring at a unix green-on-black terminal with the latest "tools" you or your group had whipped up in C++. When you weren't hacking actively you were trying to get around security and most importantly sharing information with your group. I once wrote a port scanner that was blisteringly fast for the time and sent it to my group. It was an amazing success I was "popular" for about 3 weeks and even upto a year after making it I had released patches and updates to it (until it was leaked to other groups and I stopped development). The meeting place was IRC, we had out own IRC server and then had dozens of channels on that server my favorite was the file-tag or the CTF (capture the flag) room. You would partner with someone and hide a file with a keyword in it on your system, your partner would do the same on his system. The first person to crack the others system and retrieve the file was the winner (You'd have to PM the person with the keyword after you got it for it to count). I had friend name Tyler who now owns a security company who I played this game with all the time. He usually won.

All in all just wanted to share some experiences with everyone. I learned a lot about security and code in general during those times and it's a part of who I am.

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I really like hearing from those who read my content, engauge with me via the comments on each post are by one of the many contact methods below.

Keith Connolly
Queen Creek, Arizona 85142
P: (480) 231-9285