Last week I caught up with DerEngel, the uber cable modem hacker, in his home in Hong Kong. He has just published his first book, Hacking the Cable Modem, and we had an opportunity to talk about the book as well as his life work, hacking cable modems. DerEngel (his nom de hacking) has turned a hacking hobby into a career. According to his statements he supports himself with proceeds from his web presence. Being the nexus of an interest group (cable modem hackers in this case) is one way to “do what you love”. If you need components for a cable modem or flash ROM upgrades his site it the place to get them.
The book is concise and detailed. There are sections on the physical components and how to get at them without destroying the case or the components. There is probably the most lucid and short description I have read of how buffer overflows work. And there are explicit instructions on how to change speed settings and port controls.
A word about ethics here. DerEngel explicitly states that he does not condone stealing bandwidth from cable providers and I give him credit for that. His arguments that sys admins need to know how to configure cable modems to effectively manage their Internet connectivity has some merit. I would suggest that the most valuable contribution DerEngel has made to the world of security is to create a manual that the cable operators and cable modem manufacturers can use to harden their devices against malicious attacks.
In the podcast DerEngle expresses doubt that cable modem manufactureres will even read his book but I beg to differ!
"Hacking Cable Modems" is available at my aStore on Amazon.
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