02 December 1998
Surreal5's Introduction and First lesson
Surreal5's Second lesson
Surreal5's examples from my own last search lesson
Surreal5's snippets of information
The continued irc experience.
Pro's and con's from a searching standpoint
Surreal5 's Search tips, courtesy of Reverser's pages of reverse engineering. I've tried to organise this (provisorial) essay so, that both beginners and advanced users can get something out of each lesson, and can almost directly use it. Even if you are already an expert on how to find the example types i used, you may get something out of it, a different perspective, something you hadn't thought of. I like Robin Hoods tutorial, he has a broader experience than i do, but i feel my lessons give faster results, with less effort spent on learning boolean ,and other tool specifics. Consider this a crash course if you will. Consider it a preliminary to Robin Hoods tutorial. Consider it an alternative view from a lazy guy who wants results fast ;) surreal5 Introduction. I'm no hacker, i'm no cracker, i don't need to be, i know how to locate and manage the combined sum of knowledge and resources people (including hackers and crackers) have put on the web, deciding wether it's worth trying to understand or having to learn how they did it, or just use whatever they have put online for my leeching. ;) The point is i can find, or learn, anything i want, whenever i feel i should need it. I've been online for about 16 months at this point,so i may not be one of the best searchers around, but i do feel i'm good enough to teach others. ;) I'm one of the few people who does not know the URL's of his own webpages. I do not need to remember, i know the keywords i entered. If i need a page on Reverser's site, i know he updates to Exite, and use the view by url function. It's only two clicks instead of the three or four on reverser's site you need to go trough. Sites that are navigation hell, and contain a lot of info that i need often, i add/update the url to a search engine, and navigate from the engine. If you want to get the information you need from the web, you should have your personal toolbar folder full of search tools. Your bookmark file should be as empty and as managed as possible. There's a point when you find the page you need faster with a search engine, than going through your huge and messy bookmarks file. Make a temp folder for pages you need to visit later that day or something, and empty that folder every so often. There's a lot of discussion about which search engine is the best. I'm not going into that, you need a lot of search engines, and some are better for some types of searches than others. I use Infoseek as standard, you should by all means keep on using yours. Use the others if you don't find what you need, and you will soon find out which is the best engine to put under that home button, for the type of search you use most. A lot of search engines have very specific users. You'll find a lot more kiddie crack archive pages on say alta vista, than on other search engines, but you may also find some doom clan page instead, from the kid who got scared, replaced his page,. but didn't update his keywords or his url to the engine. You'll find more mama's and papa's on exite. And you'll find more business and science pages on infoseek. Forget yahoo completely, it's the internet equivalent of a tv remote control zapper, not a program guide. Deciding wether you will use any search engine should include: how well you can use it already, how good it is as a search engine (what functions/filters does it have?), but also what is the amount of relevant content added to the engine... Make your standard search engine your startup page, or at least #1 on your personal toolbar folder, and add at least two others to your personal toolbar folder, the others should have functions that your standard engine doesn't have, or different percentages of content. Always add deja news and ftp search there as well, or put them in a top dir in your bookmark file, for easy access. ready ? ------------------------------------------------------- Lesson 1: finding a crack/serial. Finding a crack or serial is probably one of the most common searches ;). Many people can find cracks, yet many people have trouble finding that one crack they're looking for. Note that an experienced searcher has no use for saving cracks or serials, or maintaining lists with serials. Getting the serial/crack again from the web when you need to re-install, should eventually be a lot faster and easier than wading through your harddrive/cd-R's/zips crack name files, or even faster than going through your huge dbase with outdated serials. (and maybe having to sort it). (save 'em for now though ;) ) step 1: targeting. Defining the type of program should influence your search strategy for the crack or serial. It may all seem like a lot to do now, but it will come naturally in time, involving miliseconds instead of minutes. a) is it a popular program ? b) how old is the program ? c) does it have any previous versions ? - if it's a popular program that doesn't have many versions, -> step 2 - if the program has many previous versions, your search could be more effective/faster with a search engine that includes a date filter. -> step 3 if the program is very popular AND has many previous versions -> step 4 - if the program is not popular or very specific, very new or elusive -> step 5 Step 2: the two keywords approach. with infoseek: a) search field:
