Not all hackers, and not all hacks, are wicked. Many hacks add new features to your favorite programs, speed up your system, and juice your hardware. Hacks aren't  elegant--some of them are downright sloppy--but they work, and that's what matters.

Of course, that's not to say that all hacks are warm and fuzzy. Plenty of hackers out there are  just itching to crack the Pentagon, NASA, the New York Times, and maybe even your PC. Don't
sweat: we'll help you keep these malicious hackers at bay. 

We've collected 14 downloads that will let you join the hacking brigade. These clever tools delve behind the scenes of your system to squeeze more power out of your processor and your RAM, tweak your most oft-used programs, push your hardware to the limit, and keep hackers who've
joined the dark side from pawing your PC. 
By Brian Huber (9/30/99)

Keep Hackers at Bay
Not all hacks were made in heaven. We have all the tools you'll need to keep malicious hackers from getting their hooks into your PC.

Most hackers spend their time and energy finding cool shortcuts and workarounds that make our digital lives much easier. However, there are plenty of bad apples out there who are just dying to wreak havoc on your unsuspecting system. We've gathered a few programs to keep your newly tweaked PC safe from malicious hackers. 

Jammer (Jammersoft Corp.)
 Download for the PC!
NetBus and Back Orifice 2000 are two names guaranteed to strike fear into the hearts of network users. These so-called tools let scheming hackers gain access to, and take control of, remote computers. Before you head for the hills, though, give Jammer a try. Jammer scans and captures all incoming and outgoing Internet or intranet traffic, analyzing it for intruders. If it finds someone trying to hack your computer, Jammer will dump them from your system and send a customized note to the hacker's system administrator (we recommend something like, "Gotcha, sucka!"). The program detects TCP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol )scanning, wherein hackers send out thousands of data packets to find host machines that are receptive, and therefore vulnerable, to attack. Jammer also scans for most Trojan horses and network tools that can take over a PC, from NetBIOS and Legion to Ogre and the latest version of Back Orifice 2000. 

NetBus Detective (Mr.S. Production)
 Download for the PC!
The infamous NetBus tool lets a hacker do just about anything to your computer, from opening your CD drive to wiping your files or capturing your every keystroke. NetBus Detective lets you know if hackers are probing your PC with this invasive program. If the detective sniffs out any nefarious NetBus activity, it sends a customized message to the hacker before it unceremoniously drops the connection. NetBus Detective will also seek out and destroy any NetBus servers or Trojan horses on your PC that might act as a gateway for mischievous hackers, and it keeps a printable log of any and all hacking attempts. Finally, for that extra bit of security, you can password-protect NetBus Detective and direct it to sound an alarm whenever it senses trouble.

NoBackDoors (Technotel)
 Download for the PC!
Back doors make for nice additions to your house, but they're the last things you want installed on your computer, especially if it's a hacker who's doing the installation. With a back door in place on your PC, roving Net troublemakers can just stroll right in and wreak havoc--unless you have NoBackDoors. This clever security app searches for programs--such as Back Orifice 2000, AciD Shivers, and other colorfully named tools of the hacking trade--that create back doors. The instant an invasion is detected, NoBackDoors will alert you and promptly slam the back door in the hacker's face by killing their access. The program will also figure out what installed the back door in the first place, and will remove every last vestige of the unwelcome intrusion.

LockDown 2000 (Harbor Telco Security Corp.)
 Download for the PC!
Every time you log on to the Internet, there's a chance you could be hacked. Of course, you could avoid all security threats by never surfing the Web, but come on, how much fun would that be? A more practical solution is LockDown 2000, an airtight security program that lets you control access to your computer. LockDown 2000 lets you automatically decline access to all remote users, or restrict access to your friends and trusted neighbors. If you do allow other users to access your machine, LockDown 2000 will log each connection and record who is connecting, where they're coming from, and when they made the connection. To prevent illegal access by hackers, the program features background Trojan detection and removal. If a hacker is ever detected trying to gain unauthorized access, LockDown 2000 will quickly drop the connection and attempt to trace the intruder.


