[published in Jan 1997 issue of Internet Underground]

[submitted as letter to editor regarding article]

Regarding Carolyn Meinel's article in Issue 12.

        Like other journalists, Carolyn portrays the whole 
idea of hacking completely wrong. It should be noted that the 
"happy hacker" mail list of which she speaks is not some super
discussion about the world of hacking, but a moderated list 
where Carolyn posts her own "hacking tutorials".
        According to Carolyn, most of the hackers today are 
nothing more than "script kiddies" who run other people's code 
to exploit a system. She maintains that these people aren't 
hackers, but wannabes. When asked if she has ever developed 
her own exploit code, she answers "no". 
        "Take down Web sites..." strikes a bad note with any 
real hacker, elite or not. The point of hacking is not to be 
malicious in any way. The way of a hacker is exploring, 
learning, experimenting.. not destroying. I don't understand 
how someone who professes to teach the basics of hacking can 
say something like this.
        She also maintains that Ira Winkler supports the mail 
list, and is developing a game to help people learn to hack 
better. Don't you find it weird that a "computer crime 
detective" would support this? Sounds like he is looking for 
job security to me. His idea of a network for hackers to 
'legally' play on smacks of big brother. What better way to 
see who is a real player in the hacker world, and watch as new 
techniques are developed?
        The last thing Carolyn doesn't tell the faithful 
readers about is her numerous book deals. Four books she is 
working on, articles like this, and other writing ventures. 
Where does she get the information to do this? From the real 
hackers on other mail lists. Carolyn is simply into this 
"hacking thing" to make money, much like other journalists. 
She has no real noble purpose in mind beyond a quick dollar.
        If you do subcribe to her list, make sure you pay
attention to responses to her "hacking lessons". Instead of 
lessons on how to "hack", you get trivial lessons on basic 
unix commands published in any unix book. The responses to her 
mail clear up the misconceptions she brings and adds technical 
information to the misleading information she posts.
-Damien Sorder