Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

    Jack woke up with numbers still running through his head. 'The same dream again,' he thought to himself, as he stared at the ceiling. He glanced at the clock. It was three in the morning.
    Jack sighed and sat up in bed. The desk lamp didn't turn on at his movements. He turned off his MDS at night, or else he wouldn't get any sleep.
    "Numbers," he grumbled to himself. "Why is it always numbers?"
    He had been hoping to get at least one more good night sleep before he left. It was going to be a noisy weekend.
    He got out of bed, grabbed a cold drink from the refrigerator, and sat at his desk. Tattered old books on brainwaves and human-cyber physics lay on the floor. Papers discussing theory on human synchronization and holo-clones sat on top. His eLibrary, The Genesis, lay on the floor turned off.
    He grabbed his Google Pocket Computer from his desk and turned it on. It was the size of a smart phone from the early 21st century, but it had more processing power than most desktop computers back in those days. It was like carrying around a fabled "super-computer" in your pocket.
    Google's GPC logo appeared on the screen of the computer. 'You're up rather early.' Jack heard the voice in his head. The voice didn't have personality or gender to it. In fact, Jack wasn't sure he was able to qualify it as a voice at all.
    'Couldn't sleep,' Jack replied with his mind, as he plugged the GPC into his home system.
    He really hated this part.
    'That's not healthy,' the GPC started. 'Studies show-'
    'I know, I know,' Jack responded. 'I just want to work on the code again. Could you bring it up?'
    'At three in the morning? You need to take better care of your body.' The computer replied. 'Statistics show that-'
    'Open the program or I'll shut you off.'
    'You also need patience.'
    'That's why they call it a virtue.'
    'Actually, patience is called a virtue because-'.
    'Finish that sentence and I'll pour my drink on you.'
    'I am water-proof,' the GPC replied.
    Jack sighed. 'Forget it. I'll do it myself.'
    Jack had always felt that computers thought themselves as perfect, everlasting beings that deigned their assistance to humanity; the computer always thinking that it knew what the user "really" wanted due to it's superior intelligence. Jack had never expected to be proven right so distinctly.
    The center of the desk surface began to lift until it stood at a slight angle. A computer window appeared as a keyboard rose out from the front of the desk. Jack quickly typed a few commands and a window of code appeared.
    'The flight plans are confirmed for 11 this morning,' the computer stated.
    'Good,' Jack replied. 'Now if we could only get this code to work.' When did he start referring to him and his computer as "we"?
    'Do you still intend to enter the contest?' The computer asked.
    'Yeah, I hope to,' Jack responded.
    'Even with the latest mishap, as you seem to call it?' The GPC asked.
    'Yes. Even with the latest mishap,' Jack admitted. He couldn't give up just yet. This was his chance to make history.

    DEF CON 42 was the 5th official year of the Impossible Hack Contest, or the IHC for short. In the year 3034, the hardest thing about being a hacker was proving that you were a legitimate one. Everything had already been hacked. The only thing left was to find new ways to walk down old, well-worn roads. Nothing new. Nothing special. Just re-watching the same old movie over and over again.
    But one remaining system remained impenetrable. One system had so far been proven unhackable. One final vault left to crack.
    The mind.
    The study of brainwaves and using thoughts as passwords was making leaps and bounds in the science community, and people have said the brain is the most secure security system ever. That was what the IHC was all about. The goal of the contest was the extract an exact thought from a single person, transform it into computer code, and display it on the screen.
    Several people had already tried to hack the mind; some even before the contest was introduced at DEF CON. However, each experiment ended in failure. One instance actually created zombies, which was a bit of a mess to clean up.
    Even Jack's own most recent attempt resulted in failure, with very strange side-effects.

