Coding: How To

Coding: How To
By Susan Basko

You can learn how to code on Code Academy.  It's free!  You can move at your own pace and pick the parts that interest you.

Coding is the language that is used to make websites work. It also makes apps work.  Coding makes computer programs work.

Coding is in different coding languages. There are new languages being developed all the time and older ones fall out of use.  Some codes right now are:  C++, C#, Java, Python, Smalltalk, JavaScript, Ruby.  

If you want to learn how to code, you are never too young or too old to start learning.  

When you are learning coding, it is a good idea to think in terms of making things, not breaking things. What kind of cool new thing can you make for the internet?

Sex on the Internet

Sex on the Internet
by Sue Basko

How to Learn About Sex:   There are some good sites online that explain about healthy sex.  This is one of them:   It is not a good idea to try to learn about sex by looking at pornography or by visiting sex chat sites meant for adults.  You can also learn about sex by asking your parents or teachers or by reading library books about it.  You can ask a librarian or a bookstore clerk for a good young adult book to help you learn about sex.   

Pornography: On the internet, there are many websites that show pictures or videos of sex that are meant for adults. If you are under age 18, it is illegal for you to go on those sites.  Some of those sites are illegal even for adults, if they show certain kinds of pictures or videos that are considered obscenity.

Obscenity: Making or posting obscenity is illegal.  Any sexy photo or video that shows anyone under age 18 is obscenity.  That is called Child pornography.  Many other things are also obscenity.  Any sort of sex picture or video that is meant to shock or disgust the viewer is probably obscenity.

  It is illegal to show obscenity to anyone under age 18 or to leave it where they might see it.  On the internet, it is illegal to post any obscene picture or video any place that anyone under age 18 might see it.  That means any obscene picture or video can only be posted behind a screen that warns the viewers and requires the user to be age over age 18 to see it.  It is illegal to trick anyone into viewing obscenity by posting a link to it and not making clear what the link is to.

If you are under 18 and someone is showing you pornography or obscenity, or leaving it where you can find it,  or putting it on an open website, you should report this to a teacher, police, or to the FBI.  

Child Pornography: Websites are also illegal if they show Child Pornography.  Child pornography means any kind of pictures or videos that show anyone under age 18 in a sexual way.  Child pornography is illegal most places in the world and is considered a very serious crime.  The children who are shown in the pictures or videos are victims of the people who are creating the child pornography.  If someone is having you or one of your friends be in pictures or videos like this, you should tell the police or your school principal.  You can also report it to the FBI online at  You will need to tell your name and where you can be contacted or your address.

Selfies:  If you are under 18, it is illegal to take naked or sexy pictures of yourself.  It is also illegal to send such pictures in a text or on the internet.  If someone is trying to get you to do this, refuse and report them.

Pictures and Videos:  It is illegal to take naked or sexy pictures of anyone who is under 18.  This is true even if you yourself are under 18.  It is true even if the person wants you to take the picture or video.  Just say no and don't do it.

Revenge Porn:  It is illegal to post a sexy or naked photo of any person, even if they are over age 18,  unless they have given you written permission.  If you get mad at someone, you cannot post photos of them to get back at them.

Creating Porn in Photoshop: It is illegal to create pornography against a person using photoshop.  It is illegal to take someone's photo and add things to it to make it a sex picture.

Pedophiles:  On the internet, people will often mention Pedophiles or Paedophiles.  Pedophiles are people who are attracted in a sexual way to babies, children, or anyone under age 18.   For example, a teenager who is not attracted to people their own age, but instead to smaller kids, might be a pedophile. An adult who is attracted to babies, children or teens is a pedophile.  Pedophiles are often interested in Child Pornography, that is, sexy or naked photos of children.  Pedophiles often try to touch or have sex acts with children they are in contact with through family, neighbors, or jobs.  For example, some pedophiles try to get jobs as teachers, camp counselors, coaches, or try to marry someone who already has children.  Pedophiles usually pose the sex acts as being part of a game, as fun, as a special secret with the child, or as an act of love or a special favor.

On the internet, pedophiles sometimes try to get children or teens to chat with them or to undress for them.  They sometimes try to get preteens or teens to travel to meet them, or to run away with them. Sometimes a person on the internet will say that if a child or teen does not do as they say, they will do something worse to them or to their family.

IF SOMEONE is doing any of these things to you, you should report it so it can be stopped.  You may need to report it to a few people before someone will really listen and take action.  A school principal is required by law to take action and report to police.  So is a doctor.

Webcams:  A webcam is the camera built into your computer.  Always keep this covered when you are not using it.  People have been known to send viruses through email or other ways and then to control other peoples' webcams.  Also, every now and then, scan your computer for viruses.

It is illegal to control someone else's webcam.  It might seem like it would be fun to spy on other people, but it is illegal.

Sexting: Sexting is when people send a sexy photo or message by text on their phone.  Taking or sending sexy or naked photos of yourself, if you are under 18, is illegal.   Taking or sending sexy or naked photos of anyone who is under 18 is illegal.  Sending sexy photos or messages to anyone who is under 18 is illegal.  Sending sexy or naked photos of anyone, any age, without their permission, is illegal.  Sending sexy or naked photos to anyone over age 18 who has not given you permission to do that is illegal.  Sending or posting any photo or video that is obscene is always illegal.


Defacing a Website

Defacing a Website
by Sue Basko

Defacing a website is when hackers change what viewers can see on a website.  They usually deface the home page, so the defacement is obvious.  The defacers might change words, add a video or a photo.  Defacing is usually done as some sort of protest.  Defacing is often funny. Sometimes it is more serious.  Defacing is illegal against the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).

