Netcat in the Hat

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Discuss in Forums {mos_smf_discuss:Sept 06 – Netcat in the Hat}

Greetings again, challenge fans! For this month's challenge, Tom Liston has whipped up a delightful doozy, this time all in rhyme. This one is a lot of fun, and will give you a chance to play around with everyone's favorite feline, Netcat! Carefully read the challenge, and submit your answers to the four questions at the end to  with the Subject: Skillz Submission by September 30, 2006. Tom will pick three winners using our standard formula: one for the best technical answer, one for the most creative answer, and one winner drawn at random. If your elite skillz are up to the challenge, by all means please dazzle us with your dynamism. But, even if you cannot answer all of the questions, or only have guesses for them, send in your ideas… you'll still have a shot at being the random winner. Tom and myself will autograph and send copies of our book, Counter Hack Reloaded, to each of the winners. Have fun with Netcat in the Hat, dear readers–

Ed Skoudis, Intelguardians

Skillz Sponsored by Core Security Technologies

Netcat in the Hat

The data stood still,
And the packets did stay
Sitting there in the N.O.C.
All that cold, cold wet day.

Our connection went down
When the phone lines were cut
By some dude with a backhoe,
Gold tooth and beer gut.

Far worse was that we
Quite nearly were through
With a large data transfer
Straight from Kalamazoo

Only three-point-nine gigs
Of that data-filled file
That should be four-one
If our boss was to smile.

But with no packet flow
And the weekend quite near
“No rest for the weary,”
Was our greatest fear.

But all we could do was to
And we did not like it
Not one little bit.


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And then
Something went BUMP!
How that bump made us jump!

We looked!
Then we saw him step onto the mat*
We looked!
And we saw him!
Netcat in the Hat!
And he said to us
“Why do you sit there like that?”

“Sure, the network is down
And the phones are all crap
But the tenants upstairs
Have an unsecured WAP.”

“I know some good games we could play,”
Said the cat.
“I know some new tricks.”
Said Netcat in the Hat.
“A lot of good tricks.
I will show them to you.
Your manager
Won’t mind at all if I do.”

“Do not listen to him!
Don’t learn his bad knowledge!”
Said Manish, the intern
From community college.
“Tell Netcat in the Hat
You do NOT want to play.
The Manager’s out,
Make that cat go away!
He should not be here.
He should not be about.
He should not be here
When the manager’s out!”

“Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!” said the cat.
“My tricks are not bad,”
Said Netcat in the Hat.
“Why we can have
Lots of good fun, if you wish,
With a game that I call
Blame it all on Manish”

“Don’t do that!” said Manish
“That is no fun at all!”
“Don’t do that!” said Manish
“Don’t make me take the fall!”

“Then be quiet
And sit” we heard the Cat say.
“I have an idea that
Just might save the day.”

*Anti-static, of course…

“But that wireless lan is
Quite pokey and slow”
Said Manish who then added
“I’ve HEARD that it’s so…”

“That file is big
and we only got part
And the FTP server
does not do ‘restart’.
Even if you can get on that wireless site
A file that big will take most of the night!”

“Did I not say
That I had it planned?”
Said the Cat, with a dismissive
Wave of his hand.

And then he ran out.
And, then, fast as a fox
NetCat in the Hat
Came back in with a box

A skinny black box,
That was shut with a clasp.
When he set it down
I could hear Manish gasp.

“Oh no, you bad Cat!
I do not like this game!
That’s a Dell-branded laptop!
It could burst into flame!”

NetCat paid no attention
Though the laptop was “Delled”
And though we jumped back,
The Battery held.

“On this box are two things
I will show to you now.
You will like these two things,”
Said NetCat with a bow.

“I will unclasp the clasp
You will see something new.
Two things.  And I call them
Thing One and Thing Two.”

“These things, they will help you
They want to be run!”
And there on the screen
Was Thing Two and Thing One.


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NetCat was quite clever
He did some quick math
Then he typed a command
And he gave a quick laugh.

“Thing One is quite handy,
Of that, there’s no doubt!
But Thing Two’s just amazing!”
He proclaimed with a shout

“Dear Thing Two could
Do nothing… he’d wait till the end…
Desperate for, if you would,
Data from his dear friend”

 “Each one is a treasure.
No doubt that is true,
But together there’s nothing
That they cannot do!”

 “Thing One knows the “if”
And I told him the “of”
And he fits with Thing Two
Like a well-fitted glove”

“So, your file will be fixed,
Quite soon even though
Your link to the net is incredibly slow.”
Said the Cat as he packed
Up and started to go.

And then he was gone
With a tip of his Hat
But we’d never forget what
We learned from that Cat.


The Problem:

All of the data needed to run the weekly TPS report is in a file called found on the machine  The file is 4,427,036,672 (~4.1GB) bytes long, but unfortunately you've only been able to FTP 4,212,288,512 (~3.9GB) bytes back to your machine,, before the ‘net went down.  You're only able to transfer data over a somewhat slow, "borrowed" wireless link.  You have SSH access to  What will you do?

The Questions:

1) What program is "Thing One"?

2) What program is "Thing Two"?

3) What was the command that The NetCat in the Hat used?

4) What could you do if, instead of being 4,212,288,512 bytes, the file you were able to FTP was actually 4,212,288,525 bytes? (a hint: you might need to call in "Thing Three")

For more information on Netcat, the swiss army knife of tools, see below:

Remember, please submit your answers to with the Subject: Skillz Submission by Sept 30, 2006. In early October, we’ll announce three winners, one from each of these categories:

·        Best technical answer
·        Most creative and technically correct answer
·        Random draw from all answers submitted, correct, incorrect, complete, partially complete, etc.

Each winner gets a copy of Counter Hack Reloaded, autographed by authors Ed Skoudis and Tom Liston, congratulating you on your victory and amazing abilities!

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