    "So, you can talk to computers now?" Riley asked.
    "Yep," Jack replied.
    Jack sat with his friends in the Chill Out Cafe on the preliminary day of DEF CON. His mind buzzed with voices from all around him. Computers communicating with each other and trying to get responses from him as well. He'd learned to differentiate what to pay attention to and what to ignore, but the constant "noise" still gave him major headaches. Jack never knew that there would be a way for him to hate the big city.
    "That's kind of messed up," Riley said.
    "Tell me about it," Jack responded.
    "Whatever," said Ryan, as he vigorously typed away on his 5 year-old Infinity laptop from AppleSoft. "That's impossible."
    "Yeah, well, tell that to my GPC," Jack said.
    "No, it could be possible," Adam said. "Think about it. Computers communicate through electronic waves, right? The brain works the same way. I think... Anyway, it could be possible that maybe when Jack tried to hack his own mind, he found a way to synchronize his brainwaves with a computer."
    "If that's the case, computers are everywhere. Can you communicate with all of them?" Riley asked.
    "I guess," Jack answered. "At least, as long as they're on."
    "So, how do you sleep at night?" Riley asked.
    "I turn everything off."
    "Is it really that much of a problem?"
    "During the entire flight here, the plane's control system was trying to explain to me how irrational a fear of heights is."
    "Yeah, that's kind of messed up," Riley replied after a moment.
    Jack suddenly had an image pop into his mind, like he suddenly had mental access to a paused video feed. It looked like the hallway just outside of the Chill Out Cafe.
    "Hey, you okay?" Adam asked.
    Jack shook his head. "Yeah. That was weird."
    "What was?" Adam asked.
    "I saw an image," Jack replied. "In my head. Like from a camera or something."
    "That hasn't happened before?"
    "No," Jack responded. "I've only been able to talk with computers. I've never had one show me anything."
    "What was it of?" Riley asked.
    "It looked like the hallway right outside," Jack said, pointing.
    "Well, that could make sense," Adam said. "People are probably posting all their pictures to MyLife via their GPCs."
    "Yeah, maybe," Jack responded.
    "Enough talk of this techno-mystic stuff. You gonna see the Iron Fist Preliminaries tonight?" Riley asked. "My bot's gonna dominate this year."
    "No, sorry," Jack replied. "I need to work on the code again for the IHC. I'll be sure to catch the finals, though," he added quickly as Riley glared at him.
    "If you're able to talk to computers, can't your GPC help you figure out the code?" Adam asked. "I mean, it's a computer. It's supposed to be smart."
    "Won't work. A computer is smart, but in a different way," Jack explained. "To a computer, the human mind is an anomaly. It doesn't understand it."
    Jack stood up to leave.
    "Good luck, man," Adam said.
    "Thanks. By the way, Ryan, you're hitting your keyboard kinda hard."
    "So?" Ryan asked, looking up from his laptop.
    "So, your computer complains every time you slam the Enter key. It's spewing something about the irrational use of hardware and human brutality," Jack said. "See you guys later."
    Jack left as Ryan stared quizzically at his laptop.

    Early the next morning, Jack was still examining his code. The constant noise in his head made it difficult to concentrate. Jack hoped that if he stared at his code long enough, he would eventually be tired enough to sleep through all the noise. So far, he'd stayed up most of the night.
    Frontal lobe. Cerebrum. Neural oscillation. The concepts were starting to run together.
    Jack sighed as he leaned back on his chair, rubbing his eyes. He stared at the ceiling briefly, letting his mind wander.
    'GPC,' Jack called with his mind. 'Do you dream?'
    'Dreaming indicate that I am capable of sleeping,' the GPC replied.
    'Well, you are capable of sleeping, aren't you?' Jack asked. 'You have a sleep mode.'
    'I don't believe it is the same thing,' the computer said.
    'I suppose,' Jack responded. The vision of numbers flooded his head. It was the same dream, every night since the experiment. All he saw was numbers. Nothing else. It reminded him of the classic computer movie "The Matrix" made nearly 50 years ago. Only not as cool looking. He wondered if it had some kind of connections with his new "super-power". Jack realized that he never gave a name to his strange ability. He thought for a moment and shook his head. 'I should call it tele-pathetic,' he thought.
    'That isn't a word' his GPC said.
    'I wasn't talking to you,' Jack replied.
    He glanced at the clock. 4:30. Looked like he wasn't going to fix the code in time for the contest. Well, he could always hope that no else had figured it out yet either.
    He turned off his GPC and decided to try to get some sleep, as the hotel's security system kept repeating 'Everything's OK. Everything's OK. Everything's OK.'

