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From: research at (Bugtraq Security Systems)
Subject: ron1n phone home, episode 2

Dear list,

We present to you the second installment of our introductionary series    
into the exciting world of Mostly Harmless Hacking. Hacking from Windows 95.    
Please note that our next generation team of researchers is available for 
workshop sessions and any other training requirements you might have. 
For further information on pricing and availability please contact, so you too can implement these advances in information 
security within your own corporate infrastructure.

News: we will be releasing the long awaited follow up to one of the
greatest exploits of all times at Defcon 2004. In light of StatdX's
4 year anniversary come August, you will be given a chance to see the
next generation in statd exploitation in action in the form of

With regards,
Team Bugtraq Security

-------------- next part --------------



Beginners' Series #2, Section One.

Hacking from Windows 95! 

Important warning: this is a beginners lesson. BEGINNERS. Will all you super
k-rad elite haxors out there just skip reading this one, instead reading it
and feeling all insulted at how easy it is and then emailing me to bleat
"This GTMHH iz 2 ezy your ****** up,wee hate u!!!&$%" Go study something
that seriously challenges your intellect such as "Unix for Dummies," OK?

Have you ever seen what happens when someone with an America Online account
posts to a hacker news group, email list, or IRC chat session? It gives you
a true understanding of what "flame" means, right?

Now you might think that making fun of is just some
prejudice. Sort of like how managers in big corporations don't wear
dreadlocks and fraternity boys don't drive Yugos.

But the real reason serious hackers would never use AOL is that it doesn't
offer Unix shell accounts for its users. AOL fears Unix because it is the
most fabulous, exciting, powerful, hacker-friendly operating system in the
Solar system... gotta calm down ... anyhow, I'd feel crippled without Unix.
So AOL figures offering Unix shell accounts to its users is begging to get

Unfortunately, this attitude is spreading. Every day more ISPs are deciding
to stop offering shell accounts to their users. 

But if you don't have a Unix shell account, you can still hack. All you need
is a computer that runs Windows 95 and just some really retarded on-line
account like America Online or Compuserve.

In this Beginner's Series #2 we cover several fun things to do with Windows
and even the most hacker-hostile Online services. And, remember, all these
things are really easy. You don't need to be a genius. You don't need to be
a computer scientist. You don't need to won an expensive computer. These are
things anyone with Windows 95 can do.

Section One: Customize your Windows 95 visuals. Set up your startup,
background and logoff  screens so as to amaze and befuddle your non-hacker

Section Two: Subvert Windows nanny programs such as Surfwatch and the setups
many schools use in the hope of keeping kids from using unauthorized
programs. Prove to yourself -- and your friends and coworkers -- that
Windows 95 passwords are a joke.

Section Three: Explore other computers -- OK, let's be blatant -- hack --
from your Windows home computer using even just AOL for Internet access.


OK, let's say you are hosting a wild party in your home. You decide to show
your buddies that you are one of those dread hacker d00dz. So you fire up
your computer and what should come up on your screen but the logo for
"Windows 95." It's kind of lame looking, isn't it? Your computer looks just
like everyone else's box. Just like some boring corporate workstation
operated by some guy with an IQ in the 80s.

Now if you are a serious hacker you would be booting up Linux or FreeBSD or
some other kind of Unix on your personal computer. But your friends don't
know that. So you have an opportunity to social engineer them into thinking
you are fabulously elite by just by customizing your bootup screen.

Now let's say you want to boot up with a black screen with orange and yellow
flames and the slogan " K-Rad Doomsters of the Apocalypse." This turns out
to be super easy.

Now Microsoft wants you to advertise their operating system every time you
boot up. In fact, they want this so badly that they have gone to court to
try to force computer retailers to keep the Micro$oft bootup screen on the
systems these vendors sell. 

So Microsoft certainly doesn't want you messing with their bootup screen,
either. So M$ has tried to hide the bootup screen software. But they didn't
hide it very well. We're going to learn today how to totally thwart their plans.

Evil Genius tip: One of the rewarding things about hacking is to find hidden
files that try to keep you from modifying them -- and then to mess with them
anyhow. That's what we're doing today.

The Win95 bootup graphics is hidden in a file named c:\logo.sys. To see this
file, open File Manager, click "view", then click "by file type," then check
the box for "show hidden/system files." Then, back on "view," click "all
file details." To the right of the file logo.sys you will see the letters
"rhs." These mean this file is "read-only, hidden, system." 

The reason this innocuous graphics file is labeled as a system file -- when
it really is just a graphics file -- is because Microsoft is afraid you'll
change it to read something like "Welcome to Windoze 95 -- Breakfast of
Lusers!" So by making it a read-only file, and hiding it, and calling it a
system file as if it were something so darn important it would destroy your
computer if you were to mess with it, Microsoft is trying to trick you into
leaving it alone.

