Chapter 11: White Hats and Worms

(Lizzie)

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“We just learned the name of the victim from the car explosion three nights ago, outside of Cyber Tech. The victim has been identified as 35-year-old Casey Moore – a part-time college student attending Tri-C Community College. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the explosion……”

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Feigning tears is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But I couldn’t risk Lucille finding out that Casey was actually still alive.

“You poor, poor thing,” Lucille said, rubbing my shoulders. “This must be so hard for you. I know you two were close and I can’t even imagine your pain. But always remember, I’m here for you and I won’t leave your side while you’re grieving.”

“That’s….that’s so great…of you,” I said, sniffing.

“That’s what buddies are for.” She stood up and started walking toward the kitchen. “You just stay where you are. I’ll get some yummy chicken broth for you. And after you finish that, you can have a small square of 100% dark chocolate for dessert.”

“You’re too kind, Lucille.” If I have to eat any more of this crap I’m going to be sick, I thought.

I checked my cell phone, looking for another message from Robert. Our escape plan was in the works. Robert had friends he knew – people who weren’t entirely legit – working on this around the clock. 

In the mean time, Casey – who was actually alive and well – took up residence at Cyber Tech. Everyone felt it was for the best that she stay there. Removing her from the facility would be way too risky. They couldn’t chance someone from The Clinic would see her.

***

(Casey)

Robert looked exhausted. He’d been on the phone, nonstop, with friends – the White Hatters – a group of people who contracted themselves out to test computer networks and make sure they’re secure. I’d been watching him work for three days straight on this plan, trying to help me and Lizzie. All the while he and his team worked, I felt helpless. This was way out of my area of expertise.

“Great! Thanks, man,” Robert said. “I owe you.” Robert hung up the phone and swung around in his chair.

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“We found an entry point,” Robert said. “The Clinic has fallen a tad behind times with their network security.”

“Well, yeah,” I began, “They’ve been a little busy with killing people.”

Robert chuckled. “A few of their employees enjoy checking their personal email while at work and The Clinic’s operating system hasn’t been updated in months.”

“Sorry?” I gave up pretending I understood anything he was saying hours ago.

“It means we can install a virus into their Intranet and take their whole network down.”

“A computer virus? How will you install it?” I asked. My head felt like it was spinning. I was barely a cell phone person. This whole computer thing was way over my head. “Are you going to use one of those jump drive thingies?”

“Wow.” Robert shook his head. “You are behind the times.” He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. “My friends have been profiling some of the emails that a few of The Clinic’s employees have received.”

“Really? How?”

“Don’t ask,” Robert said. “A few of the employees often download attachments to their work computers. Nothing serious. Usually just photos of their kids and pets. We found those same employees social media accounts and copied some of their images off of it. The next step is to clone a few email accounts from people they receive emails from on a regular basis and send those photos as attachments. The worm will be embedded within the attachment.”

“The worm?” We went from computer viruses to slimy bugs. How did that happen?

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“Worm is the type of virus we’re going to install. Once installed, it replicates very quickly. This worm will be encoded to disable The Clinic’s entire network and everything connected to the network – such as that tracker you’re wearing on your wrist. We’ll be able to disable it and take it off.”

“Awesome! How soon?”

To be continued

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