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I have recently come across a new addiction for myself. It's called OverTheWire and it's part of a large network of sites that provide something called Wargames.

Let me explain.

On OverTheWire, there are more than 10 sets of wargames that you can play. I first played a game called Bandit. The instructions are that you are meant to access a server — setup by OverTheWire — using ssh and a provided username and password, and then gain access to the next user. The users are named like such: bandit0, bandit1, etc.. so the goal is pretty clear. Some of the levels have instructions attached. Otherwise, all you have is bash commands and creative thinking at your disposal.

Therea are 27 levels in total for Bandit. It was the easiest ranked game on the website, and so I thought it would be a breeze. I was so wrong. It took me about seven hours in total, but I was so hooked that I did it all in one night.

This was yesterday.

Today I moved onto the next game, Leviathan. The rules are the same. You get access to a user on a server. This time, however, there are no instructions attached. You log into the server, and you eagerly check your home directly for a hint at what to do... but I'm not going to spend too much time on spoiling it.

While playing these games I had to use quite a few bash commands that I had never directly used before: nmap, file, gzip (and gunzip), bzip2 (and bunzip2), ltrace, strace, nc (netcat), openssl, and probably even more. I am so excited to learn these things.

I've been using Linux for almost six years, but I have to admit I still feel terribly inexperienced and overwhelmed. Spending time doing these wargames has made me just a little bit more confident with the command line, and that makes me feel good.

It has forced me to actually read man pages. For example, I finally learned that tar does not do compression alone, it just streams files together. I also learned that you can do rot13 decryption on the command line with something as simple tr '[A-Za-z]' '[N-ZA-Mn-za-m]'. Hint: tr stands for 'translate'.

I have also learned that there are Capture The Flag tournaments in the 'Hacker' community, which are tournaments where individuals or teams try to set attack a server, defend their own server, or race to get a flag from (or plant a flag on) a pre-configured server.

Disclaimer: I only learned about these events yesterday, so I could be misinformed or misrepresenting them.

I don't know if I will ever participate in a CTF tournament, but I am looking forward to becoming more confident with the command line and linux in general.


On a lighter note, I have been enchanted with Old School RuneScape lately. If you don't care about this, stop reading here.

I 'invested' many hours into this game when I was a teenager, and I only learned recently that Old School RuneScape was back (and free). So, naturally, I made a new account and began the journey anew.

On my journey to get the Quest Cape, I completed Between a Rock... today. Something that I have always loved about RuneScape is the humor. The game definitely does not take itself seriously and examples are frequent.

For this quest, a Dwarf in the town of Keldagrim has heard rumors of treasure in an impenetrable rock wall. There is no way to dig through, until you try to shoot a golden cannonball at the wall. Once discovering that gold can go through the wall, what is the answer? Build a cannon that can shoot humans, smith a golden helmet, and blast yourself into the wall to retrieve all that treasure — but not before slaying the demon trying to protect the gold inside.