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Hacking the Cable Modem: What Cable Companies Don't Want You to Know 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1593271015
ISBN-10: 1593271018
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

What people are saying about Hacking the Cable Modem

"No Starch Press is a publisher with a penchant for finding geeky niches that other publishers won't touch, and DerEngel's Hacking the Cable Modem is a fine case in point." --Linux Journal, October 2006

In the beginning there was dial-up, and it was slow; then ame broadband in the form of cable, which redefined how we access the internet, share information, and communicate with each other online. Hacking the Cable Modem goes inside the device that makes Internet via cable possible and, along the way, reveals secrets of many popular cable modems, including products from Motorola, RCA, WebSTAR, D-Link and more.

Inside Hacking The Cable Modem, you'll learn:
* the history of cable modem hacking
* how a cable modem works
* the importance of firmware (including multiple ways to install new firmware)
* how to unblock network ports and unlock hidden features
* how to hack and modify your cable modem
* what uncapping is and how it makes cable modems upload and download faster

Written for people at all skill levels, the book features step-by-step tutorials with easy to follow diagrams, source code examples, hardware schematics, links to software (exclusive to this book!), and previously unreleased cable modem hacks.

About the Author

Profiled by Security Focus, TechTV, and the Register, DerEngel has been hailed as "the underground Prometheus of super-broadband." He has written several programs to simplify and streamline the uncapping process since he started hacking into cable modems five years ago. He currently heads TCNiSO, a group of hackers who have revolutionized reverse engineering techniques and produce free hackware.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (September 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271018
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271015
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,434,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By brian d foy VINE VOICE on October 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
I expected this book to be much more technical than it was. Rather than a collection of schematics and wiring diagrams, DerEngel combines many personal stories with the results of his work. It's quite an interesting read, although I don't know if the book will make hardware hackers out of anyone. Some people may be able to hack their modems with the ready-to-use tools the author discusses, but most people probably aren't going to want to potentially destroy their modems by cracking open the case and messing with the circuit board components. Most of the discussion takes it for granted that the reader is already be familiar with basic electrical engineering and Radio Shack. The tools he uses are Windows programs, so unix users may need to find similar tools to follow along with the hacks.

I wish the book had talked more about the cable companies motivations for various limitations. At one point, DerEngel does admit that some limitations protect the equipment and service for everyone's use, but overall I think he ignores that without commenting on the rather selfish notion that anyone should be able to get better internet service than others on their block. What would happen if everyone uncapped their modems and started uploading lots of data?

Despite my complete disinterest in hacking my modem, I found the book an interesting read and informative.
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Format: Paperback
First of all I want to object to the comment titled "How to be a Theif"

This Earlier comment suggests the book should be banned, and it will get you arrested if you follow it's instructions. The truth is in most cases, there is little cost benefit to go after everyone that bends the rules as long as they are not causing a service disruption or running up too much in tarrifs (which don't exist too much these days) Of course in come cases in America and Australia a few people will get sued as a token gesture to scare the masses into submission]. It also varies on your ISP. Some ISP's (as detailed in the book) has deployed various forms of countermeasures. But on HFC networks you can almost get away with murder if you do Mac Cloning.

I've worked in IT 12 years. I'm have a very analytical mind and I love to understand how things work. Is it a crime to be curious? I thought in America book burning and witch hunting finished a long time ago, and since then there has been a few constitutional amendments and a bill of rights. The latter of which not even other democracy's like Australia has.

Maybe he is akin the same guy that wanted to put Phill Zimmerman in jail for allowing everyone to have secure private communications with the advent of PGP. Oh that was published in a book too. And PGP was classified as export restricted military technology at the time. It was declared a lawful act of publishing by the courts. In other words, just on the legal points he has no case to stop anyone reading this, or buying this book.

Right now America and my home country (Australia) lag behind the rest of the world because inferior network infrastructure is being overcharged by telco's raking in huge profits for the better off stock owners.
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I think it's well written, informative, and a great resource if you want to hack into your modem.

But...

1) You will get caught if you uncap your modem. The companies that provide cable modem service can trace unchecked bandwidth, and they'll ban you for life from their service. Uncapping will backfire on you. This has been in the news a lot lately, with stories of people getting caught doing this. It hardly seems worth it to me.
2) There is really no other reason (besides uncapping it) to hack your modem unless you just like tinkering with electronics. If that's what you're after, get the book. For most of us, we wanted to get faster speed, but since that's going to get your busted really quick, why waste your time?
3) Doesn't cover all modems, esp the newer ones (that's to be expected), so be cautious since the hacking methods may not transfer to a newer model (like mine).
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Yes it's a little old, but it has the ability to make you actually think of how to do these things if you really wanted to. I have no idea if anything in it works now, but it was very well thought out, and I have no doubt whatsoever that it did at one point, especially since the Author went to jail just for writing this book.
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Format: Paperback
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--- DISCLAIMER: This is a requested review by No Starch Press, however any opinions expressed within the review are my personal ones. ---

[Review: long - 5-10 minutes]

The book basically covers reverse engineering methods spiced with the authors smart and original ideas - and the rich
experience in a niche marcet of his speciality - namely cable modems.

The same technics described might be used for reverse engineering other embedded devices or software issues
(f.e. mobile phones, Bluetooth devices etc. )

The book has a unique combination of a certain "geek" factor combined with high grade engineering skills.
The geeky part of the book is showing many original and cool hacks that enable even non technical users to use them.
The engineering part of the book is deploying several reverse engineering technics which can also be applied to other
devices and technologies.

To make the most usage of the book you would ideally have some knowledge of the following:

- general electrical engineering skills
- programming / debugging skills
- a good understanding of firmware related issues
- some basic Assembler knowledge

Obviously the readers mileage may vary, depending on the readers skillset and amount of time invested.
You shouldnt expect to become a hacker over night, however this could be your entry ticket to see, touch and "feel"
the many facets of reverse engineering.

What is it about the book that makes it stand out ?
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