    Applause filled the room as people cheered loudly. The words "down the rabbit hole" were showing on the holo-projector screen. The contest host verified the authenticity of the display. Someone had won the IHC.
    Jack lost.
    Todd Landfield stood on the stage, hands raised, taking in his moment of glory. Jack applauded quietly. Even if the thought extracted was very simple, it was quite the feat and Jack had to give Todd credit. But he still felt a little bitter about it.
    "That was awesome," Riley shouted.
    Adam elbowed Riley in the gut. "Sorry, man," he said to Jack.
    "Nah, it's all right," Jack said, attempting to shrug it off. "He did do a good job."
    "Well, whatever," Riley said, trying to sound indifferent. She wasn't doing very well as she continued to steal glances at the holo-projector.
    An image flashed into Jack's mind again. This time it was of Todd holding up his GPC in triumph. 'Great,' Jack thought. 'Now some camera wants to rub it in my face.'
    'Camera, Jack?' his GPC asked. One of the things Jack hated about his "super power" was that he could rarely have a private thought.
    'Yeah,' Jack thought back. 'I keep seeing images of different places at DEF CON. Figured it was some camera sending the pictures wirelessly or something.'
    'Jack, those signals are not from a regular camera," the computer said.
    'Why do you say that?' Jack asked. 'How would you know?'
    'Because each device has a specific signature to help determine its purpose. The signal delivering those images does not have a camera signature.'
    'What signature is it using?'
    'hlcl_sync,' the GPC responded. Why did that sound so familiar? Riley's voice interrupted Jacks thoughts before he could figure out where he knew the signature from.
    "Come on," Riley said. "Let's go get something to eat."
    "Good idea," Jack admitted. He didn't really want to continue to watch Todd's ridiculous victory dance on stage.
    Jack stood to leave and bumped into a man wearing a DEF CON 21 shirt. Jack stumbled.
    "Sorry," Jack apologized.
    The man didn't reply. He didn't even seem phased.
    'Whatever,' Jack thought, as he rubbed his arm. The man's arm was oddly cold.
    Later that day, Todd's GPC was stolen.

