The Joy of hacking Chapter Four
Wearing the watch, he was reading a book on how to hack, he posed the following question to himself and then on a few choice forums, once it was formulated perfectly:
Who has more power a person who casts a single vote, or a massive corporation that can shower politicians with campaign donations and other favours ay day of the week?
He read Steal This Computer and The Virtual Activist. Environmentalism had been something that affected the ordinary man in Kerala. Of course some places see the effects of global warming before others. The books he read led him to believe that the internet could be more powerful than a sit in a blockade or sanctions. Hackers on behalf of many causes have hacked opponents websites of of course. This happened as early as during the Vietnam War. Also many sensitive US government websites have been targeted, everyone knows that. The White House computer system was shut down for three days due to a non stop denial of service attack once. Iranian nuclear installations have been controlled remotely. Armies of Chinese Hackers are poised awaiting instructions. The Chinese elite sanctioned a planned attack on GOOGLE. This was bread and butter stuff, he needed more than information, J taps his long brown fingers on the desk. His intelligence and promise had been validated independently by many. Schools, Universities, a Globally renowned employer. He had some strings that tied him down though, that no one in his new group of friends knows of. Strings that mean he is under Daddy's thumb.
As for his hacking, J was working alone and for what seemed to be a fairly innocuous end. When did he start being his father’s donkey?, he wondered. In an age when a worm could be sent across the world to disseminate messages sometimes via safe sites taking information of national importance out of its rightful place, this seemed bland enough he told himself.
He read with amusement about the Worms against Nuclear Killers virus, sent in 1989 the 16th October to be precise which infected the NASA network with a worm naturally know as the W.A.N.K.worm. He wanted to use the internet to promote his beliefs as a hacktivist, he told himself this. He did so for some time, never telling a soul. Betraying lies when he found them, lies about child labour in factories in India. Corporate smoothing over the actual environmental damage caused by their many factories. He did so smoothly and frequently, the initial skills he honed with his mates for kicks, being turned towards a more worthy cause.
In a country where you read about elephants, who pass in front of railways being collided into by trains the somewhat chaotic state of certain institutions meant that tagetting big business and its need for a environmentally sound image was the way to go, he plotted.
Reading about the Coca Cola company’s activities in his home state of Kerala made his blood boil. He engineered a leak which was passed on to some people in the know. The article on his desk printed off the little dell computer that was used so much you might expect to see little grooves in the keyboard.
The Coca Cola Company at Plachimada has been causing environmental degradation by over extraction of ground water and irresponsible disposal of the sludge.
* The Coca Cola Company is culpable under several laws in force.
* The water resources of the area have been affected and water scarcity has been compounded.
* By passing off the sludge as manure, the Company has not only misguided the farmers but has become responsible for the soil degradation, water contamination and consequential loss of agriculture.
* There has been a steady decline in the agriculture production in the area.
* The production of milk, meat and eggs also has suffered.
* Metals like cadmium, lead and chromium have been detected in the sludge and this has affected the health of the people.
* The general health of the people has been affected with skin ailments, breathing problems and other debilities.
* Low birth weight of children has also been noticed.
* Environment of the village has been acutely damaged by polluting water and soil.
Of course many had noticed these problems, but sometimes it takes a person outside of the problem, an objective observer to see what needs to be collated. Or in this instance what has wrongly been hidden. Johan had learnt to hack, he wanted to know what was really going on. Curiosity you could say. Curiosity led to Control. He wanted to have control over a few more things. Knowing what Dad was really planning on doing with their family business from time to time. What his friends really thought of him. He had always wondered how technology worked. At the outset, no great downsides sprung to mind. He aimed to learn about the phone system before moving on to dominating it. Hopefully his skills would increase with practice, as most things in life follow this rule. He would be a white hat who discovered propaganda and let the fuckers have it.