 Hack Into Windows
Windows ain't perfect. Crack the hood of your OS and tinker to your heart's content with these downloads.
We like Windows (well, more or less), but it never works exactly the way we want it to. After you install the OS, you'll probably want to change the desktop, fine-tune the dial-up settings, and maybe even delve into the dreaded Windows Registry for some hard-core tweaks. (learn more about hacking the Registry These downloads let you hack Windows to your heart's content.

Tweaki (JerMar Software)
Download for the PC!
Tired of those little arrows on your shortcut icons? Want to keep CDs from playing the second you slap them into the CD-ROM drive? Well, you could open RegEdit (a tool that lets you browse the Registry via its Windows Explorer-style interface) and start fiddling with your PC's fundamental settings. However, unless you're an expert, we suggest you don't mess with the Registry. Instead, play it safe with Tweaki, a simple tool that does all the dangerous hacking for you. Tweaki lets you access hundreds of system settings, giving you control over everything from the Windows interface and the Start menu to security settings and boot options. It also includes a Right-Click Wizard feature that lets you create your own right-click, context-sensitive menus for any file you choose. You can even use Tweaki to hack settings for Microsoft Office 97 and 2000. 

WindowBlinds (Stardock Systems Inc.)
Download for the PC!
Sure, tweaking the Registry and changing hidden settings can give you a fair amount of control over the look of your OS, but it can take you only so far. If you're looking for a way to give Windows a massive face-lift, look no further than WindowBlinds. This desktop enhancement allows you to alter the appearance of your desktop drastically, right down to window borders, check boxes, and buttons. You can even ditch the Windows look altogether by setting your desktop to look like an entirely different OS. Although WindowBlinds primarily relies on skins (tiny files that contain an entire set of cosmetic enhancements for your interface), it also gives you control over many individual settings, such as check boxes and toolbars. There's even a feature that automatically downloads the "Skin of the Week" from the WindowBlinds Web site.

WinRescue (Super Win Software)
Download for the PC!
It's every hacker's worst nightmare: you've just been tweaking Windows or hacking the Registry when bam! Your precious PC no longer boots. There's always some danger involved in making drastic changes to your operating system, but WinRescue will help minimize the risk. This lifesaving utility backs up the Windows Registry--along with a variety of other important system files--before you start tweaking. Once you've created an archive of the Registry and other critical files, WinRescue will compress it to save valuable disk space; meanwhile, the program's handy backup manager makes it easy to track your various backup sets. WinRescue also creates a special boot disk for dire emergencies, and includes a special DOS version for those rare instances when Windows simply refuses to boot, even in Safe mode.

Windows Registry Guide (
Download for the PC!
Hacking directly into the user-unfriendly Windows Registry isn't for the faint of heart; one wrong step could lead to disaster. However, if you insist upon journeying into the heart of Registry darkness, make sure you bring this essential guide along with you. The Windows Registry Guide reveals where many settings are located in the Windows 95, 98, and NT Registries, and how to change them. Although it is not a comprehensive guide, it does give you enough information to hack many valuable networking, desktop, and performance settings. The Windows Registry Guide even includes several tips and tricks that let you completely bypass the dangerous task of editing your Registry. 


 The Windows Registry stores system configuration details so that Windows looks and behaves just as you want it to. The Registry stores user profile information such as wallpaper, color schemes, and desktop arrangements in a file called user.dat. And it stores hardware- and software-specific details, such as device management and file extension associations, in a file called system.dat. In many ways, the Registry (Windows 95 and later) replaces functions of win.ini and system.ini from earlier versions of Windows, though these files persist because so many Windows applications refer to them. 

Registry details can be edited using a program called RegEdit (which ships with Windows 95 and later, Just Type 'regedit' in a RUN) and exported to text format as a file with the extension REG.

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