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I'm an Undercover FBI Agent on the Deep Web

Part one
My name is Special Agent “Barry Allen” . (Not my real name of course) It's actually my code name. Given to me by my colleagues. You may recognize this name from the comic book character “The Flash”. I was given this name due to my quickness to obtain IP addresses , bypass firewalls and hack into certain deep web sites and shut them down. That is my area of expertise.
However, I've also been assigned to a Joint Task Force before which tracked and arrested drug runners, firearms dealers and human trafficking rings. Believe it or not. The federal government is everywhere. Social media, Reddit, YouTube. You name it. We have our guys on it. We monitor everything. That being said, the FBI only has jurisdiction to operate within the borders of the United States.
In this new digital age we find ourselves living, Cybercrime is much more of a direct threat. Now more than ever…
Yes in the past we feared as a nation, biological and chemical warfare. As an example, right after 9/11 the United States had an Anthrax attack. In the FBI, it was known as “Amerithrax” Letters were mailed containing anthrax spores to several news media offices and to Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, killing 5 people and infecting 17 others. Once the victim opened the letters they would immediately be exposed to the spores. Inhaling them is the most deadly form of the attacks. And it quickly destroys your immune and respiratory system's.Back then there were no known cures and it was difficult to treat as the symptoms often times confused doctors. The death rate once exposed was nearly 95% .No one was ever officially arrested or tried as the primary suspect for this horrific crime. If you ask me though, the scariest part of this investigation is where it led us….To a lab on an Army base. Essentially the US Army was weaponizing Anthrax using independent scientists specializing in microbiological warfare.
Of course though, if you wanted to bring down Western Civilization today , all you'd have to do is manipulate or destroy our satellites and we would be back in the dark ages. Computers, banks , grocery stores and cell phones, power plants, even the water filtration system runs with electronics and the ability to communicate with satellites.
Essentially, our world now depends on this. It's scary to think about. Especially when 14 year olds are hacking into the largest banks in the world from their mother's basement. Somehow they are able to bypass the best security systems we know of. (I personally believe they are using password skimmers) We joke in my department that in order to work for us, you simply only need to be smarter than a teenager.
My background is in IT while in the military. While serving i also obtained several certifications and degrees in my field..
I worked alongside someone i never thought i would. Turns out the federal government often times hires former hackers to “consult” for them. In fact they have an army of internet soldiers at their disposal. I was actually trained by a convicted felon. It's been said he is one of the best hackers in the world. Eventually i was put in contact with men in the FBI. Essentially went through a series of rigorous “tests” to determine my operating field of work. After seeing our skills, they then placed myself and the felon on the Cyber Anti-Terrorism unit (or CAT as we call it) .
Our first assignment was to locate a man on the Deep Web known only as “Captain Death” He runs this anonymous site in which the viewers would donate bitcoin to watch unspeakable acts of torture, mutilation and murder. Often times called “Red Rooms”. After searching for a while, clicking on every single link given to us, we found the exact link which directed us to the host site.We visited the website. For a moment the page was completely black. So we waited a few moments. Suddenly a bright red colored text appears across the top of the screen. “Welcome! To the house of pain, tonight's events will commence in 2 minutes. Enjoy” Looking over at my colleague, Jeff begins penetrating the sites security systems attempting to find the IP address of the hosts location. Viewing the site still with my eyes locked onto the screen. Using my laptop separate from Jeffs. The monitor goes black, Then a video attempts to load. Buffering now for several minutes. “Any luck Jeff”? I ask. “I'm searching for a weakness in the security firewall. Give me a minute” he responds. Frustrated i say, “We may not have a minute” Using access control, Jeff was able to find and manipulate the users login information bringing down the video before the it began. Believe it or not. One of the weakest points to a website can often times be it's login feature. Jeff found a vulnerability in the source codes software and exploited it. Still haven't found the guy. As that process is much more difficult. For now, we can rest a little bit easier knowing his account is compromised.
