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The Penetrator - Chapter 1: Gray Hat

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posted on Nov, 27 2017 @ 02:27 PM

WARNING: this story deals with dark themes and includes mature content such as drug references. It is purely fictional but I'm attempting to create a realistic atmosphere so I'm trying to not to sugar coat anything, however I will censor bad language to conform to the terms and conditions of ATS.

How does one rationalize the mentality of a hacker... maybe it's the thrill, the adrenaline rush... no... it's the challenge, being able to do something no one else could do... that's the rush. Every noob feels it when they write their first line of code... that sense of power one feels when they command the machine to their whim. That's how it starts anyway... there is no secret shortcut to being a good hacker, if you're a good programmer then you are a good hacker because a good programmer should know how to write secure code so in many ways they need to know what hackers know.

That's what makes it so easy for smart people to walk down a dark road... for a short time I walked down that road, and while we can claim it's about the intellectual pursuit, the truth is it's just as much about the money. Being able to cross that line of morality is what separates a black hat from the rest... you have to have no empathy for your victims... but I wasn't that sort of villain, I was just a curios kid living in outback Australia with a shiny new computer and the world wide web at my fingertips. I had to be smart if I wanted to develop my hacking skills.

Starting the same way most would be hackers begin, I acquired several "how to hack" guide books but I quickly realized they could only provide me with a beginners level of knowledge. I soon realized that what I really needed to do was learn to program, then I could understand the way software is built and where I should look for weak points, as well as how to build my own customs exploits to make use of the security holes I would uncover. Within a few years I became proficient to different degrees in around half a dozen different programming languages and came to possess the skill I desired, however I was causing harm to innocent people and my conscience began to eat away at me.

I decided to create a code, not a computer code, a moral code, a set of ethical standards that I would use as a guideline to live by and hack by. Rather than a black hat I would view myself more as a gray hat, lurking the internet for vulnerabilities so I can then sell information about the security flaws to system administrators and help them make their systems more secure... of course they don't always appreciate it and often view my assistance as hostile activity. However the fact is without people like me the truly malicious hackers would have a much easier job, if I don't find the hole they will.

People like to view morality as a black and white issue but I've always believed it's just shades of gray, the real world is messy and complicated. Perhaps my dilemma is I don't care enough to follow the rules of society but at the same time I care too much to completely discard them. It's the part of me that cares that made me so hungry for the truth, I was young and naive, believing I could follow in the footsteps of figures like Gary McKinnon without getting caught like he did. I called myself a truth seeker... but part of me just wanted to see how far I could go...
edit on 27/11/2017 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2017 @ 02:27 PM
2007 - NSW, Rural Australia

"The door's unlocked dude, come on in. Please tell me you got something to smoke, dad wont be home for a few hours." I yell down the hall from my room.
"It's all good man, I managed to get some herbs from Dean-o so we're getting ****ed up tonight!" Jordan boasts with great enthusiasm.
"Aw yeah this is gonna be sweet, we'll get super high and look at alien space ships." I reply with equivalent enthusiasm.
"Don't tell me your crazy plan to hack NASA actually worked?" Jordan questions with a semi-concerned tone while rolling a joint.
"Not yet but check this out, I sent trojan emails to a bunch of their employees and one took the bait, I've got access to his terminal but want to make sure he's away from it before I try anything." I answer.
"Jesus christ you crazy son of a... make sure we wont be traced, this could be a honey pot." Jordan cautions as he passes me a skillfully rolled joint, "Here spark this bad boy up bro."

"Mmmmm... I'll jump through a few more proxies just to be safe." I suggest while exhaling a large cloud of smoke.
"It's early in the morning in America right now, if you're going to do this now is probably a good time." Jordan advises.
"Ok we're in... oh man I'm already getting paranoid, my hands are shaking, I can't move the mouse properly!" I exclaim as the effects of the weed really start to hit me.
"Chill out you dick... look for some interesting crap, we can't spend long on here." demands Jordan.

After several minutes of browsing files on the terminal I have a sudden outburst of excitement, "Wow look at this dude, what the hell is that?"
"What ever this is it's definitely not from this pla- wait was that you, did you just open the console?" Jordan stutters.
"It wasn't me, someone is on the terminal... **** I need to download these files before they disconnect us!" I clamor, the tone of my voice becoming more frantic.
"Screw that dude the longer you stay on there the more chance we have of being caught!" Jordan warns me, "just disconnect and clear the logs on the proxy machines you ****ing idiot!"

"No, just hold on one sec, I've almost got it... come on... **** we're disconnected, but hold on... we still got most of the pictures!", however my sense of victory is short lived as Jordan proceeds to scold me for my reckless actions.
"How do we even know they are real pictures of anything? They probably traced our connection, we're in seriously deep **** here because you're obsessed with little green men!"
"Hey lets not jump to any conclusions, we don't know for sure whether or not they traced us, just take a few hits on this and relax." I do my best to reassure Jordan but it doesn't seem to have much effect as he paces around my small bedroom.

"Man I just wanted to get high and relax but you have to get me involved in th-" Jordan suddenly goes quiet as he's peaking out my window, "I'm not kidding right now, there's a black van parked outside your house, that wasn't there when I got here. Holy **** how did they find us so fast... we need to get out of here now dude!"
"Just calm down and let me take a look, just because it's a black van doesn't mean anything, there's no way they got our location that quickly... hold on someone is getting out of the van", I observe as three men dressed in generic black attire exit the vehicle and begin inspecting data transmission lines on nearby houses. "Oh my god I think they are looking for us... they must not know our exact location, we still have time..."

To be continued...
edit on 27/11/2017 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 27 2017 @ 05:10 PM
a reply to: ChaoticOrder Please keep going dude. This is amazing and a good break from the daily grind.

posted on Nov, 28 2017 @ 03:21 AM
Second the comment above.. Please keep going this is a good read very interesting!

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