by H G Spurlock
A Hacker+a flash drive+6.2GB of data+Russians = This story.
| There was about a half gig of file copying left. Marcus was on a 802.11g unsecured wireless network at a coffee shop using a Virtual Private Network. His laptop had Ubuntu Linux 10.10 with USB 2.0 and his client provided 8GB encrypted flash drive had a 10mb/sec write transfer rate. He had 6.21 gigabytes of encrypted data to transfer to the flash drive. The data transfer was supposed to take around 11 minutes, but with wireless network latency and his VPN, the copying was already 15 minutes in. Marcus wasn't in a hurry. He was enjoying his tea and he had half an hour before meeting his clients.
It didn't take long to get into the network. He found the server with the data, got the admin password and within minutes he was copying the files to the encrypted flash drive. Spoofing his MAC address would keep him from being easily detected.
He was playing Klondike when a cute waitress came by. She asked, "Do you need anything?"
He looked up from the screen and said playfully, "If you're single, you'd be nice." It was a cheesy line, but it usually worked.
The comment caught her off guard for a moment, but she giggled and wrote something on a napkin. "Call me and we'll see." She smiled and walked towards the front counter.
Marcus looked at the name and number for a moment and put the napkin in his pocket. He might call her later. He sipped his tea. There was 300 megabytes left to copy.
The data finished copying after he won his Klondike game. He checked the flash drive and it said there was 6.21 gigabytes of data, but the files were hidden by the software on the flash drive. He couldn't see the data, but he was confident it was all there.
When Marcus removed the flash drive, an executable file started the process of formatting the laptop's hard drive. His clients told him to expect this and said it wouldn't be a good idea to plug the flash drive in any other computers if he didn't want their hard drives wiped. This didn't bother him. To cover his tracks, he usually wiped and destroyed his hard drives after copying hacked data.
A few minutes later, he drove his car to an abandoned modern art museum to meet his clients. They would confirm the data on the flash drive and he would get his money. He got his holstered gun stuffed between the driver's seat and the console and clipped it to his belt. This was in case they tried to give him something else.
Behind the museum, a black Dodge Intrepid sedan was in the middle of the parking lot. His clients were on time. Marcus pulled his car alongside the Intrepid and rolled down his window, keeping the engine running. The Intrepid's window went down and its driver kept the engine running. "Marcus. It's good to see you."
Russians. You gotta love them, thought Marcus. The passenger looked like a Russian thug from central casting. "Dmitri. I got your data. Got my money?"
Dmitri opened a small duffel bag and showed Marcus the money. He zipped up the duffel bag and dropped it next to Marcus's car. "This is 25 percent of the money. You'll have the rest when Ivan confirms the data. The flash drive please."
Marcus handed the flash drive to Dmitri. He handed it to Ivan, who plugged the flash drive into a laptop and started typing.
Marcus stayed in his car, which puzzled Dmitri. "Aren't you going to get your money?"
"I'm in no hurry." It took about ten seconds. Marcus watched the look on Ivan's face. He had a look of shock, then anger. Ivan said something in angry Russian to Dmitri and his face became red. Dmitri began to reach for something.
Marcus quickly leveled his gun at Dmitri. "I'd keep your hands on the wheel if you want to live." Dmitri swore and put his hands on the wheel.
"By the way, I hacked your network yesterday and the CIA liked what I gave them. They pay very well." Marcus sped out of the parking lot. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw Ivan picking up the money. Then a few Suburbans raced into the parking lot. He blew out a long breath. What a way to make a living.
He drove around town to make sure nobody was following him. His phone rang. He knew the number. "Yes?"
A businesslike male voice answered. "We got the Russians and the money. I would have liked to seen the look on their faces when they found out they got six gigs of country music."
"I thought they would like it. I guess they're not fans."
"That's too bad. By the way, the information you gave us is very interesting and the Russians should provide us with some good intel. It's a pleasure doing business with you. I'm glad you're on our side."
"The pleasure is all mine."
"By the way, are you going to call that girl? I would if I were you."
Marcus smiled. He was glad to be on their side too. "We'll see."