Not being a Noob

Now that we have abasic grasp on ethical hacking, we need to address something before we proceed further. The following article assumes that you are a complete beginner and will likely help you every step of the way in becoming a hacker. This article is for anyone who wishes to communicate their troubles efficiently and getting their questions answered without uncalled-for rudeness. If you are a programmer or have other considerable technical experience, feel free to skip this one.

The purpose of this course is to teach you hacking, but hacking is really something that can only be self-taught. If you are indeed serious about hacking, you will first have tolearn how to learn.

Where to ask for help with hacking?

When learning something new, you are going to run into problems. Everyone does, it’s all a part of the journey. You’ll find that there are plenty of online communities where you can go and ask questions and just find help with something. A couple of those are:

And of course, there’s a community of ethical hackers and me on leeward Hackers always happy to help with any queries you may have.

How to ask for help?

  • “Just Google it!”
  • “Please read the rules and code of conduct before posting”
  • “If you can’t do it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.”

These are just some of the replies I frequently come across on various blogs, forums and comment threads around the internet. As a beginner, you need to understand that when you’re asking someone for help, you’re asking a stranger to take time out of their day and devote it to you, another stranger.It is your responsibility to prove that you are worth helping.

So many online communities are full of friendly people willing to help beginners get up to speed. And yet, noobs are still everywhere:

  • “Fake.. Doesn’t work.”
  • “I tried but wasn’t able to do this thing.. how do I do this thing?”
  • “How to hack FB easily?”
  • “Need hacking tool for this online game..”

You can see why these sorts of half-assed attempts at trying to get someone else to do your work are often ignored and even ridiculed. And in hacking, what these ‘noobs’ are usually trying to do is most likely selfish, unethical and even illegal. You are not going to find help like this.

On the internet, you come across all sorts of people from all walks of life. Most people at one point or another, encounter someone who instead of answering or just ignoring a sincere question or request, chooses to be rude and mocks the person asking the question.

Why does this happen? Why do we still see so many pointless conversations? Why so many questions that have been asked and answered a million times still seem to stagger some? How to get out of this vicious cycle? How to avoid coming across as a noob and how to help others who are in fact not so different than us? It’s time someone answered these questions. So, here’s my attempt.

Admittedly, this may seem a bit general but not being a noob(or at least not looking like one) holds great importance specially for beginner hackers. This is because the only way to get help is from someone who has experience in this field. It isn’t hard to understand the lack of patience when it comes dealing with people who are just looking for shortcuts instead of trying to learn and contribute something.

When you ask for help online, it’s important to do so in a way that’s mindful of the readers time. Not only does this make it more likely that you’ll receive a helpful reply but it also helps other people with the same query who may find your page in the future. This is how you ask a question:

  • Google before asking.Why waste your own and others time when a question has already been answered elsewhere? Google your question before posting it in a forum or community.
  • Use proper grammar.If people can’t understand you, they can’t answer your questions. If English isn’t very good, then you really should learn English first as the majority of content on the internet (including hacking tutorials) is in English.
  • Clearly state the problem.Mention what you are trying to do and why you cannot seem to do so.
  • What all have you tried?Tell the readers what all solutions you found on Google and that none of them solved your problem which is why you’re asking for help.
  • Tell us your specs. Don’t leave out any important information that a reader may need to answer your question. Mention all the relevant details such as your operating system, version of software etc.

So long as you do this, you will receive polite and helpful answers to all your questions and you will be making the internet a better place for everyone.

A couple of points deserve to be explained further. These are some common red flags that signal that the person asking a question has only selfish interest in mind not learning.

Asking Google-able Questions

Yes, this again. There’s an awful lot of people on our little planet. Say you want to go out to congratulate everyone who has a birthday today and take 10 seconds per person. Assuming a conservative average of 20 million birthdays a day, it will take you over 6 years, if you went 24 hours a day, everyday. By that time, of course the last person would have aged 6 years and would not be very happy with you. What’s the point of telling you this? Not only that statistics are fun but more importantly: There’s an awful lot of people in the world.

With this in mind, there’s a very good chance that when you face a problem, somewhere someone else has already faced and overcome the same problem in the past. The answers are right there on the internet, waiting to be googled.

Further, Google has a ridiculously large webpage index (over 30 trillion freaking pages). Say you type something in the Google search bar, notice that it comes up with numerous suggestions, millions of pages most of the time. That means someone has probably typed that before. It’s like almost everything we’ll ever think, has already been thought of by someone else. Consequently, majority of what we’ll ever search on Google has already been searched by someone else and there’s a good chance that your problem has already been solved.

So before doing anything else, you should always Google for a solution to whatever problem you are facing. Not only is this much quicker for you, but it saves others time as well. Life is short. Learn to Google.

Asking unethical questions

This is a big issue in hacking. If your only goal is to hack your ex-girlfriend’s facebook account or steal your neighbor’s WiFi (all the while without having the slightest inclination towards educating yourself), while strangers on the internet cannot stop you from trying to do such things, they are almost certainly not going to help you.

I started this website ~4 years ago, in that time I have received literally tens of thousands of request to hack someone’s facebook account. I haven’t replied to a single such request and I don’t plan on ever doing so. To an expert hacker, when someone asks a question, their intentions are immediately clear. Noobs are not fooling anyone.

Your morality is up to you but do not expect others to help realize your petty ambitions.

Expecting too much

Hacking is not magic. When a problem presents itself, a hacker should break it down into logical steps and find a solution. Movies have engraved in the minds of naive viewers that expert hackers are practically magicians. According to movies, an expert hacker might as well be typing any nonsense on his/her keyboard (while blindfolded) and the greatest glories and accomplishments can be achieved. Entire nations can be supposedly hacked, gazillons of dollars await hackers just a few keystrokes away and what not. According to movies, tomorrow we may even see evil hackers burning our morning toasts and remotely hacking into our mobile phones and programming them to grow wings and fly off. No. Please stop.

To the astonishment of noobs, there is no top-secret program that can suddenly turn them into an expert. When performing any hacking technique, there are a set of steps one must carry out methodically to attempt to hack something. Further, the majority of the tools used are actually free, in fact most are open-source. Remember Google-able questions? This is one of them.

When a person asks a question about which they have little to no knowledge, it is obviously going to drive away potential respondents. What the person needs to understand is that the respondent is doing them a favor. Nobody is going to sit down and happily write a custom spoon-fed tutorial, so that the person can then mindlessly follow it and obtain something they clearly do not deserve. Everyone’s time is valuable and if the person is asking a total stranger for an unreasonably big chunk, they are going to be ignored.

The world will always be moving fast and it is up to us to keep up. Humanity’s collective intelligence will always surpass any individual’s intelligence. It is for this reason, hackers, more than any other groups, should learn to learn from and teach others, peacefully. Exchange of information and ideas are the pillars keeping the hacker community alive, bonded and continually rising to greater heights.

So that’s that and now we’re finally ready to begin learning hacking. Let’s start by creating our very own viruses.

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Akhil Naidu

Akhil Naidu

I'm Akhil Naidu, the guy behind the leewardslope. - a blog about software development,technology and all that kind of geeky stuff.