General security

Lifehacking – What It Really Is

July 26, 2012 by Adrian Stolarski

Two things made me write this article. The first was a conversation with a friend of mine, Luigi (Thanks Luigi!) The second was a conversation I had with a woman last night. She disagreed with the idea that a person’s entire life can be invaded and called me crazy. When the phenomenon I’m discussing takes place on a large scale, I call it “lifehacking” (a phrase linguists will appreciate).

Completely by accident I found the website for InfoSec Institute. And what is it? A resource for people who read and think like me. We all want to share knowledge, and it is beautiful thing.

Imagine that you bought a plane ticket and want to fly business class but have not printed your boarding pass. Or you bought a laptop and want to slightly improve its functionality. Or you’re a fanatic gamer and want to know how to transport your favorite games on a pendrive. Or you have a phone and want to have two or more cards from different GSM operators. These are the types of problems that lifehacking can alleviate. Lifehacking is a way to facilitate life through the cleverness, intelligence, and ability. And if you have access to the Internet, you can share your skills with others. Is it not wonderful?

But we all know that computer skills are important. Lifehacking techniques, such as writing (or improving) programs, finding loopholes, patching errors, and creating shortcuts will save you time and money.

The greatest achievements in this field are due to Steve Jobs and Apple. The primary issues which spawned lifehacking arose when the iPods first hit the market and people had to figure out how to make Windows and Linux to read an iPod? How to install an iPod with mp3 and video without using iTunes? How can it be improved? These questions all led to the development of lifehacking.

Then it all snowballed into a large movement. After all, we are a blogging society, and we write often. We provide answers and discuss things. Bloggers are people who often spread our knowledge of the world. And remember the old “how-to” columns? And hack-faq? After all, these can also be classified as facilitating lifehacking.

“Unix is not an operating system, Unix is a lifestyle.”

Img1. The Unix Philosophy

How true is this statement? Who of us cannot imagine life without the console? Do you know how to install some GSM modems? Imagine a situation where you need to write drivers from scratch, because otherwise the modem will not work.

The whole idea of GNU is beautiful. We get the software in source code form, and we can then tweak the code to meet our needs.

The Unix shell itself teaches basic programming languages and paradigms. Bash shell itself is a great tool for learning the basics of scripting languages. The knowledge acquired here will come in handy later when using PHP, Perl, and Python.

Funny Side of Life, or How to be a Good Geek.

Go to The thematic diversity here might give you a headache, as readers will learn everything from how to get rid of burned pixels on the matrix laptop to how to fix a broken chair. The service offers not only dry information, but also video. As a proponent of installing Linux or Unix everywhere, I even found a description of how to install Linux on my iPod.

Img2. screenshot

Do not be afraid, Lifehacker not yet gathered the information and brilliant recipes for every aspect of life. In addition to funny things like these chairs, there is a real treasure here with regard to sections dealing with software and computers. We will learn how to install web servers and file servers; and additionally we can learn a little about PHP, JSP, and ASP. Strangely this website has received positive reviews in traditional media such as the Wall Street Journal and Time.

Img3. Screenshot

There is another website dedicated to lifehacking. does not focus on the virtual side of life. Information and ideas are collected here that are unavailable by other means – for example, a detailed description of the items often missed during airline check-in. Waiting in line is never pleasant, so it’s best to get the job done fast and fun celebrate by flying business class. The even provides a series of tips on how to cook, clean up, and how to find love. Here is one of the oddest ironies of lifehacking – the more popular it becomes, the stranger the advice appears to be.

The Dark Side of Power

There are two sides to hacking: light and dark. You need to decide which side you want to follow. Poor minds are often confused. The dark side is tempting and called static cracking, because when you walk the dark path you look for secret passwords and focus on accessing hard disk drives so you can destroy your enemies.

The dark side, however, has a downside. The police will chase you, and one day you’ll wind up in a cell without the use of any electronic devices what so ever.

The light path is most famously advocated by the masters at MIT. The light path consists of analyzing code amendments, writing, and creating new programs for analyzing security.

Dark side hackers beware. As Yoda warns young Skywalker, “Anger, fear, aggression … the dark side they are. “


Everyone sometimes feels tempted. We all have enough professional skills to earn really big money. Why bother performing penetration tests when you can earn in a few days of hacking what you would otherwise make in a year? Why fight a never-ending battle against everything and everyone?

An example of this phenomenon is related to the attacks of the group known as “Anonymous.” I personally think that a lot of the hype around Anonymous has been overblown. Remember the serious threats posed by Anonymous regarding global dimming? On March 31, 2012, Anonymous scared the entire Internet by threatening a major attack on DNS root servers. And yet nothing happened. So you cannot take their threats too seriously.

In fact, the real problem for governments and private organizations are the Black Hats. Not only do they have above-average skills in the use of information systems, they use them for illegal purposes. They are quite well equipped and offer to rent out their skills to the competition for an excellent price.

