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TUCoPS :: Cyber Culture :: fuck043.htm

Hacker Charity

Hacker Scene

=   F.U.C.K. - Fucked Up College Kids - Born Jan. 24th, 1993 - F.U.C.K.   =

                        Hacker Charity

The scene sucks, among other reasons, because good hackers have made
hacking easy for stupid people.

At some point, it must have been decided that new hackers needed 'help',
and that it was the duty of older, more experienced hackers to give it out.
I'm sure that it made sense at the time, but it hasn't worked out. Older
hackers didn't have any help. Why should younger ones have it any easier?
The only time we ever really learn anything is when we teach ourselves.

Regardless, t-files were written. At the time, no harm was done because the
files were written for a small audience, like the members of a board. The
information was distributed to deserving people only.

Learning is a gift, which cannot be fully appreciated until the gift is
passed on - and I am all for sharing information. I just want to make sure
that it goes to people who deserve it. The 2600 perversion of this idea is
utter bullshit, and has hurt the scene worse than anything else. Give a
piece of valuable information to everyone, and it becomes worthless. Yeah,
it's free, but it's useless. The 2600 ideology of "we'll try to teach you,
even if you're hopelessly stupid, nobody is too lame" has flooded the scene
with people who don't belong here. 2600 serves only to give kids enough
information to be a danger to themselves.

One funny thing about t-files is that they are low-security. You would
think that a security-obsessed scene would keep its secrets secret, but no
- t-files have no access control.

The other interesting thing about t-files is that they affect reality. Put
out a t-file that gets wide distribution and it will actually affect the
world. Bugs get fixed. Defaults get changed.

I think that half the reason that younger hackers climb all over the older
hackers for help is that it is more difficult to learn to hack on your own
than it was in previous years. It's more difficult because hackers blabbed
about bugs and stupid defaults, and the flaws were fixed. Many of the easy
bugs are gone. The lower rungs of the ladder have been removed. It's harder
to get started.

And that's another thing: The focus of hacking has changed from playing on
computers (that's what I always called it before I learned that there were
'hackers') to security. I never saw security as being the goal; security
was just something that was in the way of playing on the computer. For me,
bypassing security has always been secondary. It is the primary focus of
the scene today.

The other new stupid idea is that it's our job to uncover security flaws
and report them. I have no idea where that one came from. Large quantities
of beer and N2O had something to do with it, I think.

Daemon9 writes great technical articles. The problem that I have with his
stuff is that he includes source. I wonder how many people who use his
tools, could have written the code themselves. Maybe 10%. The rest get to
play hacker with tools they don't understand. Noted crackhead bitch CM made
a remark that his actions were analogous to dropping off AK-47s at a
playground. She had been hitting the pipe pretty hard at that point, I
imagine. The only thing that D9 does wrong by distributing code is to make
it easy for stupid people to pretend that they are hackers.

All an article needs to do is explain an idea or a technique. Leave
writing the code as an exercise for the reader. If the reader can write the
code, then they deserve it. If they can't, they need to study more and come
back to it later. If they never get around to writing the code themselves,
it's probably best that they don't have whatever it was. If the article is
deficient in some way, the reader can contact the author and the author can
decide whether the reader deserves help. This is a more secure system.

Make it harder for hackers to be hackers and I think that many of the
problems that plague the scene will go away. Common courtesy will return.
Hackers will have at least grudging respect for each other.

If you want to help the scene, make a pledge to stop trying to help the
hopeless. Don't answer stupid questions. Don't answer if the information
asked for is publicly available. Don't write "System X Made EZ" articles.
Don't write articles aimed at beginners. Don't include powerful code in
your articles. Set up non-net systems of your own. Strictly control access.

New people: don't ask questions. All the information is out there. Stay
away from the scene. Study. Write all your own code. Don't use tools you
couldn't write yourself. Figure, whatever it is, out for yourself. If you
can't, go on to something else, and come back to the hard stuff later. If
you never seem to make any progress, get the fuck outta Dodge. Leave us alone.

I close with a passage written by Herbert Spencer in the 1800s. He was
actually writing about the hardships of the poor, but it struck me that he
and I were writing about similar concepts. He says what I mean far more
eloquently than I ever could:

Pervading all Nature we may see at work a stern discipline which is a
little cruel that it may be very kind.... It is much better that the
ruminant animal, when deprived by age of the vigor which made its existence
a pleasure, should be killed by some beast of prey, than that it should
linger out a life made painful by infirmities, and eventually die of
starvation.... [Beasts of prey] not only remove from... herds individuals
past their prime, but also weed out the sickly... By the aid of which
purifying process the race is strengthened and made happier.... It seems
hard that an unskillfulness which with all his efforts he cannot overcome,
should entail hunger upon the artisan.... It seems hard that widows and
orphans should be left to struggle for life or death. Nevertheless, when
regarded... in connection with the interests of humanity, these fatalities
are seen to be full of beneficence.

There are many very amiable people who have not the nerve to look at this
matter fairly in the face. Disabled as they are by their sympathies with
present suffering,... they pursue a course which is injudicious, and in the
end even cruel. We do not consider it true kindness in a mother to gratify
her child with sweetmeats that are likely to make it ill. We should think
it a very foolish sort of benevolence which led a surgeon to let his
patient's disease progress to a fatal issue rather than inflict pain by an
operation. Similarly, we must call those spurious philanthropists who, to
prevent present misery, would entail greater misery on future generations.

That rigorous necessity which, when allowed to operate, becomes so sharp a
spur to the lazy and so strong a bridle to the random, these paupers'
friends would repeal, because of the wailings it here and there
produces.... At first sight these considerations seem conclusive against
all relief to the poor--... [But] it is only against... injudicious charity
that the foregoing argument tells. To that charity which may be described
as helping men to help themselves, it makes no objection.


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