General questions:

What is Smash the Stack?

The Smash the Stack Wargaming Network hosts several Wargames. A Wargame in our context can be described as an ethical hacking environment that supports the simulation of real world software vulnerability theories or concepts and allows for the legal execution of exploitation techniques. Software can be an Operating System, network protocol, or any userland application.

How do I connect to the Wargames?

To connect to any of the Wargames you need an ssh client (openssh, PuTTy, SecureCRT). Each game has it's own set of connection details. You need to pay attention to the port and initial username. If you are using a unix variant simply type the following at the shell prompt:
              user@box:$ ssh -l level1 -p2224
when you are prompted for the password enter "level1" without the quotes. This information is also provided on the `io' wargame page. Once you are logged in read the text (MOTD: Message of the day) that is displayed on your screen.

How do I get the password for the next level?

The password for each level is located in different places depending on the game, but it will be located in one of the following locations:
the MOTD will specify exactly where it is located for each game. To view it simply use /bin/cat
              user@box:$ cat ~/.pass
              user@box:$ cat /pass/level1
              user@box:$ cat ~/passwd

I'm connected now what?

Celebrate! \o/

What operating system do I need to play?

Any OS will do. Windows, Linux, BeOS, MacOS, BSD, or VMS.

What is the goal of the games?

The goal of the games is for you to get from the first level to the (current) last level. Along the way you should pickup or refine any techniques that were required to defeat the level. The levels for each game are structured progressively. You start at the first level. Once you have completed the first level you will have the credentials to view the password for the next level. This is the same for all the games. To view your current credentials or userid type the following at the shell prompt:
              user@box:$ id
the text that is returned is your current user level status.

Where do I go if I need help?

If you need help with a topic not covered in this FAQ you can utilize one of the following resources:


I keep getting permission denied. What's up?


How can I contribute a Wargame level?

If you want to contribute a level to any of the StS games send the level and exploit to

Can I try to get root?

The focus of the games is not to get root, but you are welcome to try, if you manage to escalate your privileges to the superuser, we ask that you do not wreak havoc, instead we would appreciate an an email to notifying us of the deficiency so we can correct it.

I can't connect. What's wrong?

No internet connection mebe?

Can you help me?

No. See How do I ask a question?

What is PuTTy and where do I get it??

PuTTy is a terminal emulator application that can act as a client for various protocols including SSH. It can be download here

How do I connect to IRC?

To connect to IRC you need an IRC client. We provide a web based IRC client that you can use or you can download mIRC. If you are using linux, but have limited experience you can use xchat. If you're an irc warrior and use irssi or bitchx, STOP READING THIS FAQ! :P

How do I add a tag?

Each level has a sub directory called public_html under the respective home directory. Inside that public_html directory is a file called index.html or tags.html. To add your tag simply use redirection...
              user@box:$ echo "stacksmasher3 was heRe" >> ~/public_html/index.html 

Can I post the solutions on my blog?

No. Posting solutions to wargame levels defeats the purpose and takes the fun out of it for others.

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