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The Unknowing Intruder



In a darkened room in the back-end of a small, out-of-the-way building, a lonely man scans the US military database. But he is not a hacker. He is a member of the Professional Hacker Taskforce, an unknown part of the CIA set-up to protect the US government from hacker attacks.
"Sector 5597/A92-3 clear, sir."
"Keep an eye on that sector. Something's going to happen - I just know it!"
Of course, as Mitch knew, nothing would happen, not since the nebUlos Incident. He would just spend a few hours sitting there, maybe sending a couple of explicit e-mails to co-workers, and then go home to his solitary apartment.
"I'll be back soon Mitch - just popping out for a cigarette," said Mitch's supervisor, although Mitch knew what he was really doing - they all did.
Mitch checked to see that the coast was clear, and then brought up a
terminal window. He entered a username and password, just as he always did, but was presented with an "Access Denied" error.
"Damn," sighed Mitch.
For the past few years, Mitch has been working for the PHT as a watcher. The hours and pay were good, but the work was boring, especially since there were virtually no hackers on the Internet anymore. Since the now-dubbed "nebUlos Incident" anyhow. So two years ago, he decided to see how far he could get into the CIA's Secure Data Center before being caught - just to alleviate his boredom. But however much he tried, he could never get past the login screen.
Mitch entered another username and password, and got another "Access Denied" screen. He knew that he couldn't try it again until he logged out of his system, otherwise the internal surveillance team would be alerted if he got it wrong again.
"Hello, what's this?" Mitch noticed an unsual flood of data packets directed towards a company - "Kimberland Enterprises". He tried to log on to the Kimberland network to investigate straight away, but instead received the error "Unable to connect to node".
"Strange," he thought, "I should at least have been able to log on."
He didn't give it a second thought until a couple of hours later, with his supervisor standing behind him.
"Check sector 9012/M55-6."
"OK sir." Mitch typed in a the sector and waited. And that's when he noticed it - a slight pause between his actions and the action being registered on the screen.
"Sir, there's seems to be a delay on my terminal," Mitch said bemusedly.
"Hmm, it's probably nothing, but you should run a full diagnostic anyway."
Mitch wished he hadn't said anything. A full diagnostic was the most boring thing to endure, and lasted the best part of an hour. Grudgingly, he loaded up the program. But instead of the diagnostic program loading up, instead a message appeared saying "KEEP OUT!!!". This message promptly disappeared, and was replaced by the desktop.
"Shit," said Mitch's supervisor, "there's something in your computer."


After a good few hours of going over by internal surveillance, Mitch's computer was given the OK. It was found to have been forced open by the attack on Kimberland, and was immediately fixed. However, Mitch didn't get off so lightly. After a 6 hour interrogation and a lecture on working practices, he was sent home with a 10% decrease in pay for a year and a bruised ego.
The next day, Mitch came back to work, looking forward to a boring shift with a couple of attempts at getting into the SDC. However, he was also thinking about the message - surely there had to be some reason for it? He eventually decided that the hacker was pissed off, and decided to reak some kind of revenge. He put the matter to the back of his mind and logged on.
A few hours later, with his boss off to the Den Of Ill Repute, he decided to have another go at breaking in to the SDC. But this time he decided to use a program he had just finished making - MBreaker1.0. It was completely undectable by the CIA's robots, and he hoped it would make it easier to break in to the SDC. The first two times he used it, however, he was unsuccessful. But something urged him to do something that he'd never done before - try it a third time.
"Let's see - MBreaker sdc.cia-internal.usgovnet."
"MBreaker working...5%...29%...45%...69%...99%...successful."
That surprised him somewhat. Did it say "successful"? He checked again, worried that this was just an illusion created by his sleep-deprived eyes, but no - it really did work. He let out a small cheer and took down the login details. He closed everything down, not wanting to be caught in the middle of rummaging through Alpha-protected files by his supervisor.
The next day, Mitch was looking forward to his supervisor getting his rocks off. In fact, he hoped he payed double - he wanted as much time as he could get in the SDC space. So when his supervisor left for his hour of fun, Mitch loaded up the terminal window and entered the login details. A message saying "Access Granted" was displayed, and he was in.
Most of the files there were probably interesting but looked about as appealing as colonic irrigation. However, one particular document caught Mitch's eye - "Project nebUlos.doc".
"nebUlos?" Mitch thought to himself.
He opened the document, and decrypted it with the decrypter he had "borrowed" from resources. And what followed started off as bemusement, but ended up closer to betrayal.
"The bastards!" exclaimed Mitch.


For those of you that don't know, the nebUlos Incident occured in 2018. It almost hailed the end of the Internet itself. The relatively unknown hacker nebUlos managed to take out most of the routers, leaving only a few to get very congested and the Internet to finally buckle under all the pressure. However, what nebUlos didn't know was that the PHT had booby-trapped one of the routers, which caused nebUlos' machine to freeze, promptly being traced by the PHT and sent to Death Row. Needless to say, this put a lot of hackers off their craft. The few that remained were quickly traced and arrested. What was strange about the incident, though, was that until then no-one had heard of nebUlos, least of all the hacker community.

After having a particularly strong coffee, Mitch sat back down, his hand still shaking. That explains it, he said to himself, That explains why no-one had heard of nebUlos.

THE PROBLEM: Hackers. There are too many for the PHT to handle.
THE SOLUTION: Project nebUlos - a plan to wipe out the hacker scum once and for all. We plan to get one of our agents to bring the Internet to its knees, before quickly finding him and sending him to Death Row. This'll put them off for sure. Of course, we won't tell our agent about THAT part :-D. All we need to do is find someone who'll blindly follow orders and who'll keep his mouth shut. Send any ideas to me.

"Hirem Boutine? Who the hell's he?" Mitch said aloud.
He decided to find out. Using his newly acquired login, he decided to search the SDC. But all he got was "Access Denied". Strange, thought Mitch, they shouldn't have detected me at all.
"Hello Mitch"
Words started appearing on his screen. What the -
"My name is nebUlos"
nebUlos? Wasn't he dead?
"They stole my nick. Listen, I was the one that got you into the SDC. They know you're looking for them. I know about Project nebUlos. With the help of you, I'm going to reveal the truth. Meet me at #neb tonight @ 6. Your supervisor's back now. Speak to you later"
Mitch heard the rattling of a door knob. He looked behind him and then looked back at the screen. All that remained was the trace program.
"Found anything?"


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