Review of 2600 The Hacker Quarterly Spring 2020

For some reason I felt especially anxious about the new issue of 2600 The Hacker Quarterly. No doubt it has to do with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Currently I work part-time as the company I work for is in a downward spiral. With plenty of spare time on my hands there is one thing on my mind – hacking. 2600 magazine is a wonderful source of up-to-date hacking tutorials and in-depth opinion pieces on InfoSec. Using this information for malicious purposes is strictly forbidden – probably anywhere in the world except Russia. As with my previous reviews of 2600 I will discuss some of the articles I especially enjoyed followed by some household announcements.

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Wi-Fi Hacking in 2600

The first articles is “Cracking Your Neighbor’s Wi-Fi for $180” by Zeitgeist. It starts off as a pretty standard article on the virtues of WPA2 and just how difficult things have become for password crackers. Zeitgeist details a way to capture the four-way handshake between client and access point first published by Belgian researchers in 2016. The writer gives us tips on how to do the same with Bettercap before explaining that the actual password cracking is done with Hashcat on a cloud-server.

I have used Hashcat myself plenty of times but this is the first time I have seen actual tips on how to install an AWS instance. Though plenty have suggested it. The article ends with a summation of the total costs. The joke is that the entire budget of $ 180 goes to Amazon. This article is immediately followed by a tutorial on how to build a Wardriving box. The article is by Tim Tepatti.

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Heading to a hacker space

Another article that I liked is entitled “Hackerspace School” by RAMGarden. It is not a tutorial in as much it his the writer’s opinion. They detail all the reasons to visit a hackerspace or makerspace and become a part of the community. The author is well versed with computers but electronics remain a problem. In an example they tell how a member of a makerspace managed to teach the author to repair a broken Nintendo Switch controller by scratching and soldering the PCB of the controller.

The article is by no means a tutorial on how to do that, just that you can and that you can learn to that from others. In turn, you might have something to offer to others. There are several more articles that bring up nostalgia. The article by Korey Young entitled “Antique Malware Can Still Bite You” explain his investigation of a suspected malware file that can only target older systems with 16 bit files. As there are plenty of such systems around and often performing critical functions it becomes a disaster when new anti-malware tools ignore them.

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What is the DoD doing on my APN?

Another article I enjoyed is “Why is the DoD on my APN” by ThoughtCrimes. The author discovered a public IP address on hos Android Phone when using certain phone carriers for an APN. When using WHOIS they discovered a connection with the Department of Defense. This might suggest some of those carrier networks are used for surveillance. It is a strange circumstance that no doubt we will hear more from. Finally I will mention this edition version of “The Hacker Perspective”, it is a story of nostalgia starting in the 80s and ends in the 90s. It ticks off all the boxes: WarGames, University MUDs and the Secret Service. If that does not convince you to pick up a copy of 2600 The Hacker Quarterly I do not know what will.

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Subscriptions to 2600 and Covid-19

Well, actually I might. You see there is a bit of a problem. 2600 has already had a hard time getting their magazine placed in stores (Read last edition for what happened in the UK). But now with Coronavirus nobody can physically enter a store, or won’t if is allowed. Newspaper stands are also not an option. Instead if you want to read 2600 The Hacker Quarterly you need to get a subscription or purchase a digital edition. A subscription will set you back $ 29.00 in the US and Canada and $ 41 for those living elsewhere. You will get 4 paperback editions (that’s what quarterly means). You can purchase each digital edition for just $ 5.00, which you can download as a PDF. Either way is beneficial for 2600 as the margins are much better.

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To top it off I will admit to a concern. The HOPE 2020 conference in New York is still set for July 31st to August 2nd. However, with the aforementioned Coronavirus Epidemic still going on I fear it is only a matter of time before it is cancelled. I cannot do anything for those who have already made arrangement to come. But if you are thinking about it I would advice against it. On that remark I will end this review of 2600 The Hacker Quarterly. It may well be the best edition I have read in years.

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