The best hack is when you can invade a security system and not ever be noticed. This was not one of those instances. “Who are you” appears on Jeff's computer screen. He responds quickly “The Dark Knight” in bold green text as he looks over the offenders account. Attempting to track down banking information. Recent transactions. Even bitcoin exchange.
Searching over the vast amount of data pouring into the site. Seems they have gone through great lengths to keep themselves hidden from the public. The Identity of the perp is still unknown. Patting Jeff on the shoulder i thank him for saving my eyes from witnessing god only knows what. I suppose for now it's a small victory. “Let's take a break Jeff” I urge. Shutting down our laptops we exit the dark cold room we sat in with monitors, computers, servers and many other electronic components all around us. One thing to remember, heat is the enemy of electronics. and for some strange reason, we enjoy freezing our asses off while hacking.
Walking outside Jeff lights up a cigarette and takes a drag. Putting on his sunglasses “Want one?” He asks “No thanks, they really break my concentration, I don't seem to function well with that in my system” i reply… he scoffs and quietly whispers (amateur) while choking and coughing. I smile and look up “Yeah well at least I can breathe” I say laughing. (A smile forming on ny face) We begin walking to a nearby restaurant. My phone lights up and rings loudly. It's my supervisor. “Go for Barry” I speak confidently. My boss is breathing heavily into the phone and says sternly “What's the News on Captain Death”? I begin to inform him on our progress and our struggles. “Keep me posted Barry, good work.” He says. (Not telling him Jeff did most of the work, i feel bad for taking credit for this one)
Reaching the doors of the bar and grill, I notice a man sitting in the corner of the restaurant with his family. Jumping back quickly while peering around the corner. Jeff gives me a strange look as I inform him that man is a fugitive from an earlier investigation. I call in for back up and sit back in our unmarked unit waiting for the Cavalry to arrive as he is armed and extremely dangerous. 15 minutes pass as back up swarms the parking lot. We exit the vehicle and surround the building. Rushing in 12 men strong, guns drawn we make the arrest. Fortunately, he did not resist. No civilians were harmed on the takedown.This man has been on the run for months moving from state to state. I had previously set up a sting operation to illegally buy stolen guns from the man which had been arranged through the deep web. However , this particular sting was an in-person arms deal. He appeared very spooked and got away from us before the transaction was made. After searching his panel van today we found an entire armory of weapons. A few days pass and we now have a search warrant issued by the judge for his last known address. Confiscating all of his computers, hard drives and weapons. My partner and I found a hidden room below the living room floor boards with $1.4 million dollars in it. It also had passports and other documents. He was ready to flee the country for sure. Why he was out in public is beyond me. Though often times, men like him feel they are untouchable and above the law.
It's several weeks later and work has been slow. (Not sure if that is good or bad) Until today that is, I began chatting on forums and meeting interesting characters in chat rooms. On the clear net and deep web. Today I met a dark shadowy figure online. He claims to have worked with a group of hackers who specializes in debit and credit card theft online. (Playing the part ask in a private chat) “How much does this pay?” Moments pass with no answer. I sit and wait for a response. A message appears with a link and a phone number. “Contact him for a trial run, if you do well. He'll set you up with further work” he writes. (Thinking for a moment, finally an adversary worth hunting) Typing quickly I say “Who is he, do you know him personally”? He responds rapidly and the text box closes after he writes “Rule number one, no names!” Fortunately I was able to copy the link and phone number before my computer screen went completely blank.
Reaching for the burner phone i recently acquired i begin dialing the number provided. It rings several times. No answer. So i check out the link i copied. Right before i click on it. My phone lights up and rings beside me forcing me to jump out of my seat. Startled i look at the cell phone. Mildly confused as it reads 'unknown number’. Quickly i answer the phone. A man on the other end speaks. “How did you find this number”? he asks. I inform him i was searching online for a while. Im new and im looking for work. “I was told you're the man to call if i wanted some action, i need the money” i implore. “Competition is next week, meet at this address, winner gets a spot on my team, if you think you're up for the test, be on time” he demands. I thank him and abruptly hang up.
