The Boston Globe
How to be a hacker
I’m sure if you are reading this page is because you are smart.
So you are also able to bust into people’s computer, stealing passwords and credit card numbers using nothing more than your brain.
I used to be a hacker myself so let me tell you that everything you’ve see on movies about hacking has utterly failed to communicate just how completely boring it actually is.
Hacking is easy
The majority of events that you describe as ‘hacks’ are pretty trivial.
Any of us is perfectly capable of cracking passwords or bringing down a website, even you.
Don’t trust me? Google it.
You see? Is just a matter of clicking here and there, some readings, some downloads and you are hacking whatever you want.
It takes very little thought to run someone else’s scripts and hacking tools someone else has made.
Note for the 99% of you who have opened another browser to start hacking things: you can do it but you will get caught so please, for the sake of our overcrowded prisons, stay calm.
The biggest security hole every piece of software or hardware has to try to deal with can be summed up in the below statement.
Humans are stupid.
It’s this stupidity that hackers take advantage of for the simplest and most effective hacks of all.
First, there are all the problems we have with our passwords, which are the central element of our security systems.
All of us have terrible easy to guess passwords.
Let’s pretend for a second that you are the exception that proves the rule and your passwords are not dumb.
Well, there’s also another issue: the idiots you’ve given your passwords to for safekeeping.
In other words, the employees of any company that handle emails and passwords.
When you sign up on a social network or a shopping site you don’t conduct an interview with their network security team.
You just access the page and give them your email and your password.
Chances are, those guys don’t even have a clue on how to store your information securely and by simply social engineering you can trick them into giving out anyone’s personal information.
Sit and wait
When most people think of hacking, they probably picture someone sitting in a dark room frantically typing, every keystroke chipping away at the firewall, just steps ahead of the authorities.
The details may vary but they’ll certainly picture something tense and fast paced, where every second counts.
At no point during this hack do they imagine the hacker wandering off somewhere for several months.
Viruses, Trojan horses, and worms are a group of semi-related programs that, once created, spread around completely on their own, which can take a lot of time, but allows them to damage or compromise a lot of computers.
This is how some of the most impressive hacks of all time have been pulled off.
Like the Trojan horse which blew up a natural gas pipeline in Siberia.
So not only does this type of hacking involve making the virus, with all the tedious weeks of programming, and math that goes into that.
Once that’s done come the months and months of waiting.
It’s about as exciting as planting a tree, except with the fun possibility that the FBI will come kick in your door.
the world must know the truth!
What to avoid when dealing with the computer guy
We all have that friend that ‘know about computers’ and does all the computer repairs for family, neighbors and acquaintances.
We are in 2014 so let’s be honest, we all know about computers; what differentiates us from that poor guy is just honesty.
One day when asked, hey you know how to fix this? He took the time to Google the problem and solves it; and that day his nightmare begins.
Ten years ago we used to have specialized stores for repairing computers and thanks to such honest guys we don’t have those anymore.
Today all computer repairs are done, not by professionals who get paid, but by a beloved friend who knows about computers the same that we all know but who is patient enough to look up error messages on Google and follow the steps.
The first couple of times we contacted him, he was proud but then he slowly started to hate us all.
Here I share some tips to avoid that the computer guy eventually kill you.
Everything bad that happens to your computer after he fixes it is not his fault
After your friend spend 7 hours trying to get your computer back into the original condition before you screwed it up, if you need to call him back, please don’t tell him ‘the program you installed messed up my computer’.
If he installs something, do not uninstall it
The majority of computers break downs are caused by needless programs we installed, like the one that changes the cursor into a cat.
After removing all these junky programs, the computer guy will only install one thing, an antivirus.
So remember, if you need to contact him back, and he ask you about that unique piece of software, please do not reply ‘I uninstalled that because it was messing up my computer and it wouldn’t let me play my games’.
Toolbars are mean
Toolbars are the little strips that get glued on top of your browser when you downloaded important programs like the one you use to watch pictures of your boyfriend while playing inspirational songs.
Every time you download one of those crappy packages, its toolbar will not replace the last one but it will glue itself to the 76543e previous ones.
So next time you download anything, read instead of blindly click ‘next’, look for the word ‘toolbar’ and uncheck it.
The program won’t be offended.
the world must know the truth!
Best online game sites
Crazy Monkey Games
On Crazy Monkey Games most games are equipped with short guides as well as tips and tricks for navigating some of the more frustrating portions of your favorite titles.
The newsletter, another aspect that differentiates the site from its online peers, is a great way for users to stay up to date on the latest games, contests and general news coming out of CMG.
A good deal of the titles will require you to sign in with your Google account or sign up for a free Yahoo account, specifically ones with any multi player functionality.
There is a plethora of games pulled from other sites that require absolutely nothing in the way of commitment or allegiance to any corporation.
This free site is burgeoning with a vast wealth of diverse games including shooters, role-playing, puzzle, action and online multiplayer.
I recommend signing up for at least a free account so you can save your badges, points and games as well as participate in the leaderboards and the helpful community forums.
This website has the most extensive category list of any of the sites on our roundup, incorporating categories for girls and cute shooters but it’s also the most childish given the site is owned and operated by Nickelodeon.
This is a wonderful site for appeasing the gaming nerd inside all of us.
Instead of games like Hob the Hobbit and Orc Slayer, Armor games now showcases a deep, ever-expanding catalog of some of the Web’s most renowned online games as well as some up-and-coming alternatives.
Finally I’ll recommend an excellent game: Zuma Deluxe!
Dell vs. HP: Comparing Laptops
If you’ve gone shopping for a laptop in the last decade you’ve undoubtedly run into two behemoth manufacturers, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
No matter what you’re looking for in a laptop, HP and Dell have divided up the pie rather well, and between the two, there’s something for almost everyone.
Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition (7520)
$1,069.99 at Dell Small Business The Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition is a well appointed media laptop that delivers fast frame rates and is powered by the latest Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge technology.
Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition (7720)
The Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition is aptly named. It delivers blazing productivity, game-worthy graphics performance, and features a gorgeous 17.3-inch display.
Dell Latitude E6430 ATG
$1,877.50 at Dell Small BusinessFor professional computing out in the field, the Dell Latitude E6430 ATG ruggedized business is hard to beat.
Dell XPS 15
$1,589.99 at Amazon This latest incarnation of the Dell XPS 15 boasts a refined, if not entirely original, design and impressive performance.
Alienware M17x R4
The Alienware M17x R4 adds the latest Intel Core processor and Nvidia Graphics to one of the best gaming laptop chassis in the business. It’s ostentatious, audacious, over the top, and strangely enough, more affordable than rivals.
HP Envy 17
This year’s HP Envy 17 is a fast, loaded media center laptop with the most stunning screen we’ve seen.
HP Envy 14 Spectre
$819.99 at Amazon With its sexy glass casing, fine keyboard, and great battery life, the HP Envy 14 Spectre is a slick premium package.
HP EliteBook 8460p
The HP EliteBook 8460p isn’t the most portable business laptop, but it’s one of the most solid choices both literally and figuratively.
HP Envy 4-1043cl
The HP Envy 4-1043cl ultrabook offers plenty of fine features, like Beats Audio, WiDi 2.0, and generous offerings in software and warranty, not to mention a strong performance boost from Intel’s latest third-generation processor.
HP Folio 13-1020us
The HP Folio 13-1020us is one of the most handsomely designed and well-engineered ultrabooks you can buy for $900.