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View Full Version : How to hack a PC in the early 2000s -- need ideas



aruna
08-15-2016, 08:13 PM
OK my dear experts, I need some truly dirty skills here!
The scenario is this: a young Indian girl is captive in Madras, India.
Her big sister has a degree (from a famous Indian university) in IT and is currently doing an internship in Silicon Valley and knows all the latest tricks.
earlier she has taught her little sister how to email, and the little sister gets a chance to use the computer of her captors in order to contact her sister and so get help. This would be all be dial-up I assume.
I'm trying to think back to my own beginnings in email -- I began with CompuServe, and i think I had a number as ID? Or might it have been Yahoo back then?
I don't what details of how she did anything -- just need to know what kind of info the big sister might be able to find out, especially, could she read the captor's emails? Or would little sister have to send stuff from the computer storage to big sister, maybe lists of contacts etc.
She needs to do some detective work. It's a child prostitute ring she is trying to crack, though neither of them know it yet. Any suggestions? I do know how the story continues. it, the outcome, I just need some plausible tips on how the amateur detectives (two of them) succeed. Connecting the dots so to speak. And I know next to nothing about IT, and especially not what could be done back then, and what not.
Help would be much appreciated! I really need to crack this thing, no pun intended.

King Neptune
08-15-2016, 10:35 PM
By 2000 the internet was common, but I don't know how common it was in Madras. If your character could get from Compuserve's online space to the internet, then the character could do almost anything. I believe that Compuserve email did not require an additional sign-in, so it would have been possible to read the email of the account she was in. I don't know how connected Compuserve was to the internet, but AOL and Prodigy were fully integrated with the internet by then.

I never used Compuserve, but I knew about it, and I couldn't figure out why anyone used it after 1990. AOL and Prodigy were vastly superior, and both of those services were superior to what answered for the internet at that time (1990).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CompuServe

If they can access the email, then they might find whatever the gang is communicating among themselves. I believe the email was accessible as webmail from anywhere, if one had the id number and password, and if the younger got the password, then she could pass that on.

WeaselFire
08-16-2016, 06:48 AM
Compuserve had been bought by AOL in the early 2000's, so that's out. And early users did have a number. 71477,134 was mine. Later on you got named accounts or used your email address. Easiest hacks are people, not machines. Call the help desk and tell them you forgot your password. Look at the sticky note under the keyboard. Have them use Google email and simply chat with Google and ask how to reset your password. You wouldn't believe how many passwords were "password" or Passw0rd" in that era. Have a screen saver that opens with a mouse click and lets her in.

Pretty much, if it's just a minor issue, have them leave the email up while they run out of the room because something is on fire, there's a fight or a major football/soccer game going on.

Jeff

T Robinson
08-16-2016, 07:49 AM
Compuserve had been bought by AOL in the early 2000's, so that's out. And early users did have a number. 71477,134 was mine. Later on you got named accounts or used your email address. Easiest hacks are people, not machines. Call the help desk and tell them you forgot your password. Look at the sticky note under the keyboard. Have them use Google email and simply chat with Google and ask how to reset your password. You wouldn't believe how many passwords were "password" or Passw0rd" in that era. Have a screen saver that opens with a mouse click and lets her in.

Pretty much, if it's just a minor issue, have them leave the email up while they run out of the room because something is on fire, there's a fight or a major football/soccer game going on.

Jeff

This. It is sometimes called "social engineering," act like you know/belong and it is easier to gain information.

AW Admin
08-16-2016, 07:58 AM
By 2000 webbugs, tiny 1 pixel digital images, were being used in emails for tracking purposes.

https://w2.eff.org/Privacy/Marketing/web_bug.html

Most users were not password protecting their login to their local account.

Pretty common for people to login via the Web to hotmail or Yahoo and just leave the browser window up.

aruna
08-16-2016, 08:33 PM
Thanks to all -- got some ideas and will take the simple route of the kid finding a little black book of passwords.

AW Admin
08-16-2016, 08:42 PM
Especially back then people used the same password to login to everything.

Also IRC was still very common; even AOL used IRC for Chat.