‘seems like there’s no point’, he spat on reading the next news story, his face contorted for a moment looking genuinely angry. He read this:
In THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Professor TJ Joseph of the Newman College in central Kerala, had his right palm was hacked by a gang of radicals on his way back from Sunday Mass on July 4, was officially blamed for his act during Sunday Mass on Sunday, with a circular of the Syro Malabar church squarely blaming him for the entire episode. He disputed that he was to blame.
The professor was quoted in the news paper as saying that he respected all religions and no one who knew him would believe that he would deliberately hurt the sentiments of any community.
But J became curious, he had used his powers so sparingly, would it hurt to see how Lucy was doing. He had finished with her. Truth be told her friend had been the one he'd wanted at first. Her friend would turn heads on his arm and had nice things, like a nice car. She wasn't as serious or draining. He'd sent the friend jewellery to try and butter her up, anonymously of course. He'd appear where she was and get her talking. This was later in the day, maybe at first he had grown a little attached to Lucy. He'd done a good job of pretending he liked her for a bit. But God damn the other one was beautiful. He knew she could never be happy in Kerala though.
Lucy, he felt a bit guilty about her. She loved him, he knew that. Like a stupid puppy, somehow she only saw the good side to him. But attraction has to be there and she'd put on more weight, his friends had commented. Older than him, she just wasn't an option, other than for a few laughs. She's up tight too, he mailed his sister. Too uptight. At the moment he hated her for a few home truths she had told him the last time she rang, crazed and accusatory. She was being put upon in her home, they would never let her stay with him, he did not want to see her cry again and so he let her be free, that's what he told her at least. Her friend was the type who wouldn't let him being her friend's ex stand in her way, as long as he referred to money. Plenty of money. Although it would hurt Lucy now, it was better that she finds someone who is from the same place and who won’t be going back to India. He could not live without India, he would miss it everyday of his life. He needed to be there soon. Lucy could not even communicate the basics in her father’s language let alone in Malayalam, the national language of Kerala and a palindrome to boot.
In time J was no longer ashamed but he would initially be ashamed that he began to spy on his girlfriends. Spying with a desktop monitoring program attracted him. A key stroke logger could be used. She used to send a lot of emails, I’ll be able to see every webpage she views and her passwords will be there too.
Tapping away he sends an innocuous looking email with an attachment containing a worm, this will take hold of her computer and after she opened it he could follow Lucy’s every move. Why lucy, who knows. it was like watching Britney when she wasn't the perfect princess anymore. Someone who used to be in control despite having nothing, to a jelly like blob who would cry at anything. And listening to her having her nose rubbed in it by her superior 'friends' was also giving him an insight into her circumstances. Slowing down to rubber neck a car crash really. He had a few grins. He decided that she was to blame for them splitting up. He was never very keen on her anyway. When he got home he set up a few fake facebook profiles and used these to contact her. As he could see everything she wrote on facebook and into the room using a remotely controlled web cam, then this made it easier to pick the names of the fake characters.
‘ Hey I wonder what happened to Bibi Sheherezade’, the next thing would be a friend request from Bibi Sheherezade, but she seemed to have changed, a lot. The greeting card she had viewed on line sure caused some problems for her.
The trouble was that as he had disabled the firewall and had cracked all her passwords using the Trojan, anyone in cyberspace could hack her now. And they did, the computer would hardly work as she tried to prepare for her part time college course it always crashed. his computer ran fine. If she applied for a new job, somehow they never received the email. She took it on the chin for a time. She tried on-line dating and received seventy five responses from different men all called Alan. This did not make him feel guilty. Why should it? She hadn't been grateful enough and she's lost it anyway.
Fine, mum yes, have to go, bye, putting down the phone to his Mother whittering on about their business, when is he coming home. Protected by every deluxe software there was. That was Ahmadi.
He did not mean to be spiteful a lot of it was just a joke and he didn’t get why people, would cry or get angry a lot of the time. There were times that he would pretend to be a hapless dater on eHarmony then stand the girl up again and again to see how long she would let him, claiming to be a pilot to see if they were gold diggers.
