Let's imagine a very good blackhat hacker, his protege, and a team of about 20-50 other non-technical people who employ this hacker need to figure out a way to gain undetectable access to multiple servers inside an national ISP company's local branch office.

They have physical access to the facility, as in, they can get to the outside perimeter on foot or by car.

The ISP building has a wireless network that is WPA2-PSK protected, which is on the same subnet as some of the office PCs in the branch, but none of the servers.

The ISP in this story of mine is known to employ armed security guards, passcode+key physical entry authentication, Enterprise-grade firewall+load balancers, hot and cold networked backups, enterprise-grade intrusion detection, and enterprise-grade antivirus.

Preferably, we do this without a zero-day attack.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You're probably better off with a social hack. Get someone hired as a system admin, blackmail someone, bribe someone etc... $\endgroup$
    – apaul
    Mar 25, 2017 at 4:05
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ 20-50 non-technical accessories to the crime is way too many to keep the secret. Somebody will blab or (more likely) brag about it. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Mar 25, 2017 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


How does one good hacker and some script kiddies hack an ISP's local office?

  • Eh rents a room in a nearby hotel.
  • Eh rigs a laser mic to capture vibrations of one of the windows of the ISP HQ from afar. Infrared, you know, so they can't notice a thing, not that they probably would even if it were a visible light laser.
  • Eh gets his protege to bring doughnuts and coffee while listening to the feed and waiting for the magic words "what was the wireless password again?" (usually said by some new intern who wants to connect his tablet before deciding later that day that working in the Internet field is not for him and he would rather just get a job at a meat packaging plant).
  • Now eh's in their network, for making things better or for making things worse.
  • Their LAN must be connected at some level to the servers for administration, etc, probably through an SSH connection. The details of which machines have access becomes readily apparent by listening to the feed as the ISP conducts DevOps while watching them do stuff with binoculars. Also, keystroke timings captured by the mic leak desktop passwords which will later be needed to log in. We assume we can't see the screen itself - that would be too easy and yet it doesn't really help much the trick is to get input sent; the output is predictable if you know what desktop environment they are using etc which you get from listening to the feed.
  • With high-quality binoculars, he notes what kind of peripherals these guys like in terms of USB mice, keyboards, headphones, etc, and stocks up on several of each.
  • Next time they order anything, our hero is in a position to dispatch one of his minions to fill the order by hand delivering a package with a fake UPS label while wearing a fake UPS uniform (cosplay!)
  • The catch is the USB peripheral delivered has a wireless radio that connects to the WiFi and to the Internet to get instructions. When ordered to, it can use a USB mux to switch to a USB rubbery ducky like thing that emulates a compound USB mouse and keyboard.
  • When the PC it is plugged into isn't being used (based on binoculars data), send mouse movements and keystrokes to log in and do cool stuff (TM) such as connecting to the servers just like the DevOps people do.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What does “eh” stand for? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Mar 25, 2017 at 7:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz It refers to a meme of relatively long 4-year lifespan (but I am dismayed to find it is now dead): knowyourmeme.com/memes/pretty-cool-guy $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2017 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ Huh? So what's “eh” stand for? $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Mar 25, 2017 at 8:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz: From the link, apparently it's "he" spelt backwards $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 25, 2017 at 8:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is that useful here, in context? If it's an attempt to be trendy it's dated as he notes, and this SE has a more formal literary tone. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Mar 26, 2017 at 3:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .