Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Stub 9.5: The Doxxing Hounds of Hell

Dilip had gotten into the habit of taking a midnight walk through the common area of the nearly deserted Bora-Bora project. Sometimes Radhika and Tory were in there programming. Other times they were not.

Tonight they were arguing hammer-and-tongs, laptops on the table forgotten in the intensity of their discussion.

Dilip walked over to the vending machines and ordered two, double-latte, extra nutmegs and carried them over to “his girls”.

Dilip did not have a romantic interest in the girls. They had boyfriends and he had a girlfriend. Admittedly, she was seldom in town but she was a redhead, or used to be a redhead before her hair turned a premature gray. Gingers don’t come with an expiration date.

His interest was academic. Girls programmed differently.

Boys would be hammering on keys writing very efficient code that did the wrong thing.

Girls talked, and talked and talked and took a little longer with the actual coding portion. The coding was often not as elegant in terms of resource usage but the actual deliverables were more likely to satisfy the customer.

Dilip kicked back and lit up a cigar. The air conditioning was more than a match for the fumes. Watching girls argue can be more fun that watching commercial TV.

Radihka said, “It doesn’t do us any good to send out the information if the people receiving it cannot attach it to the proper person.”

“But we agreed that vector didn’t work.” Tory shot back. “People don’t always look at their texts when they come in. The target will have moved by then.”

“Yep, we did agree to that. But it means we need some other way of tagging the target.” Radihka said.

“We have an ass-load of pictures. Why can’t we use a photo?” Tory asked.

“I looked at them. They are junk.” Radihka said, gratefully taking a sip of the hot drink Dilip had deposited in front of her.

“Show me.” Tory commanded.

Radihka popped open the straw-man, bench-marking database and navigated to a branch that had an index of images. She displayed them in tile mode, extra large thumbnails. Dilip appreciated the courtesy. He could see them from where he was sitting.

“Look at these images.” Radihka said with disgust. “They are supposed to be avatars but these morons have pictures of moneys, dogs, airplanes and omelets.”

“I am OK with cute, but these images won’t do us any good.” Radihka said.

“How about other directories?” Tory asked.

Radikha popped open directory after directory. Images of over-exposed bodies, in all senses of the word, on beaches appeared in one directory. Another was filled with pictures of small dogs. A third with porn, presumably of somebody other than the account holder. Cars, celebrities, groups of people, platters of BBQ...images filled the directories with no rhyme or reason.

Dilip cleared his throat.

“What are you looking for?” he asked.

“Basically, we need mug-shots.” Radikha said.

“Why?” Dilip asked.

Tory and Radikha paused. Radikha looked over at Tory. Tory gave an almost imperceptible nod in the affirmative.

“We are tweaking a program that doxxes people.” Radikha said.

Dilip winced. “That is not very ethical.” he felt compelled to tell them.

“We know that.” Tory said with a tone that said “Duh!”

"But we are doxxing the Cali government officials who snatched up our boyfriends. They disappeared and haven’t sent us a single text or anything.” Tory said.

“I don’t intend to be mean, but did you consider that they might have dumped you” Dilip asked. He expected to get screamed at.

Tory answered him very seriously. “I checked around. NONE of the Cali programmers have contacted anybody. They were ‘disappeared’.”

That was news to Dilip and he fully intended to follow up on it. But for the mean time he continued to engage the girls.

“So, what does this doxxing program try to do?” Dilip asked.

“It shares bank-account balances and income statements of high level Cali officials with the twenty people closest to the official.” Radikha said.

“The twenty non-government people, that is.” Tory corrected.

“The problem we envision is that we can ping the twenty people’s phones but how are they going to know who of the twenty-one is the Cali rat-bastard?” Radikha said.

Dilip considered for a minute, then he asked “Would it be useful to have access to the file of Department of Transportation mug-shots, the ones that go on driver’s licenses?”

“Why would anybody in Sedelia have Cali mug-shots?” Tory asked.

“We were the same country not that long ago.” Dilip said. “Sedelia still has legacy copies of the database, complete with pictures. Some of the images will be three years old but I think that is what you are looking for.”

“Yeah, that would be perfect!” Radikha said. “But who the hell can hack their way into that?” she asked.

Dilip’s eyes twinkled. “I might know a few people.”

Dilip call Liz Huerta and got her out of bed. She was used to her boss’s weird hours. “Liz, I need two access codes generated for one of the legacy Cali DOT databases. Restrict the access to records with addresses in what is now Cali. Text the access codes to these phone numbers….”

Dilip frantically indicated he needed their phone numbers. They scribbled them down on a piece of scrap paper.

“...these phone numbers _____ and _____.”

“Yeah. Sorry about waking you up. You are a princess.” Dilip concluded.

Two minutes later the girl’s phones pinged.

The girls drilled into the old Cali database after giving the access codes. The haul was even better than they dreamed. The database had hidden fields that listed the driver’s universal identification number which made linking the picture to the official a trivial task.

It took a few more minutes to add a few more lines of java script that put the target’s mugshot at the top of the balance sheets and income statement.

The girls were getting ready to compile and run the program when Dilip cleared his throat.

They looked over. He had earned his way in.

“The updates will distribute much faster if you only recompile the sub-module that formats the page you are sending.” Dilip said. “Small is fast.”

Somehow he had read their minds. They had been about to recompile the seven thousand odd lines of code and relaunch. The sub-module in question was less than two hundred lines.

The tiny patch was compiled and launched, and the second pack of doxxing hounds from hell were launched into the wild.

Next Installment


  1. Replies
    1. Wow! You are either a third-shift guy or wake up early to get ahead of an ugly commute.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. Expect the plot to wander around a bit. Revolutions are like that.


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