Don't get excited, this is not a "how to". That I covered in my book, Playing God . If you are like me, you grew up with computers. My mother worked for the defense department and, as a very young kid, I remember playing with stacks of punch cards. Looking back, I could have been cutting up any number of cool 1960's era DOD projects. My mother said she could tell me what they were but then she'd have to kill me. This may help explain a lot of my issues.
I learned my first programming using "basic" coded onto a cassette tape. Remember those? No? Alright then, forget it- you are obviously much younger than me so don't rub it in.
Then high school happened, and girls happened, and rock and roll happened and suddenly it was desperately more important to wail away on an electric guitar like Eddie Van Halen than it was to continue playing with computers. Then, the eighties happened and suddenly tall thin heavy metal musicians with long dark curly hair were way too popular for their own good. Enough said about my experiences during the eighties, call it the trauma that caused my arrested development as a hacker.
I returned to computers in the 90's just when things were getting interesting and, among other things, I became a script kidde. (remember when token rings seemed like a good idea?) I had an IBM xt and a Mac IIsi and in-between teaching myself HTML and catching up with programming, I broke into things. Yeah, ok - it took me longer to mature than most.
The safest thing to try newly acquired hacker skills on was porn sites. (Yes Virginia, they really are as old as the internet.) So... I did. The cops were still writing reports on electric typewriters using two fingers, so it was a safe bet they weren't in a rush to chase blossoming cyber criminals, especially when it was a porn site that lodged the complaint. So, if you made a mistake, or did something stupid you would live to hack another day..
But that is where my interest in security began. After all, if I could break in, somebody must need me to teach them how to properly lock the door. I reformed my ways and left the dark side. However, like a reformed alcoholic, the lure is always there. The dark side always beckons.
I think that is what made writing the sequence where my main character breaks in and defaces a modern porn site so much fun. I got to be a script kidde again and grab the low hanging fruit.
And low hanging fruit was all my editor left me after she heartlessly ripped out all the really complex stuff. Keep it simple stupid, this is not a textbook is what she said. She was probably right, but it was fun writing it anyway.