Word Notes 8.3.21
Ep 61 | 8.3.21

script kiddies (noun)


Rick Howard: The word is: script kiddies.

Rick Howard: Spelled: script for pre-written code and kiddies for novices.

Rick Howard: Definition: Cybercriminals who lack the expertise to write their own programs use existing scripts, code, or tools authored by other more skilled hackers. 

Rick Howard: Example sentence: Let's give out scripts that help every clueless script kiddie break into thousands of sites worldwide, then narc off the one that breaks into us. 

Rick Howard: Origin and context: The team at LiveOverflow believe that the term "script kiddie" probably originated in a private bulletin board that shared exploit code with their readers. They found a comment dated June, 1994, that called out "elite code kiddies that don't seem to understand that those scripts had to come from somewhere." The very next month, another bulletin board member said 1996, LiveOverflow found exploit code on another bulletin board system with a written comment that said, "[-- Script kiddies cut here -- ]".

Rick Howard: But all of that was in private bulletin boards. LiveOverflow says that the first public mention of the phrase probably happened in 1998 in maybe the longest running online journal called Phrack Magazine. Phrack is spelled in Leet speak as p r h a c k and Taran King  and Knight Lightning founded it in 1985. Back then and today, the difference between the script kiddie and a "real hacker" is that the hacker understands how the code works. The script kiddie probably doesn't and just uses it as a means to an end. 

Rick Howard: Nerd reference: At the first presidential debate between Secretary Hillary Clinton and the then presidential candidate, Donald Trump, the moderator asked both candidates about how to defend against cyberattacks. 

Rick Howard: Secretary Clinton responded that it was a serious threat as evidenced by the Russian attacks on American institutions, including the Democratic National Committee, or DNC.

Rick Howard: Candidate Trump responded that it was uncertain who exactly broke into the DNC and that it could have been "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds." in other words, it could have been just script kiddie. 

Donald Trump: As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. Uh, we should be better than anybody else and perhaps we're not. I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't, maybe it was, I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. Could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay.

Rick Howard: Word notes is written by Nyla Gennaoui. Executive produced by Peter Kilpe and edited by John Petrik and me, Rick Howard. The mix, sound design, and original music have all been crafted by the ridiculously talented Elliott Peltzman. Thanks for listening.