    "It makes sense, doesn't it?" Riley was saying. "I mean, who wouldn't want to steal it?"
    It was nearly 5 o'clock and the first day of DEF CON was running down. Jack, Adam, and Riley were walking into the Rotunda, passing a floating monitor that was advertising the parties that were being held that night. Riley stopped to look at the screen.
    "True," Adam admitted. "The robbery seems premature, though. Why steal it during the middle of DEF CON?"
    "Probably some crime lord wannabe," Riley explained. "Too stupid to realize he was going to get caught."
    Jack was thinking. Something did seem strange about why the thief attacked in broad daylight. How did he succeed in stealing the GPC without anyone noticing?
    "You okay, Jack?" Adam asked.
    "Yeah," Jack responded. "I was just thinking about what you said. It is weird that the thief would attack in the middle of day in a crowded conference. It's as though he knew he'd be able to get away with it."
    "But how would he get the GPC past the police scanners?" Adam asked. "They're scanning everyone's GPC as they leave the building. Todd's GPC ID will trigger."
    That was a good point. All computers, especially portable ones like the GPC, were required to have a registered ID that connected the computer with the owner. The more expensive computers had fingerprint scanning; but all computers were required to have facial recognition, where the GPC would scan it's owner and prove their identity.
    The man wearing the DEF CON 21 shirt walked by as Adam was pointing to another screen that held the current Iron Fist rankings. Jack noticed something weird about the DEF CON logo on the shirt. He pulled out his GPC.
    'GPC,' he called. 'Bring up the logo for DEF CON 21.'
    The familiar "happy face-cross bones" appeared on the screen. But it was different from the one on the man's shirt, which meant the shirt was a fake.
    An image flashed in Jack's head again. This time of the hallway leading out of the Rotunda. Exactly where the man with the fake DEF CON 21 shirt was heading. Jack remembered the signal, hlcl_sync, and realized where he'd seen it before. He'd read about it when he was trying to learn more about how the mind worked.
    There was one way to know for sure. Jack directed his thoughts to the man.
    'What are you?' Jack asked.
    'A holo-clone,' a voice replied.
    Jack stared. That was easy.
    "A holo-clone," Jack whispered to himself.
    "A what?" Adam asked.
    "A holo-clone," Jack said again, pointing to the man. "It's a robot that can change it's appearance via a type of hologram."
    "I thought those robots were just rumors," Adam said.
    "No, they're real. Just massively illegal," Jack responded. "I bet that's how the thief stole Todd's GPC. He used a holo-clone."
    "You sure?" Riley asked, looking after the man.
    "Positive," Jack said.
    It made sense. The last two times he'd received images in his mind were when that man was around. He was probably walking outside the Cill Out Cafe when Jack saw the first image. The holo-clone was probably sending a video feed to whoever was controlling it. When Jack saw an image in his mind, he was probably intercepting the signal somehow.
    It was the perfect thief. Before it would exit the hotel, it would change its image to Todd Landfield and the GPC facial recognition scan would come out positive. Jack admitted that it was a stretch, but it made sense.
    "I don't have time to explain," Jack said. "Riley, where's your bot?"
    "In the tournament waiting area," Riley responded.
    "Go get it," Jack said.
    "Dude, I don't-" Riley started.
    "Trust me," Jack insisted. "Go get it."
    Riley rushed off.
    Jack had to stop the man from leaving. He saw three Goons walking by.
    "Hey," Jack called, running up to the Goons. How was he going to say this and not look like an idiot? He figured just to state the truth. "That man stole Landfield's GPC."
    The Goons looked at the man leaving the Rotunda. One Goon looked back at Jack, eyebrow raised.
    "How do you know?" he asked.
    "Because he's a holo-clone." Even Jack admitted that he sounded ridiculous.
    The Goons smiled. "And how do you know that?"
    "I... asked it," Jack responded.
    The Goons laughed.
    Jack figured that would be the case. He looked back at the man. He had already left the Rotunda. He had to stop him. It was going to escape with Todd's GPC. Well, Jack didn't really care about that. Perhaps it was due to his own frustration at not being the one to win the IHC, but he really didn't want whoever was controlling the holo-clone to get the code that could hack the mind.
    Before Jack could convince himself otherwise, he ran forward, the Goons watching him skeptically.
    'I'm totally going to jail for this,' he thought.
    He grabbed the "Wait Here" sign the man just passed. He heard someone scream behind him as he swung the sign at the back of the man's head.
    He heard a metal clang as the sign made contact. The man's head was pushed forward, but that was all. Jack stared at the man as he turned, unhurt.
    Suddenly an image of Jack's own startled face flashed in his head.
    "Oh no." The holo-clone punched Jack along the jaw. Jack felt a surge of pain as his jaw was dislocated. The hallway began to spin as he began to fall to the ground. He glimpsed the holo-clone turning to leave and, as he fell, reached out and grabbed one of the robot's ankles.
    He felt himself get jerked forward, but he didn't let go. He was hearing voices behind him. He hoped the Goons would get to him before the holo-clone decided to kill him. He felt himself suddenly stop and saw a glimpse of red, as Goons attempted to tackle the holo-clone. It was able to fight them off easily, jerking Jack around as he grasped the robot's ankle.
    Suddenly the movement stopped and Jack glance up. The holo-clone was about to step on him with its other foot. Still very disoriented from the earlier blow he wasn't sure he could move out of the way in time. As the foot started to come down, an iron fist punched the holo-clone from the side. Jack lost his grip on the machine's ankle as the holo-clone stumbled backwards. He looked up to see Riley's robot, Titan, standing over him.
    Jack's vision began to darken as he saw the robots briefly face-off each other. The holo-clone's image was fuzzing slightly.
    As Titan leapt at the holo-clone, Jack blacked out.