Jeff comes over to my place. He has some info on low level guys in the fraudulent/stolen debit card scheme. Using an unmarked and totally not suspicious surveillance van. We follow a few men on their day to day operations. For the most part, this portion of our job is the worst. Very daunting and boring. Sitting and waiting isn't exactly glamourous as the movies depict it to be.
From what we can tell so far these men are using credit card skimmers. Victims of credit card skimming are completely blindsided by the theft. They notice fraudulent charges on their accounts or money withdrawn from their accounts, but their credit and debit cards never left their possession. How did the theft happen?
You may be wondering, what exactly is this? Credit card skimming is a type of credit card theft where crooks use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card's magnetic stripe. The stripe contains the credit card number and expiration date and the credit card holder's full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card.
These men have been using these small devices all over the local area and surrounding states as well. Targeting the nicer areas of town. Attaching the devices to the ATMs. Sitting a short distance away in their cars watching each victim approaching. Laughing all the way to the bank...so to speak. After several days of stake-outs. Out team makes the arrests. Finding blank cards, machines and large sums of cash on hand. After hours of interrogations we learn a much bigger scheme is in the works. The men inform us that they were merely a distraction for a much larger crime. My supervisor gives us clearance to make a deal with them. Lessening their charges if they are willing to cooperate. Speaking with the men for 3 more hours we learn what's really going on. The next few days are extremely tense as our offices try to warn all the banks and even get the media involved.
Calling every bank, big and small we alert them of the situation that cybercriminals are poised to carry out an “ATM cash-out,” an operation that gives thieves access to untold sums of money by bypassing security measures on an ATM. If successful, the operation has the potential to be a heist unlike any we’ve ever seen.
The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation‘.
These unlimited operations compromise financial institutions or payment processors by installing malware that allows hackers to exploit network access, allowing admin-level access. Once inside, they can disable fraud protection, raise maximum ATM withdrawal amounts (and transaction limits) and withdraw large sums of money. Millions, potentially.
All they’ll need to carry out the attack are debit and credit card numbers found on the dark web, and dummy cards, also known as “blanks,” to attach the numbers to.
The cyber criminals typically create fraudulent copies of legitimate cards by sending stolen card data to co-conspirators who imprint the data on reusable magnetic strip cards, such as gift cards purchased at retail stores. At a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards.
It's nearly a week later and im preparing for my tests. I have my laptop ready in its case. Im extremely nervous.The information given to me is that i am to meet at this very strange building on the outskirts of town. I have no idea what to expect. I must come in first place to become a member of the team and ultimately take down the leader of this cybercrime domestic terrorist.
If things go according to his plan.He could potentially put the entire country on its knees and our banking systems would completely collapse.Chaos and madness will spread like wildfires. Millions of people unable to access their money will riot and destroy stores. Stealing food and everything they can get their hands on. The police will be overrun and unable to do anything about it. The military would most certainly be called in an attempt to regain order. Mass hysteria ensues. To the extremes we have never seen before. I must stop him. Before its too late….
Part 2
The day has come and I just received the call I've long avoided. It is time. The competition for top tier hackers are meeting at this building in which i believed to have been abandoned. We are in the surveillance van. Heading towards our destination. Our equipment is all packed up. Wearing a wire on my chest. (Hopefully they don't pat me down upon entry) Jeff is driving recklessly, as he has a bad habit of being late. Testing the audio in the back of the van. Generally this is done days before an operation. However, we are rather short on time. (Not pointing any fingers)
Leaving the city limits, we now enter a heavily wooded area. There is only one way in. The road is turning into rubble. Small rocks are shooting from our tires .Lights are fading behind us as we venture further into the forest. Jeff now using high beams. We notice it's grown quiet. Other than hearing the tires on the gravel road. There seems to be less and less wildlife in the area. I got this feeling like we are being watched.