Sometimes it was a laugh, back in India he had dabbled with two friends who were more involved than he was. He heard that one of them Faisal later became a part of a syndicate, a gang of hackers who were actually employed by a government. He once retrieved lots of files that showed that there were scientific doubts over global warming at the highest levels of academia.
All in all this left him exasperated. He could see, tell from Lucy's web history and her posts on facebook the occasional email that she was unhappy. Her photos showed her putting on weight. Covering up a lot in dowdy clothes, probably the pressure of living with her family. She often said that she loved her family when they knew one another though. Maybe something else was bothering her.
Her friend didn't really respond to him in person too much, maybe once he could have her she lost a little of her shine. But she was still perfect and very funny.
One day, feeling sad and a little guilty, he wonders. Could he ring her? Would she pick up?, thinking he could say something to lucy that might help.
It is too late. Nothing is left. His girlfriend now was very beautiful. Beautiful but very demanding. Bored of her and lonely he would sometimes play at trying to open people’s mail boxes Just for kicks or to try and do the web cam trick although this was in its infancy and difficult to achieve.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had to always tell the truth, so that you knew where you stood? But what if the person was knackered? Sleepy, hormonal? Wouldn’t it be a false positive?
Johan’s new girlfriend will not be around for long, he will be getting married not to someone he wants but someone in a saree. Don’t get this wrong, she will be far more beautiful than the women who went before. Also educated with poise and an MBA. the looks of an air hostess on a airline like emirates. She had her own loves too, before this. Money is something that can’t be forgotten in these types of instances. This was overheard in a telephone conversation between him and Uncle Winston.
Johan wanted to say something but he could only listen in.Sometimes Lucy would say pretty hurtful things in her emails. Once she called him shallow to her friend who lives in London. Another time she said he would never satisfy her intellectually or emotionally. He was apparently too controlled. She had never been happy really, she would breeze over her iphone to Olympia. He was fast beginning to hate Olympia. Yes she was beautiful like her other mate, but she had it in for him. ‘Maybe he was dancing with her because they are together’, he heard. Olympia then laughed a sarcastic chortle as if to point out how very stupid Lucy was when she said she thought they were friends. Olympia also like Lucy, let her temper show only rarely, particularly when driving, or if she felt that anyone was getting more attention in conversation. He had thought these things and told Lucy but she wouldn’t give her up as a friend. She is a sister to me, she'd said peering at him, her little eyes looking surprised.
Lucy never told anyone but she knew everything he did. She genuinely still loved him. She's often wondered how she could love him and why she still did. She settled on accepting that her friend's looks were such that it was understandable that he wold want to send her jewellery and try to be close to her day in day out. Sometimes without telling anyone Lucy used a different computer and met men she thought looked handsome in town. She had to call from a payphone and lie through her teeth to get out. But she was always to scared to fall for them. They didn't always give up but they weren't him. It was written she thinks. It was written that I would be cursed and that you would kill me slowly with all this. No money to move away from the rural home they shared and too many questions would be asked. She'd have to marry soon anyway, that was the plan. Arranged marriage. Yet, rumours were spreading that ' Some might say she is probably mad', that's what they said about her behind her back. It was such a laugh. That family thought they were something special, with an Uncle that was a Headmaster and wealthy relatives in the States. Lucy tried to move away and tried to just accept that Johan would please himself, not her, but in those days that he seemed to love her, he had taken her body and sewed it onto his, so that she could not free herself.
The thing that cemented her belief that he was perfection despite his obvious flaws were the many anonymous poems she would receive by email. All about her situation, she started to write to the author. Convinced it was him, she would not give up on her hope that they would get back together. Then she'd be allowed to live where she wanted too and wouldn't have to put up with always being looked down on in that street. But the rumours had spread and stupid as it sounds, people believe them.
Another late night text from Lucy, his lithe girlfriend shifts in her sleep beside him.
Maybe he should stop writing to her, she is taking it seriously and he didn't set out to hurt her, as the moonlight streams through the blind and onto the little pot plant she'd once brought round there, he wishes hard that he'd gone easy on her.