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TUCoPS :: Antique Systems :: rsts_oz.txt

Australian RSTS Hack File

         :                                                           :
         :            M A K I N G    T H E    M O S T    O F         :
         :                 R S T S / E    S Y S T E M S              :
         :            ======================================         :
         :                                                           :
         :                 Written by   :   Captain Hack             :
         :                              :   of Melbourne,            :
         :                              :   Australia.               :
         :                 Written on   :   01-Feb-86.               :
         :                 File No.     :   V01A-01                  :
         :                                                           :

                    Originally Displayed in the U.S. on: 
                       P-80 Int'l Information Systems


              This  file  is  a tutorial on making the the most  of  a 
         RSTS/E  system,  making  the most could  mean  anything  from 
         making  the  system  do so neat tricks,  to using it  to  you 
         advantage,  to taking it over completely;  depending on  your 

              For  most  of  the examples you will  need  an  account, 
         obviously non-privilaged,  else you would not be reading this 
         tutorial.  Bear  in  mind  that most,  if  not  all,  of  the 
         techniques  described  can be changed by the sysop.  I  found 
         this  out while trying them,  but most sysop's don't  realize 
         everythings full potential and how it will be used;  needless 
         to say that I most likely have missed out on things. Anyway I 
         hope  you  like  the tutorial and  you  have  an  educational 
         experience!  I  will rely on also using your imagination  and 
         ingenuity, as this is often needed.

                             OBTAINING OLD FILES.

             If  ever  you  have a valuble file that  you  don't  want 
         people  to  see the contents of for one  reason  or  another, 
         always  write  other information (random of fixed)  over  the 
         entire  file  before deleting it.  When the system creates  a 
         file it likes to have it continuous if possible,  which means 
         many blocks will be consecutive.  When a file is created  the 
         system  alters information in a system file indicting that  a 
         particular  block or set of blocks have been allocated so  as 
         they  will  not be over-written.  The directory  knows  which 
         which  blocks  are associated with which file,  but when  you 
         delete a file,  the system flags the used blocks as available 
         and delete the directory entry.  The system doesn't wipe  the 

             To  dig up these old blocks,  write yourself a program to 
         open a large file,  I will leave the size up to you.  You use 
         the  filesize option in the OPEN statement to do  this,  then 
         just read in the blocks. When possible use block I/O for file 
         manipulation  because  of its speed  and  convienience.  Look 
         through  the  blocks any if one if worth keeping save  if  to 
         another file.


            Seeing as BASIC programs have line numbers, as long as you 
         find all the blocks, file reconstruction is easy.

            There  of course is no guarantee that you will  find  them 
         all.  Some  may have been reallocated,  but it's amazing what 
         you can find! The bigger the block cluster size used in files 
         the easier it is to reconstruct them. Just experiment!

                              ANNOYING THE USERS.

             A way to annoy the users of  the  system is  a techinque 
         discovered  just after we found out about the block recovery. 
         After  finding remnants of some of my data strewn across  the 
         system  I  decided the best thing to do was to zero  all  the 
         available disk space.  One Sunday night we wrote a program to 
         open  a  very large file (all free disk space  in  fact)  and 
         proceeded to zero this.  This was sucessful,  except when the 
         system was supposed to kill the file something went wrong and 
         the file was not deleted. The next morning, before the sysops 
         arrived,  the users tried to login. Because there was no free 
         space  to  write login records or do anything!  No-one  could 
         login!  Apparently this had the operators mystified why  they 
         couldn't get into their system.  They had to reboot,  or so I 
         heard,  they  later worked out what had happended.  They then 
         asked why!

                             THE PSEUDO KEYBOARD.

             The pseudo keyboard (device PKnn:) must be about the most 
         useful  and versatile device.  This is the device to be  used 
         for the perfect hack!  Originally, like many people, I saw it 
         in a manual and really didn't read about it but as usual when 
         I  was going over the manuals with a fine tooth comb  I  read 
         into  it.  Although most of the weak-points discussed in this 
         tutorial can be removed by patching implemented by the system 
         operator, they are likely to ignore them. The pseudo keyboard 
         is a keyboard which doesn't physically exist!  When you  open 
         the  channel  and  do I/O's with it it appears  like  another 
         keyboard.  It even has a keyboard number.  This is useful for 
         extracting  inormation  for your programs that  can  only  be 
         accessed  in command mode.  An example of this is  SYSTAT.  I 
         recommend  that you get hold of a PROGRAMMING MANUAL and read 
         it thoroughly, including the section on pseudo keyboards.

                              PASSWORD CATCHING.

             Password catching is always desirable if you want  access 
         to  a privilaged account!  When I first started out we ran  a 
         crude  program  which did I/O's to the desired  terminal  and 
         gave  the responses that the system would give.  A number  of 
         problems  that we ran into was that you cannot fake the whole 
         system, that is impossible using those methods, and also this 
         did not allow for timing delays which most users were used to 
         and expected.


