Becoming a Hacker
We are a small country, which has its advantages and disadvantages. With no University that teaches a technical computer science bachelor in the country, helping young people learn is not just a buzzword for us. Therefore we rely on teaching new members ourselves. A hacker is a person who enjoys technical content and tries to understand it further. If you think that hackers have anything to do with criminal activities, please leave this website now, you didn’t get the message.
Please be aware that there is no need that you try this before joining us, we will happily guide you through it once you join us. But maybe you want a little preview on what you could be doing when you join us.
First of all, this guide is aimed at absolute beginners, sometimes only 14 years old who like computer stuff but don’t have prior knowledge in programming or other advanced IT topics. The things you should be able to do is read and write (with 10 fingers would be cool) on a laptop, talk, have some knowledge of mathematics and have some basic computer usage skills. If you are not a beginner, there’s probably no need to follow the below procedure (we have people who will guide you through advanced topics once you join us) but reading it can’t hurt.
Before you start: Congratulations! You are reading this text in English, meaning you’ve already acquired the first important skill for a Hacker. Although we talk Liechtenstein German dialect at our meetings, reading (and sometimes writing) in English is essential.
Installation preparation for Windows:
- Got to the Microsoft app store.
- Install “Ubuntu” (that’s a Linux!) in the highest version available (for example 22.04.1). Maybe restart your computer.
- Open the Ubuntu app. You’ve just opened Linux!
- What you should see is the so called “prompt”. It should tell you who you are (for example peter), an at sign (“@”), on which computer you currently are (for example “LAPTOP-99999”), a colon (“:”) and your current directory location (for example “~” means you are in your Linux “home” directory /home/peter/).
- If you prefer to see the files you create in your Windows as well, type “cd /mnt/c/Users/peter/Desktop/” (assuming your username is “peter”). You’ve just changed the directory (cd!) you are currently located to your Windows Desktop folder.
Installation preparation for Apple MacOS:
- Open the “Terminal” app. As MacOS has common ancestors with Linux, you can use the shell provided by that “Terminal” app.
- What you should see is the so called “prompt”. It should tell you on which computer you currently are (for example “peters-MacBook-Pro”), a colon (“:”) and your current directory location (for example “~peter” means you are in the directory /Users/peter/)
Installation preparation for Linux:
- Open a shell, you got this 😉
Now that no matter on which operating system you are, you all have a so called “shell” open. Think of a “shell” just like Windows explorer where you can browse through your folders and files. Type the following commands to try some common things:
- pwd (“print working directory”, prints the path where you currently are, the so called current working directory)
- ls (“list”, prints the files and directories in the current working directory)
Here’s some pro tips with the shell:
- If you want to stop something, try pressing “q” or “ctrl+c” on your keyboard and enter. Try to type “exit”, “quit” or “exit()” and press enter. If you’ve started the text editor “vi” or “vim”, you have to press “Esc” and then type “:q!” and press enter.
- If you don’t like typing, use the up and down arrow key on your keyboard to get the last commands you typed
- After starting to type something, press the tab key on your keyboard. It will try to autocomplete what you started to type.
- If you need more information about a command, type “–-help” at then, for example “cd –-help”. If that doesn’t show a help, try “man”, for example “man cd”.
- Always ask yourself: “Where am I?”. Your prompt (see above) should tell you and also often use the “pwd” command.
Now you are ready for a real challenge. Keep your prompt open and try to following the challenges on:
- https://overthewire.org/wargames/bandit/. Getting to around level 10 is already very good for a beginner, from level 20 on it could get very hard for a beginner, but we can help you at our meetings :). Check out the communication channels below to get in contact with us.
Congratulations, your first steps to becoming a Hacker!
After you’ve completed the bandit challenge you shouldn’t be confused anymore when we talk about “grep”ing something, searching with “find”, what “SUID” is, “SSH keys” are and checking something out with “git” or even escaping a shell. Here are some more advanced challenges:
Here are our common communication channels:
- Threema for mobile phones are used for chats. Once you are part of our team, we can buy you the app (CHF 1.00) for Android or iOS and then invite you to the group.
- We use Discord for voice and video calls https://discord.com/, install the application.
- Stay tuned for our Nextcloud instance with LibreOffice collaboration .
- Currently it is rather quiet on our Slack https://cybersecurity-li.slack.com/.