Now here's the easy way to thwart Micro$oft and get the startup logo of your
choice. We start by finding the MSPaint program. It's probably under the
accessories folder. But just in case you're like me and keep on moving
things around, here's the fail-safe program finding routine:

1) Click "Start" on the lower left corner of your screen.
2) Click "Windows Explorer"
3) Click "Tools"
4) Click "Find"
5) Click "files or folders"
6) After "named" type in "MSPaint" 
7) After "Look in" type in 'C:"
8) Check the box that says "include subfolders"
9) Click "find now"
10) Double click on the icon of a paint bucket that turns up in a window.
This loads the paint program.
11) Within the paint program, click "file"
12) Click "open"

OK, now you have MSPaint. Now you have a super easy way to create your new
bootup screen:

13) After "file name" type in c:\windows\logos.sys. This brings up the
graphic you get when your computer is ready to shut down saying "It's now
safe to turn off your computer." This graphic has exactly the right format
to be used for your startup graphic. So you can play with it any way you
want (so long as you don't do anything on the Attributes screen under the
Images menu) and use it for your startup graphic.

14) Now we play with this picture. Just experiment with the controls of
MSPaint and try out fun stuff. 

15) When you decide you really like your picture (fill it with frightening
hacker stuph, right?), save it as c:\logo.sys. This will overwrite the
Windows startup logo file. From now on, any time you want to change your
startup logo, you will be able to both read and write the file logo.sys. 

16. If you want to change the shut down screens, they are easy to find and
modify using MSPaint. The beginning shutdown screen is named
c:\windows\logow.sys. As we saw above, the final  "It's now safe to turn off
your computer" screen graphic is named c:\windows\logos.sys. 

17. To make graphics that will be available for your wallpaper, name them
something like c:\windows\evilhaxor.bmp (substituting your filename for
"exilhaxor" -- unless you like to name your wallpaper "evilhaxor.")

Evil Genius tip: The Microsoft Windows 95 startup screen has an animated bar
at the bottom. But once you replace it with your own graphic, that animation
is gone. However, you can make your own animated startup screen using the
shareware program BMP Wizard. Some download sites for this goodie include:

Now the trouble with using one of the existing Win95 logo files is that they
only allow you to use their original colors. If you really want to go wild,
open MSPaint again. First click "Image," then click "attributes." Set width
320 and height to 400. Make sure under Units that Pels is selected. Now you
are free to use any color combination available in this program. Remember to
save the file as c:\logo.sys for your startup logo, or  c:\windows\logow.sys
and or c:\windows\logos.sys for your shutdown screens.

But if you want some really fabulous stuff for your starting screen, you can
steal graphics from your favorite hacker page on the Web and import them
into Win95's startup and shutdown screens. Here's how you do it.

1) Wow, kewl graphics! Stop your browsing on that Web page and hit the
"print screen" button.

2) Open MSPaint and set width to 320 and height to 400 with units Pels.

3) Click edit, then click paste. Bam, that image is now in your MSPaint program.

4) When you save it, make sure attributes are still 320X400 Pels. Name it
c:\logo.sys, c:\windows\logow.sys, c:\windows\logos.sys, or
c:\winodws\evilhaxor.bmp depending on which screen or wallpaper you want to
display it on.

Of course you can do the same thing by opening any graphics file you choose
in MSPaint or any other graphics program, so long as you save it with the
right file name in the right directory and size it 320X400 Pels.

Oh, no, stuffy Auntie Suzie is coming to visit and she wants to use my
computer to read her email!  I'll never hear the end of it if she sees my
K-Rad Doomsters of the Apocalypse startup screen!!!

Here's what you can do to get your boring Micro$oft startup logo back. Just
change the name of c:logo.sys to something innocuous that Aunt Suzie won't
see while snooping with file manager. Something like logo.bak. Guess what
happens? Those Microsoft guys figured we'd be doing things like this and hid
a copy of their boring bootup screen in a file named "io.sys." So if you
rename or delete their original logo.sys, and there is no file by that name
left, on bootup your computer displays their same old Windows 95 bootup screen.

Evil genius tip: Want to mess with io.sys or logo.sys? Here's how to get
into them. And, guess what, this is a great thing to learn in case you ever
need to break into a Windows computer -- something we'll look at in detail
in the next section.

Click "Start" then "Programs" then "MS-DOS." At the MS_DOS prompt enter the


Now they are totally at your mercy, muhahaha!

OK, that's it for now.  You 31337 hackers who are feeling insulted by
reading this because it was too easy, tough cookies. I warned you. But I'll
bet my box has a happier hacker logon graphic than yours does. K-Rad
Doomsters of the apocalypse, yesss!
Want to see back issues of Guide to (mostly) Harmless Hacking? See either or or
Subscribe to our email list by emailing to with
message "subscribe" or join our Hacker forum at
Chat with us on the Happy Hacker IRC channel. If your browser can use Java,
just direct your browser to, click on chat, and choose the
#hackers channel.
Want to share some kewl stuph with the Happy Hacker list? Correct mistakes?
Send your messages to  To send me confidential email
(please, no discussions of illegal activities) use
and be sure to state in your message that you want me to keep this
confidential. If you wish your message posted anonymously, please say so!
Direct flames to dev/ Happy hacking! 
Copyright 1997 Carolyn P. Meinel. You may forward  or post on your Web site
this GUIDE TO (mostly) HARMLESS HACKING as long as you leave this notice at
the end..
Carolyn Meinel
M/B Research -- The Technology Brokers

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