Defacing can be done several ways.  To do any defacing, the hacker has to be adding or changing the code that controls what is shown on the site.  For example, if the hacker is able to get the password for the site, they can go in and change whatever they want.  Another way is to inject some new code into the existing code.  For example, injecting in the embed code for a video that is on youtube.  You have probably embedded videos many times.  In a deface, you are simply embedding it onto someone else's site.

Another way to do a deface is to change the information at the domain registry, so that traffic to the site is diverted to a different site.  Then the first site is not really defaced, but you have tricked people into thinking it is.

It is possible to hack into and deface things besides websites.  That can be done to things like digital or TV displays in stores, digital signs anywhere, TV station signals, and more.

Keep in mind, defacing is illegal, and so is sharing a password so someone else can deface a site.

LOic DDoS - Tango Down!

LOic DDoS - Tango Down!
by Sue Basko

LOic DDoS is "Low Orbit ion cannon Distributed Denial of Service."  It's a fancy way of saying you're attacking a website to knock it off the internet for a few minutes. 

LOic DDos is pronounced: low ike dee' doss.

LOic stands for "low orbit ion cannon." DDoS stands for  "distributed denial of service."

Some people call LOic "Lazers" or "Lazors."  They might say, "Fire up the lazors."  

When the website goes down, it is "Tango Down!"

LOic is named for a weapon, called an ion cannon, in a video game. 

A LOic is a computer program that attacks a website to knock it temporarily offline.   When a LOic is aimed at a website, this can cause a DoS, a "denial of service."  "Denial of Service" means that people who are trying to see and use the website cannot do so.

The LOic sends info packets at the computer that is being attacked.  If a group of people are aiming a  LOic at the same website at the same time, this is a LOic DDoS, or low orbit ion cannon distributed denial of service.   Since the DoS is being caused by info packets coming from multiple computers at the same time, it is called a Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS.  It is just a bunch of people at the same time aiming their lazor cannons at the same thing at the same time.

A DDoS works the same way as if many people, all at the same time, clicked on the URL to see the website.  Each website can only serve a certain number of new viewers at the same time.   Depending on what kind of web service the site has, that number can be from a few hundred to a few thousand.   That's why it is easier to Tango Down a website running off a weak, cheap server than to knock down a more expensively run site.

Some people have fun sitting around shooting down cheesy sites. Other people plan a DDoS as a protest against something they think is wrong in the government or in society.  Other people do a DDoS to get revenge or to bother someone they do not like.

LOic programs are available for free on the internet.  There are also websites that run LOic attacks. Some charge a fee and do the LOic.

Some people voluntarily join a botnet. This is when an automated LOic is placed onto their computer and is activated by others.  Sometimes people are tricked into joining a botnet.  Someone will get them to click on a link that downloads a LOic that is run by a botnet.   Then the LOic is on their computer attacking websites, and they don't even know it is happening.

Usually,  LOic DDoS only knocks a website offline for a few minutes to a half hour.  However, if it is a company that deals in finance or selling, the company might lose a lot of money in those minutes.  

LOic DDoS attacks are illegal  according the the CFAA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.   The CFAA deals with "protected computers," and that includes any computer connected to the internet for interstate commerce or communication.  That is any computer connected to the internet, because they are all communicating state to state.  So, every computer connected to the internet is a "protected computer" and is covered by the CFAA.  So, if you attack any computer that is on the internet, you might be breaking the law called the CFAA.

In the U.S., DDoSing is charged as a crime under the CFAA by saying it exceeds authorized use of a computer and causes damage.  In the UK, DDoSing is specifically illegal under the Police and Justice Act of 2006. 

LOic DDoS attacks can be traced back to the IP addresses, or internet protocol addresses, that sent them.  Does using a VPN mask the IP?  Not sure, but relying on this is taking a risk.  Many VPN services log the IP, while others do not log.

Under the CFAA, a person convicted of DDoSing a website can get a 10 year prison term.  That is a long time for something that affects a website for a few minutes.

Some people think DDoSing should be considered a form of protest and allowed as a First Amendment activity.  DDoSing  or defacing a site related to the topic of protest can be very effective in getting public attention.  Allowing DDoSing as a First Amendment form of protest is an interesting idea to think about and consider, but right now, this is not the reality.  DDoSing is considered a crime with an unusually high penalty of long imprisonment.

There are other ways to  protest on the internet that are legal and protected by the First Amendment, such as writing about what is happening, a hashtag blitz on Twitter, or petitions.  Some people say that petitions do not get results, but this is not true. There are many success stories with petitions.

Conspiracy:  Some people have been charged with Conspiracy to DDoS.  A person can be charged with Conspiracy to commit a crime if they planned with others to commit a crime and took some step in furtherance of it.  For example, if people on the internet are chatting about planning to DDoS and you chat along and take some step in furtherance, such as downloading the LOic or clicking on the botnet link, then you might be involved in a Conspiracy, even if you personally never launch a LOic.  

The sentencing for Conspiracy is twofold: for the Conspiracy itself, and for the underlying crime, as if you  committed the crime.

If you plan to get involved in a DDoS, please read up first and understand the law.  You may want to talk to one of your parents or someone you trust and ask them if you should be involved.  Is your reason for being involved worth the risk of prison or fines?  Is this the most effective form of protest or would a legal type of protest be just as effective or even more effective?  You might want to make a little chart where you list the pros and cons of being involved.  Don't let people force or trick you into doing something you don't really want to do.