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Former writer for EH-Net, Todd Kendall, returns to take us to the past in "Hacking Retro". You know the tools that have been around for ages... snort, nmap, fragrouter… but did you know they're still great tools for modern pentesting? Experience (and this tutorial) can make all the difference.


Hacking RetroBring out your disco ball, your leg warmers, and your VHS tapes!  While a lot of us watch the VH1 hit “I Love the 80s” for pop culture, I’m always drawn to the old tech. As such, let’s focus on bringing old hacking tricks to a new audience of pen testers.  I’m reminded of a quote from George Santayana, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  This last portion of the quote has been used in variants for quite some time, but why do I bring this up in a hacking retro tutorial?

About two years ago after a workshop I ran at DefCon 24, I had a discussion with my co-presenter about some of the material we had presented.  Specifically, I was laughing about one of the tools we discussed and the fact that I had originally learned about it during one of the first SANS conferences I had attended… back in about 1999.  Yes, that is seventeen years, and we were still talking about that tool. At first thought, you would think there would be a more modern tool to talk about, or that companies would have learned by now to fix the vulnerabilities identified by the tool (wishful thinking, I know). So before I go into greater detail about the tool we used during the workshop, let me provide a bit of foundation for why we used the tool and why it’s still relevant today.

What are your favorite tools? How old are they? Anything in your toolset that you use every day that a newcomer has never heard of?

Share your pentesting experience in the Comments Section of this article on EH-Net.


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