[Edu-sig] graphics on mac

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Jan 28 20:37:30 CET 2008

On Jan 18, 2008 9:16 AM, kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com> wrote:

> So how do the pros do it, i.e. show 'em the ropes, make 'em feel
> at home, as if this were all theirs to inherit someday.
> In their worst nightmares, we'd be teaching 'em how to packet sniff
> with Ethereal in like the first lesson, explaining about Squid, firewalls,
> routers, all the rest of it -- which is exactly what we did.  But George
> was way cool about it (exFBI).  We let him sit in.

I plan to blog about Hacker Ethics sometime soon, partly in reference
to the above (I'll add a link), as maybe this gives the impression
that we were somehow advocating irresponsibly breaking the rules
(not likely, with George hovering) -- as if real hackers are just crackers
with no ethics.  On the contrary, we earn respect for our (often
more liberal) license agreements because we make a special point
of reading and honoring theirs.

In using Ethereal that first day, we mostly just wanted our gnubees
to understand about "the stack" i.e. that applications sit atop TCP/IP
and a physical transport layer.

Intercepting some application traffic, dissecting a few packets, is what
Ethereal is good at, and we weren't breaking any laws.  Also, we were
doing what George and his friends wanted us to do:  heightening
awareness of how it's easy enough to compromise your own privacy
(and perhaps therefore security) if you don't understand your environment,
how all the technology works, fits together.

School is about learning survival skills, or should be, so it's not just
about watching for pervs in chat rooms.  You'll also want to have on
your radar the possibility of people in coffee shops sucking down
your unencrypted packets just to read others' emails.  Maybe you
*want* them to do that (like you're a "selective leaker" -- some kind
of political operative or something).

Put another way:  "intelligent paranoia" is simply another word for
"alert".  The problem is "paranoia" is by definition a psychopathology
and is intimately tied to ignorance, i.e. so many people go the other
direction, hunker down, never enjoy the freedoms of the Internet,
because they're so unclear about its inner workings that the think
just one key press, or one Python on the school server, and mean
everyone seeing into their bank account or being able to change
their own grades, medical records or whatever.

"School in Cyberia" is all about getting street wise in various ways,
in order to enjoy it in relative safety.  Yes, you daredevils might still
take some calculated risks from time to time, but at least you
presumably know the odds, have a strong grasp of reality.  Too many
of our schools just turn their backs on the issue, leaving adults and
children alike to flounder in this brave "new" world of hoaxers and
shysters, as up to no good as ever (like the bad guys ain't stupid,
so why should you be?).


> But that's not how it works in your normal school, with teachers
> paralyzed with fear (Python!  egads!), and never doing anything much
> about it as the years fly by, another batch of know-nothings graduated.
> Oh well, too bad for them.  Not my problem.
> Kirby

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