CNN stopped by the space last night, Oct 22nd to interview some of the guys on their projects for a report called “Made in America” which airs Tomorrow, Oct 24th. However, we did shoot some cool video and photos alongside them. There’s a full album available on our Facebook page. We were also fortunate enough to get some quick shots of our projects at work.
Today, several hive members were contacted by a major Philadelphia news organization, asking if they could interview us about hacking.
Unfortunately, their idea of hacking has more to do with unattended Facebook accounts than the hacking we do, and we thought it might be a good time to clear up just what hive is, what our hackers do, and what hacking actually means within the hacking community.
Hive is a hackerspace. A hackerspace is not full of people who try to break into your computer, steal your bank account info, or send spam. A hackerspace, or at least THIS hackerspace, is full of people who are trying in very real ways to build, modify, and improve things. Our battle cry is “Make things awesome, make awesome things!” and we take this to heart. Visit the space on a Wednesday night, and you’ll find people who are excited about the things they are creating both in and out of the hive space, from chocolate chess pieces, to amazing pieces of audio equipment, all the way to organs which could save someone’s life.
The common theme here is that these people that define themselves as hackers are not breaking into your computer. Some of us write software, to make things work better. Some of us build things, to make things work better. And some of us screw around just to see what might be possible, or impossible, just to do it. Bottom line, this hacking is positive. What most of the public and the media refers to as hacking, the technical world refers to as cracking, and it rarely is it “as seen on TV.”
So lets hit on a few of the real dangers, and if the media is paying attention, they can feel free to make use of this. Here are a few things that actually endanger your accounts and computer, which the media often refers to as hacking, but which really are not.
1.) Spammers like to send emails that look real, talking about your phone bill, your bank, or a deposit that needs to be made in your account. Often these take you to fake sites. Instead of clicking the links in these emails, call the phone company, bank, or other company that claims to be sending the email and verify it that way. It’s not cracking (or hacking) if you hand over your username and password.
2.) If you use the same password on all your sites, and someone gets that password, they now have access to all of your sites. Likewise, if you use a simple password for your email, and someone gets access to that, it is easy for them to request new passwords for many of your other accounts. Use more difficult, hard to guess passwords (Good password guidelines), and don’t use the same password for all sites. At the very least, use a different password for your email, a different one for your taxes and other financial matters, and a different one for your online accounts at sites like Facebook. It’s not cracking if someone knows your password, or has access to your email, and gets access to your stuff.
3.) Don’t leave your account logged on in an unsafe place. Many accounts get taken simply because someone leaves them logged on in some unsafe place, like a sample machine in a mall store. It’s not cracking if you’re already logged on and walk away.
None of this is hacking. None of this is cracking. It’s poor security, usually because of a lack of understanding of the technology. And you know, that’s understandable. Not everyone is a computer expert or even really a computer beginner, but as long as the media keeps pushing these things as hacking, the public won’t learn. If anyone would like to discuss what this means to Hive76, feel free to e-mail us, or leave a comment below.
Next Friday (July 6), Mitch Altman’s nationwide AMTRAK tour of hackerspaces rolls into Philadelphia, and Hive76 will be welcoming him in style. Stop by our space on Friday night for an free lecture and electronics hacking workshop officiated by Mitch himself. There will be food, drink, merriment, and of course the opportunity to swap ideas and stories with a living legend in the DIY community.
If you haven’t followed Mitch Altman’s career, you probably still know of some of his very cool projects, like his TV-B-Gone remote, or his Brain Machine glasses, and his many cool articles for Make: Magazine. Despite the great commercial success of his inventions, Mitch helped pioneer the Open-Source Hardware movement by publicly refusing to patent his ideas, and continues to inspire the maker community by advocating the free exchange of DIY electronics knowledge.
Come by on Friday, July 6, as Mitch demos his latest inventions and kits, and leads a fun hacking workshop suitable for everyone from total novices to advanced solder-smiths! Its guaranteed to be a great time!
Date: July 6, 2012
Location: Hive76 (915 Spring Garden St.)
Price: ADMISSION IS FREE! (kits for the workshop start around $10)
Our neighbors at Make Lehigh Valley are hosting Mitch Altman, Jimmie Rodgers, “and crew” (?) for a day of classes, workshops, and talks over at Hive 4A. Hackers on a Train sounds very exciting, and at only $35, it’s probably one of the cheapest ways you’ll get to meet such popular pirate-makers.
These three hours pack in just about everything you need to explore hobby electronics. As a workshop participant, you will learn the basics of Arduino, electronic components and how they interact. Then you will be instructed in soldering up Adafruit’s BoArduino kit. Your boarduino will be used to build a TV-B-Gone which will include learning to use a USB-to-serial ttl cable, the Arduino IDE, solderless breadboards and reading schematics to get their.
Well the dust has settled, and one winner has emerged. Out of all 5 players, only Steve Mandelbaum owned the box, and in under 2 hours. Players had to first identify the target server by scanning for available hosts and then using nmap to enumerate services. Then players had a choice between brute forcing the ssh service, or grabbing the passwd and shadow files from the anonymous FTP service, the latter resulting in a faster crack. After that, players needed to find the administrator of the system and use sudo to read the full passwd and shadow files. Finally, the root user could be cracked and full access would be granted.
We all had a good time, and I can’t wait for the next challenge!
S4 is meeting for the first time on June 10th at 6 PM, where we’ll be taking a look at a simple penetration test scenario.
Hope to see you there!
We had an awesome time at the Philly Tech Week Signature Gala last week. While certainly any event with free booze is going to be a hit with us, it was surely all of the amazing people we got to meet. We had quite a few things on display and people were very interested in talking with us about our projects, how we got started, and even the very nature of hacking, DIY, and hackerspaces (To quote Adam Savage, “I reject your reality and substitute my own”).
Manning the table we had Jim Fisher, Chris Terrell, Dave Morfin, Chris Thompson, and me. Here is a video showing off our table and some of the things we had there.
So the word is out that sitting is bad. And most people have pretty bad ergonomics when they are sitting, anyway. This was certainly the case for me: my desk sits 30 inches above the ground, which is about 6 inches too high for my chair. If I were to raise my chair, then my knees would be overly strained. As you can see, my wrists are at a pretty awful angle.
Not to mention that I also have a serious clutter issue.
And I can’t even see a large part of my second monitor.
I yearned for something that would, I don’t know, kinda… fix it.
And then I remembered, “I work in a freakin’ hackerspace! We have things, like tools, and wood! I could, you know, bang some hammers together or something.” So I said…
So I took some measurements and tried to get a better idea of how this would work.
And then I got really serious.
And after a couple of hours of banging hammers together, I had something.
You can’t really see it under there, but I also now have access to my printer, which before was under a pile of papers and other boxes.
It’s almost time for the first meeting of the Philadelphia Game Developer Collective. We’ll be discussing our ideas, projects. We will also be looking at the multiplatform game engine Unity.
Join us as we delve into the depths of games!
The meeting starts at 6 PM on March 4th (Sunday).