[ISN] How to Hack: Lesson 2 - Make your system more secure (Ira/ZD Column)

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Sep 25 1998 - 14:40:33 PDT

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    [Moderator: Ugh. This sounds almost as if Ira ripped material from the
     Happy Hacker. Talking about editing documents and changing backgrounds
     under the guise of a security/hacking article.]
    Forwarded From: phreak moi <hackereliteat_private>
    How to Hack: Lesson 2
    Start with making your system more secure.
    By Ira Winkler  September 24, 1998
    In the first lesson of "hacking," you learned to look at your computer as
    a means to an end. It's nothing more than a tool that provides you with
    certain functions, whether these are services or simply information
    storage. Now you are going to learn how to use those services more
    For this exercise, I will assume that you have the most common software.
    That includes Windows as an operating system and Microsoft Word or some
    other word processor.  Those people with other operating systems should
    tailor the exercise to fit their setup, of course. I'm going to walk you
    through activating some security features and personalizing your system. 
    The first thing you should do is buy a book about your version of Windows. 
    For this exercise, all you need is a basic book providing step-by-step
    instructions; the "Idiot's Guide," "For Dummies" series, or Microsoft
    Press' "At a Glance" series are all fine. 
    First, skim through the book and look for features that you're unfamiliar
    with. You'll be surprised at what computers can be programmed to do. If
    you find features that look interesting, try them out. 
    Now you can start part two. To tell you the truth, you don't really need
    the book for this part of the exercise, just start experimenting. 
    While I'm not providing an answer key for these exercises, you should
    begin these tasks by exploring your Control Panel. And definitely review
    your Properties settings. 
    The first thing to do is set a system password. This means that when your
    computer is turned on, you must enter a password to actually log on. 
    Next, set a screen saver password.  This means that when you walk away
    from your computer, the computer locks up until the appropriate password
    is given. 
    After that, personalize the screen saver to a background. 
    You may also want to change the desktop background. Even if you decide to
    stay with the original wallpaper, at least figure out how to change it. 
    Now onto your word processor. 
    Create a document, and then figure out how to password protect it. In
    order for anyone to look at your file, they must know the password. 
    Then try to add a picture from the Internet to your document. (This might
    take a little more experimentation beyond what the books describe.) 
    Although these exercises may seem basic when you first look at them, just
    working your way through them will teach you a great deal about your
    computer. And as a bonus, your computer and documents will be far more
    secure in the future. 
    Don't stop at these tasks, however.  Look through the books and any other
    materials you have and find other features to activate. 
    Don't worry that I'm not telling you how to break into systems. By helping
    you to figure out how to make the most out of your computers, I'm showing
    you how to make your system more secure. As my regular readers know, that
    is what real hackers do. 
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