Sunday, August 21, 2011

Reminiscing the Hacker’s Manifesto

Have you guys heard of the Hacker’s Manifesto?

Probably some of you may say yes and some may say no. But for those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s an essay written by Loyd Blankenship (a.k.a. The Mentor, stylized as +++The Mentor+++).

It’s also known as the “The Conscience of a Hacker” which was written on January 8, 1986 which followed after the arrest of Loyd and was published in an underground ezine (online magazine) Phrack.

So who is Loyd Blankenship a.k.a The Mentor? He is a well known American computer hacker and writer since the 80’s and was a member of the hacker groups, “Extasyy Elite” and “Legion of Doom”. He also wrote the game “Cyberpunk” which was seized by the Secret Service.

It is believed that the “Hacker’s Manifesto” is the cornerstone and the foundation of the hacker culture and the article also gave some insight into the psychology of early hackers.

The Manifesto states that hackers hack out of curiosity and that they want to learn more.

Hackers don’t learn to hack, they hack to learn.

The article reflects the attitude and the personality of the hackers in the early 80’s and 90’s. During these days, being a script kiddie was moderately cool, packet wars were in and lame DOS attacks like WinNUKE and the ath0++ modem drop were cool.

Phreaking also became a mainstream during these days and that sharing of knowledge like cracking, cryptography, programming (C++, VB, Delphi, C, Pascal, Assembly, Python, PERL, Bash and so on), network security, Linux, Windows, UNIX, etc. became the main topics in IRC.

The essay of Loyd was also quoted in the 1995 Movie entitled “Hackers”. Mentor received a credit from this movie. Also a poster about the said article appears in the movie "The Social Network" on the wall of Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room.

Below is the complete essay of +++The Mentor+++:

Loyd Blankenship a.k.a +++The Mentor+++

The Hacker’s Manifesto

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime
Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I'm a smart ass.. Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered
for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

About the Contributor:

Shipcode is an InfoSec enthusiast from Cebu. During his high school days he was just an ordinary script kiddie. He loves to search for web exploits and other issues concerning network / wireless security.

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