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Monday, September 24, 2007

Jack of all trades - The Darker Side

The following is a technology related stuff and The Darker Side of Me and a very very very long "essay" about me. Be warned.

Gone are the days when I didn't know how to shut down a windows PC. When I use to call those so-called "engineers" to fix my PC and shell out an extra buck to get some games installed on my box. I remember the day when my cousins made fun of me for switching off that PC as if the OS was DOS. Good old days and nights of "Age of Empire". Hours and Hours of "Road Rash" and "Need for Speed". One fine day, which almost changed my life in a smaller sense, a friend of my dad forgot the password for a word Document he kept and asked me whether I can do anything to find it.

It was the day, I saw the darker side of the Computing World, the security world. I searched in Google (that time, its a cool new search engine introduced by my cousin. Thank You Ark) to find out how password of a word document can be cracked. I managed to find one software which can crack it, but it was shareware. Then, I saw that it was software one has to buy, but my cousin Ark told me that there is a software named "Serials2K" which will have serial number for any software. I was pretty much impressed by the software, but, being little different, I wanted to know how the guys find those keys. My question was answered by a process named "Reverse Engineering". But, it wasn't enough for me, I wanted to learn how to do it. Then, I found a forum where some folks claimed to know that art and are teaching guys there. That forum had over 4000 members with weird names a.k.a handles. I became one of them and started learning about computers. But, my skills weren't improving in the skill I wanted to learn (Reverse Engineering) but at Social Engineering. I became one of the moderators of the board, then one of the administrators of the board, then administered their IRC server. When having admin access to  the board, I learned PHP, Perl and Python. As part of my curriculum, I learned C, C++, Java, VB. Then, being at a board, I saw the culture of "clans" in the board, where another board members use to come to our board and spam/flame/do_crap at our board. Our answer was a simple deface of their site, which introduced me to the lowest level of computer security skills. Then, my interests changed to VIRUSes and then I collected source codes of 1000 viruses, through which I wanted to learn coding viruses but never earned those skills or simply never tried to be malicious.

Then, the greatest turn of my life came, when I was introduced to a site named "try2hack" which dealt with so-called "hacking" simulations. This is the start of the brighter side of my internet life. I left all those kiddie and illegal things along with those boards, closed my clans, ditched those emails, forgot those net-friends a.k.a clan mates (except one) and then I solved all of them within couple of weeks and then started looking for similar sites, then I finally found the site which helped me to learn so many things - Net Force.

Net-Force is the site which doesn't support any illegal a.k.a hacking activities but it gives a very good simulation at the real stuff. There are 8 categories (Javascript, Java Applets, Cryptography, Exploits, Cracking, Programming, Internet and Steganography) with a total of 93 challenges. Challenges of various levels from basic tutorials to very hard challenges. I managed to solve 82 of them up to now. I learned something from each and every challenge and I'm glad that I learned them. The domain of challenges is so wide that you will learn atleast a little about a wide variety of topics.

I'm what I'm right now with little knowledge about a wide variety of topics - Jack of all trades. I never mastered anything up to now. But, I want to be a master in one. I've chosen two topics in which I want to be more than a Jack. One of them being XSS and another is SQL Injections. I started learning about XSS already. My progress is at XSSed. It is an archive of XSS vulnerabilities in various web applications as well as sites ordered by PageRank. I wish, one day, I will be a master at something.

7 responses:

prax said...

nice post!

K said...

Thanks. It's my journey from being an "idiot" to "LazyIdiot" (LazyIdiot is my handle @ Net-Force)

Anonymous said...

hey dude...

u forgot something... u had these training classes in between for the comp illiterates like me...

we are forever indebted to u..(konchem bhariga ayyinda...aina ok)

Thanks for that...

~U know who

K said...


I missed my total "Linux" journey. So, yet another long post is on its way.

A Guy From * said...

Nice journey!

Anonymous said...

Nice journey and very nice post.

ravigurbaxani said...

I think u are already a jack in PHP


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