Hacking Linux Exposed





Hackers vs Crackers

This book is titled Hacking Linux Exposed, and discusses how an unwelcome person can break into your Linux system - and, more importantly, what you can do to keep them out.

As many purists will note -- ourselves included -- using the term 'Hacker' is not entirely accurate. 'Cracker' would be more precise. In fact, we wrote up a beautiful section for the introduction in which we criticized the media's misuse of the term and tried to 'set the record straight' about the correct usage. Unfortunately this section was deemed unimportant by the editor and was removed over our strenuous objections.

We refer you to their repective definitions, borrowed here from the Jargon Dictionary

n. [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a Unix hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker', `network hacker'. The correct term for this sense is cracker.

n. One who breaks security on a system. Coined ca. 1985 by hackers in defense against journalistic misuse of hacker (q.v., sense 8). An earlier attempt to establish `worm' in this sense around 1981-82 on Usenet was largely a failure.

Use of both these neologisms reflects a strong revulsion against the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. While it is expected that any real hacker will have done some playful cracking and knows many of the basic techniques, anyone past larval stage is expected to have outgrown the desire to do so except for immediate, benign, practical reasons (for example, if it's necessary to get around some security in order to get some work done).

We are saddened by the common misuse of the term hacker. Thus we have done our best to use the term 'attacker' or 'cracker' as much as possible in Hacking Linux Exposed when describing an individual with malicious intent.

True hacking is a skill that is not present in the multitudes of script kiddies, warez doodz, and wannabee's out in the world today. To us, the term hacker should conveigh respect and awe. Now if only we could convince the media...



Sample Chapter
A PDF of Chapter 1.

Appendix A
Available on LinuxWorld

Why did we pick Linux?

Why Linux is Secureable

Linux Overview

Hackers vs Crackers

Doesn't this book apply to all Unix-like systems?

'HLE' or 'HEL'?

HLE Translations

Tidbits gleaned from our Apache logs

Windows vs Linux Security Challenge