Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thing 197 Hack Into a Computer

I'd an idea of how you might hack into a computer. I figured it would involve hours of work. Typing quickly while cyber police bang on the front door, "Access Denied" flashing up on the screen every few minutes, sweat pouring out of me. Smoking cigarettes like they're going out of fashion. Cursing at the screen. Typing getting progressively faster as the laptop's intelligent defence systems try to out-pace me to the codes that will give me access...

No. Wrong. Stop watching too much shitty television and commence living in the real world - I am in fact a moron.

Pony Boy is a developer. This is computer speak for a smart person with smart knowledge of how to use a computer properly. I am a user. This is computer speak for someone who can just about use a computer, but has absolutely no idea how it works...

The photo up at the top is of what Pony Boy calls "Pass me the Key". It's a basic piece of software that can be downloaded for free from the internet. It costs literally nothing. It's terrifying.

I popped it into Pony Boy's disc drive. I turned the thing on. It asked me to boot a particular screen. I did. Not literally. I'm a user, but I'm not stupid enough to kick the computer. It runs the disc. Just before it does, it shows this screen, the only nod in the direction of what I thought was some stereotypical looking hacker screen...
Then it does a brute force attack. If it was people, it would sound like this:

Hack: Hey, mind if I get in there?
Comp: Eh... yeah, a little. Have you got a password?
Hack: I'm jedi dude. I don't need a password. I only need a mind trick. Check it - I don't need a password to access admin details....
Comp: You don't need a password to access admin files.
Hack: Sweet....

Then it goes after Pony Boy's profile on the laptop:

Hack: Hey there. Listen, I've got admin access yeah? So I'm just going to make my way inside there?
Profile: Eh, that's not really cool dude. I can't just let you in.
Hack: Jedi mind trick?
Profile: Nope. No good here. I'm Sith.
Hack: What if I had the password?
Profile: Oh, that's different...
Hack: Does it start with "A"
Proilfe: No.
Hack: "B"...
Profile: No.
(The Hack goes on asking what the first character is, until your dumb ass Profile tells it it's right. Then it starts all over again on the second character).

It's a brute force attack, and it's genius. And eventually it reveals Pony Boy's password. Which would allow me to pop in and attack his facebook page with statements questioning his sexual performances. There's no way I'm doing it now. He's got more smarts than me. It's the last time I mess with his facebook page...

There are ways around it. Plenty of modern laptops have adequate protection, but most of them don't, which effectively means that Pony Boy could be on his way over to yours right now to hack your laptop as I type. He's not though. He's on the couch having tea.

It's a scary thought. There's nothing even remotely difficult about hacking into your profile. It can be done quickly and easily. I'm hiding my laptop...

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