Checking my cell phone, we have lost all signal. (Is this a trap)? i thought . Our other equipment seems to work just fine. I can begin to see dim lights in the distance. We must be nearing the competition. “You ready for this?” (Jeff asks while blowing smoke out the window) I start to swat the backdraft of the smoke billowing back into my window. “Yeah, I'm ready, you should really consider cutting back on the smokes.” I utter. Just then, a pack of Marlboros are hurled in my direction. “We're here , Barry. Make sure you have everything.” (Jeff commands) “I'm all set.” I reply.
Jeff stops the Van on the gravel. Exiting the vehicle, i grab my backpack while adjusting my clothes. (I found some glasses with regular lens in them, so as to ‘look the part’) Walking towards the building i speak quietly into my chest microphone. “Test, test chest mic, how do you read me” i ask. (Jeffs growly voice comes into my earpiece) “Loud and clear, good luck” he responds.
One odd thing i notice right away as my feet kick up against the rocks on the ground is that there is only one vehicle other than ours. A large bus. Slightly confused, i look in every direction while also investigating the bus. Seems as though it's empty. (Later i would learn everyone else met up at a different location and they all took the bus to get here).
Reaching the suspicious looking building, i reach for the door handle. As the door opens with little force, loud music hits me as well as bright flashing lights. What the hell? Walking around i find what i was looking for in a back room. “You're late , take your seat.” a well dressed man says (Seeing one empty seat left) Grabbing my laptop from the bag. Booting it up and joining the their local area network. Connection established. A strange software automatically downloads on my laptop.
The man who greeted me walks over to examine my screen. “We will wait until this participant is ready” (he tells everyone else) Minutes pass and the program has finished installing. What's on my screen is a D O D login showing the user name and password empty fields. “Ok everyone, your first task will be to crack the code and gain entry into this system. You have ten minutes to access the servers and find the login information. The first 10 people who accomplish this task will advance to the next round, good luck, your time starts now!” he explained.
A voice come over my earpiece once more .“Ok Barry, i'm linked up with your laptop, i can see everything you see. I will now control everything remotely. How do you read”? Jeff says quietly. “I hear you, I'll let you take over from here.” I reply. My colleague begins typing away like mad. It's been said he can type up to 153 words per minute. Looking at my screen, the computer is changing rapidly, each window appearing with different streams of code. (Almost like what you seen in the movie The Matrix) Which i suppose is a foreign language to most people. It can seem overwhelming at times. Normally. I would be doing this.
Jeff is far better and faster than i. It's not worth the risk. This task is far too important. There is much at stake here. As he continues going in through the firewall. More boxes open and close all over the screen. I appear as if im typing away. As there is a man walking around watching each potential hacker perform their duties. Not sure if it's the leader of this anonymous group. He is in a dark suit and all i can see is the flashes of light from each monitor.
Maybe it's just my paranoia but i feel like he keeps shooting me these awfully suspicious looks. Have to stay focused. Come on Barry. You need this. Concentrate! Keep your head in the game. I can't lose myself in the moment. Oh wait a minute, i just now remembered. I'm not even in control of my machine. Jeff, i sure as hell hope you know what you're doing…
“Barry, you DO know i just heard everything you said, right? Now shut the hell up and let me work. We only have 4 minutes left!!” Jeff urges. “Well then hurry up you lung cancer having prick, I'm dying in here. Must be 90 degrees” i whisper. Just then (Access granted) appears on my screen. The login information has been hacked. Instantly i jump up as if I've just won in BINGO. “I'm in!!!” I yell loudly to the man. He nods and another man comes over to confirm the legitimacy of my claim.
After confirmation is given a few moments later. Myself and several others are ushered to another room not first seen when you enter the building. First we are taken down a flight of unkempt stairs creaking and groaning with every step. Feeling as it could give out at any moment. Our group reaches the bottom of the stairs and are now on a platform. A mechanical whirring is heard as we now are being lowered even further underground. “Where the hell are we going”? One man asks in fear. “Silence fool”!! (Says the man in a nice dark suit) Finally the platform stops as i would approximate we are at least 80 feet underground.
A long dark hallway is before us. Lit dimly by low hanging lights. Which never seem to end as far as we can see. Walking for several minutes i no longer hear my associate in my ear piece. So i remove it quickly before anyone notices. There is a musty smell that has disturbed me immediately coming down here. It grows stronger the closer we get to the direction we are headed. Im last in line only in front of what i assess is a hired goon.
