"Lying in a featherbed will bring you no fame, nor staying beneath the quilt, and he who uses up his life without achieving fame leaves no more vestige of himself on Earth than smoke in the air or foam upon the water." -Dante Alighieri
Hack This Site is a free training ground for users to test and expand their hacking skills. Our community is dedicated
to facilitating an open learning environment by providing a series of hacking challenges, articles, resources, and
discussion of the latest happenings in hacker culture. We are an online movement of artists, activists, hackers and
anarchists who are organizing to create new worlds.
This guide is an introduction to the site, community, philosophy and project organization. This project is entirely
what you make of it. We encourage people to take an active role in the development of this community and to copy and
redistribute this guide on their own.
We believe everyone should have free access to all information. Hacking should not be a privileged skill - everyone
should have the opportunity to learn about computer security in the age of technology. We seek to facilitate a free
and open training ground where people can test and expand their skills in a legal and realistic environment.
Considering that several of the hacking challenges are simulated web defacements, the question of the ethics of
hacking is repeatedly brought up. We like to consider hacking itself to be a tool, a skill which in itself is neutral,
a means without end. It can be used for good (for the benefit of all) or bad (mindless
destruction or theft). We do not encourage negative use of the information we provide. We are more concerned
with the greater risks of not distributing this information and are ready to accept the consequences.
Unlike many wargame and security sites, HackThisSite is a community where all users can contribute and participate in
the development of the site. We are an open society that encourages active participation, and we
have set up a number of ways people can become involved. In addition, we have a very active IRC network, forums, and
an open publishing system where people can submit articles and external resources to the site. We are a friendly
atmosphere where we help people who ask intelligent questions. Join us and participate in very lively and passionate
debates about technology and worldly events. There is no social hierarchy; we are all equal.
HTS is what you make of it!
We wish to promote the use of hacking as a tool to fight for social justice causes. Hacking is justified if it is
used to combat oppression, censorship or inequality. While we do not encourage or participate in illegal activities,
we do want to present hacktivism as a positive alternative to mindless black hat hacking. Gain the skills and join the
struggle for freedom!
At the heart of the project lies the hacking challenges. We have dozens of simulated wargames that allow users to put
their skills to the test in a legal, realistic environment. There are several kinds of challenges each demonstrating
different types of skills.
These small challenges are straight forward and are designed to outline the fundamentals of a hacker's first steps in
Once basic hacking techniques are learned, it is time to test your knowledge in our "real
world" scenarios. These missions are complete websites with built-in security flaws and simulated objectives. You play
the role of a freelance hacker who is contracted by several individuals and organizations to hack for social justice
causes. You are given objectives and left to explore the site on your own, trying to discover and exploit the
vulnerabilities. The web hacking skills taught in this series of challenges can be directly applied to systems in the
Application (Reversing) Challenges
Requiring more operating system / programming specific skills, these missions test your ability to manipulate and
gather information from applications on your own machine.
Everyone has a need to hide something and often encryption is good enough for this purpose. In this case, however,
everyone knows you are hiding something. Hiding information in plain sight is much harder to do discretely. We start
you off on the basics and hope you can contribute your ideas back to us.
Extended Basic Challenges
Reading code is the simplest way to find exploits. We offer up some vulnerable code snippets that you then have to
exploit or patch.
Hack This Site!
Last, but not least, is we encourage you to literally hack this site! We encourage people to explore the
security of our site and we reward those who responsibly disclose their exploit with an entry into the HackThisSite
hall of fame.
If you are interested in becoming part of HTS, the first step is not to submit an application or directly ask us.
Try contributing to the project through a number of other ways - becoming active on IRC, writing articles, giving
lectures, contributing ideas, etc. Have something to offer to HTS, then declare your intention about being on staff.
Remember that you have to win the support of existing staff members and be voted in.
Hack This Site is not something that just happens. It is a continuously evolving project with many active users
working on many active projects.
It's more than just a website, but a movement made up of people just like you.
Hack This Site IRC
The best way of getting answers to general questions about the site, and the quickest way of getting involved with
irc.hackthissite.org port 7000 (non-ssl at 6667)
#hackthissite (general chat)
#help (challenges and other help)
#comdev (community based development discussion)
Hack This Site Forums: The best way of getting help with the hacking
challenges; also a hotbed for discussion.
We can't always respond, but we do read everything we are sent, so have your voices heard:
HTS staff: staff (at) hackthissite.org
IRC staff: irc (at) hackthissite.org
HackThisSite is is the collective work of the HackThisSite staff, licensed under a CC BY-NC license.
We ask that you inform us upon sharing or distributing.