“He doth send the rain on the righteous and unrighteous”
Nadia’s finger ran across the inscription atop her laptop screen as she did every time she opened the screen and fired up the beast, as she called it, up. It was her reminder, her way of calling forth her alternate persona, Ada55453.
A deep breath later and Ada was now present and typing away at the keyboard. Just a few strokes and she was hidden by her distributed routing program and virtually invisible online. Couple clicks more and now she was activating her favorite open source framework for penetration testing, a polite and politically correct way of saying paid hacker, and within moments, her system was in contact with her targeted set of online bot systems. Bot systems for the uninitiated are computers that had previously been compromised by a type of malware that allows an individual or group to use part or all the resources available. Such a mechanism for cyber-attacks was used in the 1990’s, a Georgia Tech student delayed the launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle by milliseconds with a coordinated attack. To this day distributed attacks are still highly effective. Ada however, was not looking to stop a government application or maneuver. She had a contract to expose attack vectors on Michel Memorial Hospital.
The beast’s screen flickered as multiple purple boxes with golden text scrolled quickly across. Keystroke after keystroke provoked more text to appear and scroll and slowly the glow from the screen began to illuminate a slight smile on her face. The Information Security Team had been successfully distracted with her bot attacks. Ada imagined the few guys manning the NOC (Network Operations Center) scrambling to figure out how her attacks had made it through their firewall, contain it, and all without just shutting down traffic.
Ada saw herself as a magi whom roams the Earth using her art form not only for herself but others that she stumbles across.. The first lesson learned by magi and even stage magicians is obtain your targets focus and direct it as you will, or misdirection.
Ada’s eyes glanced to a purple box with a golden progress bar. It showed progress was at thirtythree percent and growing.
Her attention turned to another box, she entered the phrase “./RatRace”. Confirmation quickly came back in the box, the emulation software was engaged and sending alerts. Now the Hospitals, NOC, Helpdesk, and anyone else designated to get infrastructure alerts were being bombarded by messages. They would now see failures in their storage systems, temperature and moisture reaching critical levels in their server racks and network closets. To them, they were now having nothing less than a catastrophic failure of their infrastructure. The confirmation that their attention had now been seized came from a hijacked email account that notified her of a system wide announcement.
“Emergency Maintenance of Critical IT” was the subject, Ada laughed while dismissing the toaster alert for the message. She could only imagine the scrambled conversations that had to have happened for them to finally decide to notify their users that they had problems. She checked her task clock on a separate screen. In bright green digits in large format displayed twenty-six minutes and forty-two seconds. As any geek would she took a couple of seconds to admire her setup. The large format display with the task clock was mounted on a swivel arm high and to her left. The beast sat directly in front of her, its main screen flickering away; she typed with a physical, back-lit, keyboard that had rocker switches in each key. She enjoyed the classic ”click“ sound the keyboard makes whenever she was not rocking out to music while working. Two more screens set to the right and left of the laptop both sat vertical instead of horizontal, this made reading text far easier and natural. She glanced back to the timer and noticed it now read twenty-eight and some change.
“Back to work” Ada mumbled to herself.
She scanned her boxes contained within the monitors. Finally, the one with the progress bar was flashing complete. From the flag file the SHA512 hash was secured and included it in a predefined template in window located on the right vertical monitor, this window labeled “Work Cell”. She clicked send and off went a confirmation message from her computer with the hash as proof she had secured the file that would prove she achieved her goal of hacking into their servers. The application she ran was a precaution of her own design. It would relay via email her message to her work cell phone, which was located far away in a secure location. Her cellphone dedicated for work would then text her lawyer the message as proof of completion of the contract. He would notify the client the exercise was over and in moments all the horrible attacks and failures would stop at the client’s site.
Another window started flashing, left monitor, this one labeled “Nadia Cell”. A similar setup was used for this cell phone, except this one sat on her nightstand, back in her apartment. A voice mail had been left, transcribed and forwarded to her workstation for her. Work complete, Ada took breathed deeply and Nadia clicked the transcribed message.
“Nadia, dear, its mother. – I need you to call me as soon as you get this… Your sister… Just call me, please…”
Nadia instantly became uncomfortable and clicked a second button that requested the audio to download version. She knew this was not good news and her stomach was already in knots over the anxiety of possibilities of such a message.
“Pythia… secure station… de bono malum, vale” Nadia announced to the room. As Nadia left for home, the AI, Pythia, secured the room and set the intrusion detection system. Nadia stepped out into the alley and began to walk to the bus stop, not noticing her nervous tick of counting change in her pocket.Static Magick
aka Soulbound Heart