Researcher’s First Hack Was a Martial Arts Movie-Inspired Prank

In the latest episode of the My First Hack series, Haroon Meer tells us about that time he discovered hacking and pranked his best friend.
May 28, 2021, 1:00pm
Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 1
Image: YouTube
Screen Shot 2021-02-24 at 3
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard's podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

When Haroon Meer figured out he could change the prompt on all the computers in his high school’s computer lab, he didn’t even grasp the concept of hacking yet, let alone worried about covering his tracks.

He was sitting with his best friend when he realized “on a whim” that all he needed to do was to change a single character in a configuration file to put a message that would be displayed on every single computer. At the time, Meer and his friend, who was known as Cow, were fans of the classic Jean-Claude Van Damme martial arts movie Kickboxer. In the movie’s climactic fight scene, the crowd chants Nuk Su Cow in support of Van Damme’s character. 


That's why Meer changed the computers' prompt to NukSuCow. His teacher did not find the prank funny. 

Meer is now the founder of cybersecurity startup Thinkst, and he's been giving talks at hacking conferences all over the world for years. 

On this new episode of our podcast series My First Hack, Meer and his friend Cow recount that first hack. Listen to the whole story in the podcast below.