             With  these  old programs,  the passwords obtained  never 
         lasted long because the user almost always knew they had been 
         caught  because users get suspicious when they get an  INVALD 
         ENTRY  - TRY  AGAIN message when they put  in  their  correct 
         password.  This problem left me pondering how could you write 
         the  "perfect"  password catcher.  When I  discovered  pseudo 
         keyboards I was thinking of applications, then it hit me. Why 
         not  simulate the whole job of another user?  It was possible 

             To  do this you write a program to open a channel to  the 
         keyboard  where  the  person will enter the  desired  account 
         number  and  password.  You  also  open  a  pseudo  keyboard. 
         Basically  from  then on you pass the data from  one  to  the 
         other, and you keep checking what is being typed and when the 
         account  number and password are detected save them to a disk 
         file  encoded or what ever.  You should continue to  simulate 
         the job until the person logs off.  There are a few things to 
         be careful about.  When the person runs SYSTAT make sure  the 
         output  is sent to the terminal replaces the pseudo  keyboard 
         number  with his keyboard number.  Make sure he doesn't see a 
         channel  is open to his terminal and other things like  that. 
         Another  things  to  be careful of is  that  he  doesn't  run 
         programs  to  tell  him his keyboard number or  a  few  other 
         things  like that or a program where the terminal where it is 
         run from affects its operation,  if he does it could be quite 
         hard to deal with. All of the techniques I describe will need 
         practice and perfection. Perfect things before using them and 
         don't  tell people what you are doing.  Another thing  to  be 
         careful  of  are  operators  who look at the  files  in  your 
         account.  A  simple  way  to deal with  those  people  is  to 
         encrypt/code  those files and keep decoded copies online  for 
         as  little time as possible.  If you can't stay at a terminal 
         to  have the password catcher program running  don't  despair 
         because I will show you how to detach jobs later.  My biggest 
         piece  of advice is always stalk and watch the target  system 
         first  for  a  while.  Get to know what most or  all  of  the 
         programs in the project 1 accounts do, and only after you are 
         sure should you try and pull a stunt like I decribe. Once you 
         have  a privilaged password you must use your own imagination 
         to  how you use it.  Remember always be  security  conscious. 
         Don't  take  unneccessary risks and by the time you get to  a 
         privilaged  account  you should know all  the  SYS  functions 
         possible and how to use them to your advantage. If you system 
         keeps login and logout records remember to edit them, because 
         depending  on what you do,  your activities should be able to 
         go on undetected!

                                DETACHING JOBS.

             There is one way a non-privilaged user can detach a  job. 
         This  is done using pseudo keyboards.  You will need to  read 
         the  PROGRAMMING  MANUAL (the RSTS/E bible for hackers!)  and 
         write yourself a program to almost simulate a job except  you 
         do  it to your terminal and you don't log the passwords etc.. 


         When  you  are  logged into your account  and  you  run  this 
         program it will look on your terminal like you are logged out 
         again  and  you will have to log into the system  again.  Log 
         into  the account which you want to detach the job  from  and 
         you  must have access to the program from this  account.  You 
         should  execute  the program you want detached then   have  a 
         special  key  sequence  that will close the  channel  to  the 
         pseudo keyboard. You detacher program will finish and that is 
         how  you do it.  ut you say that doesn't work,  it just kills 
         the job you started when you closed the channel to the pseudo 
         keyboard,  but you didn't wait for the most important  piece! 
         When  opening the pseudo keyboard you must have included MODE 
         1  in the OPEN statement which tells the system to detach the 
         job  when you close the channel instead of killing  the  job. 
         When  you do a SYSTAT you will see your job running detached. 
         Don't  forget opertors mightn't like you detaching  too  many 
         jobs so do it when they aren't around. For a job to terminate 
         itself  you  may try getting it to run LOGOUT,  but  when  it 
         tries  to  output something like a message saying  your  disk 
         space  or have a nice afternoon it will sit there helpless in 
         a HB wait state until someone attaches to it (like you or  an 
         operator)  or an operator kills it.  To get around this  take 
         notice  of the message you get when you log in and you have a 
         job detached.  The system tells you that and asks if you want 
         to  attach.  So you what you do is make you detached  program 
         open a pseudo keyboard in a mode that won't detach it and get 
         that  job  to  log  into  your  account.  Don't  worry  about 
         entrusting  your  password  to the program  as  others  can't 
         obtain it.  Anyway when you get the new job to log in make it 
         attach to the job you wanted killed,  then when your original 
         program  closes  the channel to the pseudo keyboard  the  job 
         running  on the pseudo keyoard is killed and  it  effectively 
         kills  itself  as  it  attached  to itself  in  a  manner  of 
         speaking, and thus the job disappears! (Well it worked on the 
         system I tried it on)


             When  you attempt to do all of this  I advise you  to get 
         hold  of (buy ($20) or borrow) the RSTS/E PROGRAMMING MANUAL. 
         There  would  be at least one with the system  and  are  also 
         available from DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation).

             Finally,  non  of  the above methods and  techniques  are 
         guaranteed  as  they can be removed or altered by the  system 
         operators.  All of the techniques are valid and are not  bugs 
         in  the operating system.  Whether your operator knows  about 
         them  or what they can do is a different matter!  Anyhow have 
         fun, RSTS/E is a good operating system, and don't do anything 
         that I wouldn't do!


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