Digital Recon Excerpt – Chad Bishop

Digital Recon Excerpt

He pushed the sleeves of the $1700 vintage Gautier jacket up his forearms. David Pearson shifted his weight to avoid the coils poking him from the threadbare mattress he sat upon. Givenchy aviators hung from his torn tee shirt.

The melodious sounds of four cellos flowed from his Bose headphones. A sublime peace filtered through his body. His fingers flew across the keyboard effortlessly, moving millions from one account to another.

Like symphonies of old, David was a master who needed no direction. The only thing he required was a blank canvas on the internet.

Today’s assignment was simple. The job was more like a warmup than a work out for someone of his talents. An end user has been sent an email from another colleague regarding the need to make a decision on a prestigious account. The end user unknowingly replied back to an imposter that there was no need to make a decision, as the funds had already been secured in the secondary account. With that information, he sent the confirming password and login to allay the fears of their colleague.

The password and login were checked for accuracy by the recon team. The recon team also went into the system and disabled the most obvious problems.  The event log which recorded the events on a computer were closed. When the recon team gained entry to the system, they created another account so David could work undisturbed. By all counts, this should have been a pleasant diversion for David.

Five minutes after he gained access to the system, a pop-up appeared. It said: This system will shut down in ten minutes. Close all applications. This windows update will take approximately twenty minutes.

The unbridled joy David felt was cut in half and left to bleed out. Like heartburn that comes with no rhyme or reason, David was aggravated.

He logged out of the new account that was made for him. Then he had to log into the original account, eight minutes left.

You never knew how slow a system was until you tried to run it across oceans. If it was a little slow for the end user, it was significantly hampered when hackers tried to exit the system quickly.

Finally, he was in the original account. He deleted the secondary account. The second account had to be deleted now. If the system rebooted, it would check all the accounts and the logins. It would compare it to its master list, Active Directory, and the new account would be definitive proof uninvited parties had been in the system. Six minutes left.

David accessed the email and scoured for the account banking and routing number. He collected names and bits of conversations from the email. Those email bits would be used later to gain the trust of other users. By giving small pieces of data in an email, people felt safe, and it confirmed your identity with them. It was the basics of social engineering 101. Four minutes left.

He did a final sweep of the hard drive and typed in the word password. Instantly, he got a hit. Two file folders showed up, as did a sticky note, on the desktop. He took copies of them all and logged off the machine.  David looked at his Tag Heuer watch and saw he had two minutes left to spare.

He folded his laptop reverently, making sure the padded feet were in placed when it closed. He ripped the headphones from his ears and tossed them on the mattress. He pulled himself up to his feet and stalked down the dark, dimly lit hall. A curtain was drawn across a doorway. He rapped on the side.

“Come in,” summoned Mother.

Agitation pushed him past the curtain to stand in front of Mother, the woman who ran Dorsai. Running his hands through his curly fro and shifting from foot to foot, David was a walking ball of restlessness.

“Mother, the recon team is slacking again!”

“Why do you think that?”

“I don’t think. I was just getting started, and a windows update forced me to move out!”

Mother laughed.  “I’ll say that for Mr. Gates. He has so many updates, you never know when’s a good time to go looking in the neighborhood.”

David didn’t know why Mother was so calm. He dropped down into a nearby folding chair.

“I don’t understand. How can you not be upset?  I didn’t finish retrieving the money.”

“I’m sure you brought some data with you, so you can get back in.”

“Yes but –“

“You cleaned up after yourself when you left.”

“I did but –“

“Then what are you really complaining about?”

“I want to do recon. I’m tired of staying in Dorsai all the time.”