b) glance at nr of hits, too few ? then you're back to step 1. c) search field: serial [ or crack or serial OR crack] (tag search these results only) d) analyze hits with your preferred search engine: a) search field: AND serial Analyzing hits takes experience, speed is the most important in this step, so ignore all headers/descriptions that are too obvious, ("WAREZ WAREZ WAREZ!!!") anything that says "FREE" and anything that includes "XXX". They're 90% smut site hit gatherers. Go for the hits that show other program names and serials, or "ABCDEFG...etc" in the descriptions first. Remember speed is the most important in this step, if there are many hits, your crack/serial is on many many pages, so don't wait for slow pages to load, they could be dead, don't bother with heavy pages or frames. just hit the next one that catches your interest. Step 3: the date filter approach. Your program has too many versions and you run into old expired serials, and cracks that no longer work on the new version. If your program is really popular, skip and go straight to step 4. It's time to use an engine with a date filter, i'll use altavista advanced query as an example. a) search field: AND serial b) from field: If your program has many previous versions, set the date to any time when you think the crack you need was released and minimum 2 or 3 days ago, since that's usually how long it takes for the url to be indexed. It will eliminate most dead links, though i prefer not to use it as a standard for this reason, because you usually end up with more smutsite (who update more often) noise, in a date filtered search, than with dead hits in a standard two keywords search. Also Altavista sorts oldest hits first. and you end up spending too much time on doing new searches with new dates, it's often easier and faster just to click your way through noise... C) analyze hits (see step 2). With the exception that speed becomes slighlty less of a priority. Step 4: The search as a phrase option. Your search still generates too much noise, your proggie is too popular... It's time to go back to your own search engine. a) search field: " Vx.x" AND serial. experiment with placing/ not placing a space between the program name and version #. , and leaving the "V" out. b) analyze hits. or with infoseek: a) search field: " Vx.x" b) search field: serial (tag search only in these results) d) analyze results. Step 5: re-targeting your crack is elusive, because the program is... a) too new -> step 6 b) too specific, not popular enough -> step 7 c) too old ! ->. step 7, -> C Step 6: the usenet approach. go to deja news and enter in the search field: (leave the rest default). crack ^ or ^ crack repeat with serial as nessecary This will result in a lot of hits from posts by people requesting a crack. Check the RE: headers first, hit the view thread button, you may find the name of the crack. if you do... enter that name in your search engine ... duh :) If you don't, or do get the name, but don't find the crack, start up your news reader, subscribe to all crack groups and make a general filter autoselecting all possible keywords. It may take you a few days or weeks, but if a crack exists it will eventually show up. Don't post a request ,a searcher never begs, he watches others, and intercepts. ;) keep monitoring the groups, and combine with seaching the web with step 3 - the date filter approach. Or go to lesson 2, and use the warez/mp3's/passwords strategy on your new crack search. Step 7: the puzzle approach. Your program is very specific. this is the most difficult type of crack/serial to find, and it could be worthwile learning how to crack for ;). With this type of search, signal and speed are no longer priorities, and every dead link, or noise link, may hold a valuable clue. There isn't really one place you should look first anymore. Your clue to succes could be anywhere. Still, my favourite is... A) dejanews filtered search. -Add in the groups field: *crack*, *2600* etc etc -specify nothing else. -hit create filter. enter in the search field: Again it's likely only requests will show up. view the threads, sift through the replies. note the request headers and do a searches or make a filters on them, and repeat. B) Brute force search: Do a search on meta crawler (be prepared for lots of noise) or try all popular search engines, try some noise, try the dead links that had the keywords right, try to figure out the id of the page owner. try a parent dir, examine the description in your search engine, and do a search on page titles, handles, keywords etc... C) search for program fan pages. Search for: "the unofficial homepage" , fanpages, etc etc one of them may actually have the crack or serial you need, especially for old programs this is often the case. go back and repeat in different order, some clues found with one strategy, may shed new light on the search, .....have fun ;) surreal5.