COROLLARY THEOREMS: "reality is never what it appears to be."

One day I was asked by the interviewer: "Suppose I take you to a PC machine running Unix, and I shut it down. How long will it take you to get into that system without a logon and password?" That gentleman was very nice, and he considered I was a Guru in programming. He was expecting an answer specifying a relatively short period of time, and he appeared to be just ready to take me to a trial. I suspect my answer was rather blunt; I said, "Without a logon and a password, I cannot get into a Unix system, Sir."

My interviewer was disappointed, and I remember I thought at that moment the man had seen too many bad programming movies. However, that person was a Manager in a hardware, firmware, and software development company, same as--I guess--thousands and thousands others. People know so little about programming, and most of them believe what they see in movies.

For example, I am referring here at a movie with John Travolta having a strange name, "Swordfish" or something--I never remember the names of trivial things. Anyway, the scene of particular interest was, John Travolta was a bad guy, and he grabbed a computer hacker, then he asked him to break an encryption code of 256 bits, or something, in one or two minutes. It came out the hacker did it, and in terribly "harsh" conditions!

That scene was incredibly vulgar, illogic, and it revealed in fact just gross stupidity. The "encryption code" proved to be just a lousy password: one that only a maximum grade 5 child was capable of setting. As for the 256 bits encryption, the script-writer had no idea what he was writing about. Unfortunately, way too many people also have no idea what encryption means, and I am certain they found the mentioned scene as being "incredibly intelligent" and "something"!


RED LEAFLet's consider this case of breaking into a Unix system without a logon and password. If we lived for 1000 years, we could get into a UNIX (or a PC) system, after working continuously, night and day, and being helped by a lot of luck--we, or anybody else. If we write a program to do the work for us, in case of a good logon and password, it would take that application a few tens of years of continuous work. Please note: this refers only to a logon and password. We know little Unix Shells Scripting, and one of the first scripts a programmer implements is to allow for maximum 3 failed logins. Next, the attempting hacker is kicked out the system, and he has to waste a lot of time reentering.

Any hacker knows it is impossible to break a decent logon and password; therefore, the only methods they implement for "breaking in" are the old, simple, fooling tricks--those used by the thieves for thousands of years.

The mentioned methods are based on stimulating strong emotions in order to hide/dissimulate their actions; others deal with the "substitution" techniques. What they do is, they send you a fake email saying, something bad happened to your account at, for example, CityBankX. Next, they insert a link leading to a page looking exactly like the real CityBankX one. You could be fool enough to enter there your CityBankX login and password, and that is how they get it. In conclusion, never follow any links in emails; close them, and then navigate to the mentioned site by yourself, and see if there is anything wrong with your account or not.

GREEN LEAF LThe above example is just one particular case, but there are thousands other possible scenarios. There is a lot of documentation on the Internet about the most common hacking techniques, and we do encourage all visitors to study them because a lot of people become victims following simple and stupid tricks as is the one described above. Fact is, the Internet is a free-for-all jungle; regardless of how many firewalls, antispyware, and virus-checks you have, there are always all sort of "routines" capable of tracing your moves/clicks. The only reliable weapons you have are your login and, mostly, your password. Be very careful with them, and rest assured that no decent company will ever ask you to "change", to "update", or even to "identify" yourself using your password, except for the true login pages.

EnigmaNow, coming back to encryption, this thing started exciting people's imagination since the Second World War, more precise since the Enigma story--the German encryption machine. It happened the Polish Intelligence managed to break the Enigma encryption code since 1939 (or close), but the US and British Intelligence were so intelligent that they did not believe them.

Consequently, the US and British Intelligence worked very, very hard together, for a few years, on planning an "intelligent" trap to capture an Enigma machine from the Germans. Well, true intelligence wasn't much appreciated in those days either. Anyway, they did manage to capture that electro-mechanical machine in 1943, or something, and the result was thousands of lives saved--a little bit late, but "good intelligence job" nevertheless.

Enigma used a primitive encryption code equivalent to--just an estimation--a 16 bits encryption code, yet it proved to be almost unbreakable at that time. The point to note is, the 64 bits encryption code we use today is practically unbreakable; a 125 bits it is totally out of discussion; as for a 256 bits encryption code, you have to be truly brain-dead to consider a human person could break it in less than a few good tens of thousand years. However, if you do have clues, that is possible regardless of the level of encryption used; sometimes those clues do exist.

The "true hackers" are never known, officially. They are your PC/MAC/LINUX OS developers, plus a few Governmental agencies, plus a few private [secret investigations] companies. Each PC machine ever produced has a unique ID code, and that ID is inserted in all files a PC machine produces/opens. While you navigate on the Internet, your unique ID code is recorded on each router/server/gateway. Practically, there is no way you could hide, using today's technology, because it was specifically designed that way. The fact that we do have (ordinary) hackers, email spam, pornography, copyright infringements, and the rest of miseries is only due to the fact the "legislators" allow that to happen.

The "encryption codes" used on our PCs do not matter [they do not exist] for those "true hackers" because your own PC decrypts the messages automatically for them. There is absolutely no way to prevent, say, certain Microchip professionals to decrypt/read/download your entire hard drive if they want to. The only way you could have a good encryption system is if you build it yourself. Note that our book Learn Hardware Firmware and Software Design teaches you the very first steps--the most important ones!

By the way; it is common the idea that wireless phone (or wireless Internet) conversations cannot be tracked/tapped into. Ha! You wish. There is absolutely no such thing as "privacy" using any of the available technologies on the market. The only way you could achieve some privacy is if you design/build the encryption systems/codes yourself in the meaning of the message.

In 2013 NASA specialists have discovered that Windows OS came with a few "extra-keys" which allowed a hacker to take control over any PC machine, without leaving any traces! Truth is, very many professionals knew about those "secret keys" for a very long time. Anyway, the mentioned "keys" have been left into the Windows OS since the 286/386 processors--therefore, before Windows 95.

GREEN LEAF RHowever, the funny thing was that Mr. Brian LaMachia, the Head of the API Department at Microsoft, knew only about two of such keys--in 2013 they discovered there were, in fact, 3 keys running wild! However, some HFS developers know as a true fact that there are way more Windows "secret keys" on the loose.

It happened that after Windows XP was released [the best OS ever produced by Microsoft] the MS Management decided to layoff most of the "old echelon", so that the company would not have to pay too many retirement pensions--they are so greedy! However, the old-guys left Microsoft with their own "retirement options", so . . .


In MERCY it says, the Enlightened Emperor had left a treasure to the Zelhane Ladies. The message was encrypted using a sequence of the Ladies' particular genetic code, but you should note the message had in fact 2 parts.

The first one used a genetic code sequence common to all people living in the Lioth System, and it was intentionally added there in order to help Noiolla, the artificial intelligence, to identify and narrow the encryption method used. The bulk of the message used the Zelhane Ladies genetic code sequence, and that was indeed very difficult to decipher.

Note that Noiolla was incredibly intelligent, since she was a technological product generated by a Civilization about 10 000 years ahead of our actual technological level. Even so, Noiolla had to obtain Zelhane Ladies' genetic code sequence in order to perform her job in due time.



MERCY is a nice, decent, instructive book, and we are certain it will incite your imagination towards further intelligent, constructive developments. In our World today, full of senseless violence, absurd lies, endless greed, hate, and so much stupidity, MERCY is just a shower of clean, fresh, pure water in the desert . . .


First published on November 17, 2005
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