Dear Reader: I’m slowly publishing the novel 2047 online right here.
A small group, unknown to each other in the physical world were disembodied voices on a well-hidden, voice-only network. Protected by random switching and bouncing off servers around the world – the last one an unused storage server in the White House – their voices were unrecognizable.
With all traces of sex and accent removed, scrambled and reassembled for this meeting, these voices belonged to the most experienced hackers within Anonymous and were responsible for more than one computer system giving up its secrets.
Staying one step ahead of both government and industry security forces, they saw themselves as freedom fighters.
In typical Anonymous contrarian fashion, their group signature was DarkLord and they were a prime target for security forces around the world.
The Ottawa Convention agreement of 2031 established the rules for computer warfare. You could spy and hack information but you couldn’t set up a network to fail if it would cause an effect in the real world. Stealing secrets was part of the game; crippling physical systems was an act of war.
All developed countries signed this, even the United States who was the first country to physically wreck a country’s power grid at the turn of the century. The country, Iran, neither forgave nor forgot but merely delayed revenge until a more appropriate time.
Advancements in both individual tracking from the Internet of Things and video surveillance meant that few possessed the smarts and the technology to avoid detection when working against secure networks and systems.
It was a Darwinian struggle to gain a small advantage. Their personal feeds and systems exchanged introductions and security codes, various computer analysis programs agreed on the validity of their identities, and the conversation began.
jok3r: “I’m still browsing QuellCorp – they still don’t know I’m in there – the shit’s about to hit the fan. George just gave Sarah the green light to take out the gangs. They’re going to whack every blooded member.”
Ghengis: “Shit, what brought this on?”
jok3r: “Two QuellCorps troops were killed. Shotguns from close range. Guess they’ve had enough.”
Jasper: “I’ve met Sarah, you don’t need to know how, but she’sone sick mother. Seriously sick and twisted. George is a soldier but Sarah’s a psychopath and the Air Force didn’t make her any better with that drone system they’ve got. She watched the damned things all the way to the target and had a score sheet above her console. I bet she killed at least one person a week for all four years she was in the drone unit. I’ve even seen her work out in the dojo and she takes that as seriously. There’s no soul in that girl.”
PwnU2: “Are you saying we should stop her or warn the gangs?”
Jasper: “Nope. Six of one, half dozen of the other with all of them. Just don’t get in Sarah’s sights if you can avoid it.”
Jasper: “Anything else interesting in there?”
jok3r: “Oh yeah, a few other things. The first is I pulled up the list of overtime salaries by going into accounting. Those stupid bastards think they’re so secure, they even list the salaries as miscellaneous employment. No security on this at all; it’s out in the open. Sent he data to that reporter Gordon as normal.”
sip3r: “Share those on the normal network, I may be able to use them. What else you got?”
jok3r: Found a hidden and more secure drive that’s had an address but is removable. They don’t leave it plugged in so there must be something either mobile or ultra-secure. I’m working on an alarm that will ping me when it’s plugged in and I hope to have that installed by next week sometime.
sip3r: So could be good, or could be a waste of time.
PwnU2: Isn’t everything?
sip3r: Whoa, look at Mr. Neitzsche – the optimist here.
PwnU2: Bite me.
luv2luv: On that enlightening note, I’m done. Talk next time.
One by one the other members signed off.
Sitting in his office, sip3r wondered what he should do, if anything, with this information. Just let it slide for now. File it, he decided.