IRC Guide

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What is IRC?

Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a form of real time chat designed for group (channel) communication or private communication via private messaging. IRC was created back in 1988 by Jarkko Oikarinen, and since then, its popularity has grown and grown. IRC is an open protocol using TCP (sometimes TLS) working on a server/client model. The standard server port is TCP 6667, but it’s also run under several other nearby ports (6668, 6669, etc.) On the IRC server, there are many channels, each created for a purpose, for a group of people of similar interest. Channels and users have modes which are represented by letters. Becoming familiar with the common IRC modes will help you quickly identify a wide range of information. For more information, please refer to the Wikipedia IRC entry.

Installing XChat

XChat is an IRC client that lets you connect to various IRC servers. XChat is not installed by default in Kali Linux but it can easily be installed as follows:

 apt-get install xchat

After Installation, XChat can be located under: Applications -> Internet –> XChat IRC xchat0

Using XChat

After running XChat for the first time, you should see a window similar to the one below.


Complete the appropriate Username Information fields, select FreeNode from the Networks list, and click Connect. You MUST register your nickname with FreeNode in order to be able to speak in our #offsec channel. This will also prevent others from using the same nickname as you on the FreeNode IRC network. Once you have found an available nickname, register it by typing the following command in the XChat window:

 /msg NickServ REGISTER <password> <email>

You can hide your email address from the public by issuing the following command:

 /msg NickServ SET HIDEMAIL ON

Once you have registered your nick, you will need to identify with NickServ each time you connect to the server as follows, being extremely careful not to expose your password to a public channel:

 /msg NickServ IDENTIFY <nickname> <password>

For more information about user registration, please refer to the FreeNode IRC FAQ. In addition to registering your IRC nick, it is also advisable to get a hostname cloak. This will prevent other users from seeing your IP address while connected to IRC. Our channel is located in #offsec. To join our channel simply type the following:

 /join #offsec

As an alternative to XChat, you can use any other IRC client or FreeNode Web Chat to connect to the FreeNode network. Once you have joined the channel you can ‘Private Message’ (PM) another person where you can talk “one to one”. The standard way of doing this is:

 /msg <nickname> <message>

Depending on your IRC client, a new tab or window may appear that will be used for private messaging. Please note that your IRC client may have slightly differently terminology, especially if you use the GUI instead of the /msg command. To use the GUI in XChat, along the right hand side you can right click on a user in the “User List” and select “Open Dialog Window”. This will place you in a PM with that person.


Channel Behavior

Once in the channel, be polite and courteous – that’s pretty much it. We do not tolerate profanity of any type – please take this into consideration.

  • Do not talk about exercise specifics openly in the channel as you may spoil the fun and challenge for other students. You may ask a general question, and if you get a response, use private messaging to continue.
  • If you require admin help, you can get admin attention by typing ping admin or admin around? This will alert our admins and you can continue your conversation in a private message.
  • In most instances an admin will reply within minutes, but please be patient when asking for help.
  • Look at the channel topic, important up to date information is located there.
  • We have an IRC bot named “Offsec-Ninja”, which can give you some useful information if you type an appropriate command such as !hours, !ip, !faq, !bob, etc. Please do not abuse this feature.
  • Keep in mind that #offsec is not a place to resolve issues with your order or any other payment or orders related activity. For such inquires, please email orders [_at_] instead.

When Should You Ask For Help?

Please note that while our IRC administrators are more than happy to help you when you are struggling with a particular system, they should only be contacted when you are truly stuck and cannot proceed any further without a nudge in the right direction.

Remember that all online Offensive Security courses are self-directed and will require you to conduct a great deal of independent research beyond the presented materials. The IRC administrators should not be viewed as teachers of the course material as their primary role is to assist with technical issues and ensure that the Offensive Security labs are operating properly for everyone. As a good rule of thumb, we recommend that students work on a particular target for a minimum of 24 to 48 hours prior to asking an administrator for assistance. It has been our experience that students who “Try Harder” gain the most knowledge and satisfaction from the course. So, now that you know how to connect to the #offsec channel, please join us, we are expecting you! If you have any questions feel free to contact us at help [_at_]