Another threat that is much more serious is cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. As we all know, you do not need a large amount of resources to conduct warfare in cyberspace. Just a few network engineers, several operators, and a target. Consider the success of the Anonymous group attacks.

There is also a bright side to the dark side: penetration tests. An ethical hacker is a programmer who – according to law and to the company – breaks into an IT system in order to discover potential weaknesses, so these weaknesses can be subsequently removed. Penetration tests are the basic process used to practically assess the current state of a system security. In particular penetration tests focus on the presence of susceptibility and resistance to known attacks. Penetration tests also confirm the lack of flexibility in a system and the effectiveness of the safeguards in the implementation of production. In contrast, safety audits using a formalized methodology can’t really be carried out because of the rapidly changing state of the art (i.e., new exploits). The effectiveness of penetration test depends on the competence and knowledge of the testing team.

Presume – The Future of Consumer

Technology is a part of our lives. It seems that soon will not be able to do without it at all. Yet the market changes very rapidly, so it is worth considering what awaits us in the near future. We’re slowly creating a new type of economy in which both businesses and consumers will demand a new dimension of products.

The consumer in the twenty-first century is brave, aware of themselves and their needs, interested in news, and demanding. In contrast to the consumers of the old era, this new type of consumer is based on the technology. At one study conducted by an American University concluded that:

  • 97% of young people have a computer
  • 97% at least once a downloaded movie or music from P2P networks
  • 94% have mobile phones
  • 76% use instant messaging and social networking
  • 60% have a music player, mp3 or mp4
  • 49% of the daily download films and music from the web
  • 28% of the authors of blogs and 44% read blogs regularly

In fact, the young generation is not burdened by history; this new generation is born with a laptop and mobile phone in hand, and has constant access to information. This translates into a much better understanding of trends and brands. Most companies are now moving from a monologue to an informed dialogue with consumers. In addition, the consumer is starting to show the same initiative.

Img4., the prosumer portal.

This is why companies cannot afford to mass produce their products and flood the market anymore. A company wishing to maintain its position as a market leader has to both quickly adapt to trends, and be able to set their own trends in the economy. In addition, the lifetime of a product has been drastically shortened, which means companies have less time to create and innovate market solutions. This brings us to the point. Traditionally, decisions about the shape of a new product were developed by a board designer. Luckily the producers themselves noticed, however, that is most effective to ask consumers about their needs and to then observe their behavior before creating the new product. And so the consumer has become a kind of producer—a “prosumer”. The field on which this cooperation takes place has become the Internet because the flow of information, knowledge, and capital is free and fast.

Prosumer and Lifehacking

Hacking allows consumers to modify the products purchased in order to meet desired improvements and adaptations. Just as in computer hacking – hacking the products takes place without the knowledge or consent of the brand. At least at first. Then depending on what the brand thinks of a particular idea, a brand will often facilitate those desired changes in the next edition of the product.

Crowd-sourcing means to derive knowledge, ideas, and inspiration “from the crowd.” In contrast to marketers, consumers often know best what they really need. Offering them the opportunity to comment on the product used (or the product they would like to use) guarantees a fresh perspective on the issue, and thus offers the possibility of improvements that will meet the needs of the target group. Another trend is called: collective intelligence. This time the adage “two heads are better than one” takes on a whole new dimension. Thanks to the Internet and global communication, many companies can find and obtain ideas from experts around the world. Solutions to a specific problem become easier to find because of the involvement of an unprecedented number of people. In this case, we can even talk about the “market of ideas.”

What then waits for us in the future? When we look at the abundance and dynamics of changes already taking place in a world so familiar to us, it is worth considering what awaits us in the near future. . Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams offer one of the possible approximations of what we can expect. In their view, it is thanks to the telecommunications revolution, the spread of the Internet and the development of technology that we are dealing with a new economic model: the wikinomy. The wikinomy is present in virtually every area of the world economy. Wikinomy is based on the following principles: openness – the use of ideas and intellectual potential available outside the company, the partnership; the functioning of the flexible organizational structures, or even farmers to set up communities in order to create a product or service sharing; sharing the tools, knowledge, resources or information, resulting in increased productivity and more effectively achieve the stated objectives; a global action – the use of technology and human capital of the world.


As you can see, we’re on the cusp of the merger of two worlds, the real and the virtual. Created portals, such as Lifehacking (or the brilliant kickstarter) are important because, in addition to facilitating projects and technological innovations closely, you’ll find news about events and projects right next to us. Let’s hope that the trend of lifehacking will continue for a long time, and that eventually people will stop to see hackers as dangerous criminals.

Posted: July 26, 2012
Adrian Stolarski
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Adrian Stolarski is a freelance security tech blogger, specializing in Java, PHP, and JQuery. In his own words, he does the hard work of training the unemployed. Currently, he handles Evaluation Visualization for real-time systems with XWT and Eclipse RAP. If he sees that something works, he asks how it works and why it works, then sets out to make it work better. A researcher for InfoSec Institute, he currently lives in Poland, but plans to move to London.