    Jack woke up in a hospital room. Numbers still rushed through his. Adam and Riley were at his bedside. He wearily sat up.
    "You all right?" Adam asked.
    "Yeah," Jack responded, massaging his jaw. It felt sore, but it worked properly.
    "The doctors relocated your jaw while you were unconscious," Adam explained.
    "What happened?" Jack asked.
    "Oh, you should've seen it," Riley said, jumping up. "Titan was going to town on that holo-clone." She started punching air as she described the fight.
    "Titan took quite a beating, though," Adam injected. "That holo-clone was made well."
    "How badly damaged is Titan?" Jack asked.
    Riley sat down again. "Pretty bad, actually," she said. "Won't be in the Iron Fist this year, I can tell you that. In the end, he was barely able to hold the holo-clone long enough for the Sentinels to arrive."
    "The Sentinels were able to subdue it," Adam explained.
    "Sorry about Titan," Jack said to Riley.
    "Nah, it's all right," Riley said with a smile. "It's an awesome excuse to do some massive upgrades."
    "Thanks, I owe you and Titan big time."
    "Great, you'll be treating me to ice-cream tomorrow, then," Riley said.
    Jack smiled. "What happened to the holo-clone?"
    "It's in police custody," Adam explained. "I think they're going to try to reverse engineer it, discover who made it. They also recovered Todd's GPC."
    "So, it did have it," Jack said, relieved.
    "Yeah," Adam said. "Other than that, nothing spectacular. There was talk about canceling the rest of DEF CON for a police investigation or something; but that idea wasn't well received, as you can imagine."
    "Yeah, I can see that," Jack responded. "Speaking of the rest of DEF CON, I don't have to stay here do I?"
    "Nope," Adam answered. "The doctor said that you'd be free to go once you woke up. He just wants you to check out at the desk."
    "Let's get out of here, then," Jack said. "The hospital computers are giving me a headache."

    As the final day of DEF CON 42 ended, Jack said goodbye to his friends, Adam and Riley. Other than a few interviews with the police and media, the rest of the conference passed quite normally.
    Jack learned that he probably wouldn't be going to jail. But he did have to appear in court in a few months, due to his vigilante actions. Though, at worst, it seemed that he'd get a warning of some kind and maybe some community service hours.
    'Is my flight confirmed?' Jack asked his GPC.
    'Yes,' the computer answered. 'You have been checked in.'
    'Good,' Jack thought.
    As he waited for a Taxi, he noticed three men approaching him. They wore expensive looking suits and dark sunglasses.
    "Jack Harell," asked one of the men as he approached.
    "Yeah," Jack responded, watching the other two men as they stopped and stood at his flanks. He was surrounded.
    "I'm lieutenant Jerry Johnson," the man said, as he flashed his electronic badge for Jack to see. "We need you're help. Todd Landfield has been kidnapped."
    Kidnapped? "OK... Why are you coming to me?" Jack asked.
    "Because you somehow uncovered the original thief that stole his GPC a couple days ago," the man explained. "We believe the same people are behind the kidnapping. We're hoping you'll help us find them."
    An image flashed into Jack's mind. It was of himself speaking with this man. He glanced at the man to his right.
    The man in front of Jack smiled.
    "You're cooperation would be very much appreciated," the man said as a black car stopped behind him.
    Jack slowly nodded.
    'GPC,' he called. 'Track my location for the next 48 hours and send the coordinates to Riley and Adam every hour.'
    'Confirmed,' the computer replied.
    Jack entered the car and the door closed.
    "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

