The Null Byte Call to Arms: A Special Message to the Community

A Special Message to the Community

The community here on Null Byte has always been great and helpful in sharing their know-how, even before I took up admin duties in this World. I jumped at the chance of leading Null Byte because I enjoy teaching and informing people on all of the important need-to-know things out there, but more so than that—there is a deeper reason.

I believe our freedoms are fading away each and every day, and what was once the bastion of free speech—the Internet—is coming under increasing attack form governments around the world who want to put limits on what you can and can't do online. This is unacceptable for me personally, and I know I am not the only one that feels so. Under their guise of protection, they are increasingly watching you, listening to you, and approaching a 1984-eqsue level of Big Brother. SOPA and PIPA were just the start and our friends will need the technical know-how to thwart these attempts at clamping down on free expression.

It is time to move, it is time to march.

I remember staying up until the wee hours of the night, during the first mass protests in Iran over their rigged election, working around the clock to set up new Tor relays for them to use. Through the efforts of hundreds of anons, a real change was pushed out. Stories that otherwise would have never seen the light of day were exposed for the entire world to see. That felt like a victory.

So what can we do?

Maybe you lack the ability to help take down nasty firewalls and don't have the time to spend working out proxies for people. What you can do is share your knowledge. I came to understand each time you teach someone a little bit, you have made it that more easy for them to accomplish their tasks. I wrote my darknet series with the intent of opening an entire world of security to people who had no access to it. At over 250k views, maybe some of them will stay out of trouble or jail using the techniques we have taught them. Who knows, but it's a start nonetheless.

I am only one voice in a sea of incredibly talented people lurking here. So, I am putting out a call to arms. Help me help the people who can't do it on their own. Help me teach security to the ones who need to learn it to be safe. Soon, Null Byte will have its own server for community members to practice penetration and exploit techniques in a legal and safe way—and I will need some good, solid mods for that, as well.

So, what I am going to do is list off some ideas each week that I think would be solid, either from community interaction or current events. But don't take that to mean those are the only things I want to see! I want to see your talent, I want to see what interests you, because chances are that topic will interest a great many others.

When the tides of censorship swell over the Internet, they will not cover Null Byte.

What if you're not a great writer?

No worries!, I will go over your submissions to give them any polish they might need. Things like grammar and formatting can be ironed out on my end, so don't let that stop you. Even if you have no interest in writing, we have our community corkboard for new and exciting news just waiting to be posted to. Things happen quick in this industry and having the dibs on that is critical for anyone interested in security and hacking. 

The Null Byte Call to Arms: A Special Message to the Community

Questions on any of this? On anything? Do you want to start a longer conversation? Then head over to the forum and start up a thread. The community is here to help you.

This week's missions.

Have you played the Mass Effect series? Do you know how to go about collecting little bits of intel throughout the game, and in the end, use those to fight your final battle? That's kind of how I look at this. We can collect intel on behalf the community for people to use as a resource in the future.

I write a lot and some of the mods have offered up excellent contributions, but there is always room for more. Help us get more knowledge for the fight to come. This is not just a place for you to read me rant on, but a place to share and support ideas.

  • Wireless Encryption: Break It!

WEP is pretty easy to break. My little sister would have a solid chance at it. But what about WPA? How does someone actually go about 'breaking' encryption and what is it exactly that is being broken? I always thought the best defense was knowing how the offense is playing, and an article describing just that would be a welcome addition to the community.

  • Your Web Server: Patch It!

Having a web server is easy, maintaining it is not... that is, until you learn the gritty details of security patches and keeping things current. An article explaining what packages to have, what packages to avoid, and ways to keep everything current and tip-top will keep our friends from having their work exploited.

  • SQL and Databases: Store It!

I wrote up an intro piece on SQL that gave you a quick taste with the basic commands and an overview of what it does. But anyone that knows SQL out there knows there is a lot more to it then that. Write us up an article getting into more detail then I did, offering up useful tips for new users building their first databases.

  • Hot Hardware: Build It!

Computer hardware is changing every week. Hell, it might be changing every day, and it can be a difficult task to stay current on what is hot and what is not. Are you the Null Byte hardware guru in hiding? An overview of current technologies would be a huge win for the site.

  • Secret Dox: Leak It!

Freenet is a haven for whistle blowers and hackers alike with data to spread and store. Explain what Freenet is, what it can be used for, and most importantly, how it can keep our users safe and secure. Documentation on installation, bootstrapping and working inside the network is ideal.

  • C/C++: Code It!

If a member wanted to learn how to code, starting from C/C++, where would they start? What would they need to know? A good rundown on this classic programming language would be gold for the aspiring coder.

Other ideas?

Like I mentioned above, these are just ideas I think would be neat to see. If you have other and better ones, by all means, let us know!

Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think or head over to my profile and shoot me a message. Feel like starting up a conversation? Visit the forum and start up a thread.

Images by Collegetips, FPolicy

10 Comments

I am an experienced pc user, but I never took the chance to learn what you are willing to share. It always scared me away because it seemed too involved to learn, especially when I work in a trade unrelated to computers. What you are creating is exactly what i wish was available since i got my first pc with dos/windows 3.1. THANK YOU

I think that is the problem. Is looks daunting and complex --and rightfully so, but I think if we can iron out the basics for a lot of people their own minds will spark and go from there. I have seen such a change in the activist scene over the past six months as it relates to technology. We are getting occupy groups up on I2P and Tor, and teaching people proper encryption techniques. But the area is so vast, every little bit counts!

May I point out to everyone the interesting subreddit; http://www.reddit.com/r/darknetplan
It has lots of stuff about internet privacy, routing protocols, and links to the Seattle Meshnet Project, as well as subreddit groups. There's also The Calyx Institute to help, they're basically trying to make a ISP that isn't, you know, evil, focusing on protecting peoples rights where possible, and stopping the feds etc from getting at your data.
LINKDUMP!
https://github.com/cjdelisle/cjdns
https://www.calyxinstitute.org/about/advisory_board
http://www.reddit.com/r/darknetplan/comments/s6nmg/the_meshnet_serious_business_and_you/
http://www.reddit.com/r/darknetplan/comments/s058y/starting_meshlocals_getting_involved/
http://www.reddit.com/r/darknetplan/comments/s348v/an_update_on_project_meshnet/
They also need to make the comment box bigger. It's only three lines, I can barely see what I'm writing.

With Firefox, you can resize the textarea by draging its bottom-right corner.

I can drag the text area in Firefox, too, as well as Chrome and Safari. :)

Wow I never knew that lol, didn't really try to look for a way, Justin can you pass a message along to some tech staff member of WHT, can you ask them to make it so all text areas and comment areas are right click able. Thanks

Thank you, it is most notable when writing blog posts.

When I was learning C I really appreciated cplusplus.com.

I am talking with a contributor right now on creating an on-going C/C++ project for learning purposes. If you have time (I know time is scarce for everyone!) and are interested, shoot me a private message.

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