  • #2
    Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

    Your story occurs at DEFCON 42 in the year 3034. DEFCON 21 occurs in the year 2013. DEFCON 42, should it not be cancelled, will occur in the year 2034. Tiny detail, just for your information, possibly a typo. I am fond of the Holo-Clones. Good Luck!
    "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

      Originally posted by eris View Post
      Your story occurs at DEFCON 42 in the year 3034. DEFCON 21 occurs in the year 2013. DEFCON 42, should it not be cancelled, will occur in the year 2034. Tiny detail, just for your information, possibly a typo. I am fond of the Holo-Clones. Good Luck!
      Oops. Good catch. Yep, that's a massive typo. Epic face-palm moment for myself. Thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

        Originally posted by eris View Post
        Your story occurs at DEFCON 42 in the year 3034. DEFCON 21 occurs in the year 2013. DEFCON 42, should it not be cancelled, will occur in the year 2034. Tiny detail, just for your information, possibly a typo. I am fond of the Holo-Clones. Good Luck!
        Hey, eris. Just something I thought of. Once the contest is over, feel free to change the typo in my story for when it goes on the DVD. That shouldn't cause any issues, as the winners will have already been announced. I'd change it, but... I don't have access to that copy. Thanks and sorry for the trouble.

        Oh and thanks for running the contest. Honestly, the rules threw me for a loop, but it was fun to try something new. I enjoyed it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

          Originally posted by EpicStory View Post
          Hey, eris. Just something I thought of. Once the contest is over, feel free to change the typo in my story for when it goes on the DVD. That shouldn't cause any issues, as the winners will have already been announced. I'd change it, but... I don't have access to that copy. Thanks and sorry for the trouble.

          Oh and thanks for running the contest. Honestly, the rules threw me for a loop, but it was fun to try something new. I enjoyed it.
          PM sent about the correction, please check your inbox.

          I really enjoyed your story, and I loved that you submitted even after being thrown for a loop. If it doesn't work the first time, bang it with a hammer, and try again! I've already begun clarifying and amending things in case the contest returns next year, so if it does, hopefully, it will be earlier and smoother!
          "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

            Originally posted by eris View Post
            I've already begun clarifying and amending things in case the contest returns next year, so if it does, hopefully, it will be earlier and smoother!
            After Defcon 21 is over, I'll start a thread like I do every year, where I ask which contests or events people are planning to bring back to DEF CON the following year. These get the advantage of having forums created for discussion, planning, and support long before Pyr0 announced his RFI for contests. You would still have to submit your info to him, but having a forum many months in advance of that request helps people to do exactly what you are describing: getting an earlier start. Early forums could go up as early as November or December. When they go up partly depends on when Jeff makes an announcement about the following DEF CON, somewhere.

            Thanks for running this contest. :-) I've not had time to read these stories, but I am looking forward to doing it when work is not killing me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Title: Impossible Hack Author: Epicstory

              Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
              After Defcon 21 is over, I'll start a thread like I do every year, where I ask which contests or events people are planning to bring back to DEF CON the following year

              SNIP


              Thanks for running this contest. :-) I've not had time to read these stories, but I am looking forward to doing it when work is not killing me.

              My comment was more about 'oh my god, do i really want to do this again?" rather than "will the contest be allowed to return" Cotman. You do a wonderful, attentive, crazy attention to detail I don't know how you do it, job, every damn year. :D

              The stories are really worth the read when you have the time to sit back and enjoy them. Some fantastic efforts from everyone.
              "They-Who-Were-Google are no longer alone. Now we are all Google."

              Comment

              Working...
              X