Stopping for a moment im pushed forward on my upper back near my shoulders. (I swear if i wasn't trying to save the world right now, I'd just take out my service pistol and blow this cocksucker away. No one would miss him) We reach a large old wooden door with absolutely no handle or markings of any kind. The leader pushes up against the wall near the door and it opens slowly. Everyone pours in single file line. There is a large wooden table with chairs almost like a conference room. “Take your seats please” the leader addresses. “You're all probably wondering what the hell we are doing down here, well you're here for a job. Also i didn't want any interference of any kind. Just in case the government is watching us. There's no way they could possibly hear what's being said this far underground.” He explains.
“Congratulations to each of you that has moved on to the next round. You 10 have been chosen to advance to the next stage in the competition. This following task will include various stages of difficulty. You will be chosen at random by a computer so it's completely fair. Each of you are to hack into some the world's largest banks and bring down their servers. Please come back to this location. Your names have been taken down and we shall contact you if anything changes. I expect to see all of you back with us .Same time next week. 6 days from now. That is all for now, thank you.”
The leader finishes and leaves the room first. Each man muttering and chatting loudly. I can hear only bits and pieces as everyone is talking loudly. Minutes pass and we are escorted out of the building. Everyone begins walking towards the bus. I veer towards my van and am stopped by the same man who pushed me earlier. “Just where the hell do you think you're going”? He asks. “Oh i didn't get the meet up spot, i had to drive here.” I respond while swatting away his hand from my shoulder. The man reaches in his pocket pulling out a card. “Be at this location and be on time or we will find someone else” the man urges. I snatch the card and stuff it into my wallet.
Reaching the van, i hop in and drive away. “What the hell happened in there”? Jeff demands. I begin informing him of everything that took place and explained the situation. He nods and tells me good work. Wait a minute, this doesn't look right. Jeff looks at me puzzled. Something is off. I don't remember any of this. Now there's a fork in the road. Is this the way we came? I thought i remembered it being only a one way in and one way out. “You went off the gravel road, move over,let me drive.” Jeff says. Hey sorry man, I'm a hacker. Not a tracker. Just get us the hell out of here. I'm more lost than Atlantis.
About an hour passes and Jeff somehow gets us out of the woods and back to the main road. We head back towards my house. But suddenly he makes a detour. “Screw this man. After all that i need a damn drink. You down”? Jeff asks. “Well in the words of my father, If you have time to think, you have time to drink” i utter proudly. (Then again dad was a major alcoholic, so perhaps that's bad advice) “Well alright then” jeff says as he floors the gas pedal.
Roughly 20 minutes later we arrive at his favourite bar where he immediately opens up a tab. I'm worried as I've heard he drinks like a fish. Not to mention we are both armed in a bar. (Yes that's illegal but screw you i am F B I. Remember folks, laws are made to be broken, otherwise, I'd be out of a job)
Crap i think i have lost my colleague. I begin walking around the establishment and am stunned to see this gorgeous blonde woman cross my path. We strike up a conversation and i soon forget about Jeff. (Meh oh well he is a grown man, i am sure he will be fine) She asks what i do for work and of course i lie. Never know when you need to run a background check on someone. Besides telling the whole world you're an undercover FBI agent isn't exactly the best idea. Or so the Bureau instructed us.
We continue chatting for a while and eventually part ways as it began to get late into the night we exchange numbers and she leaves gracefully. I walk outside to see the van still parked in the same spot. A bit puzzled i go over to inspect the van thinking maybe he just passed out in the front seat. I arrive at the driver's side door and open it to find all of our equipment gone and jeff is nowhere to be found. Freaking out i run back into the bar searching all over even behind the bar next to the register.
The bathrooms are empty and it's closing time. I have no idea where he went.. Did he leave with some one or was he was abducted possibly, either way i am completely dead if my supervisor finds out about this. I have to find him and the equipment. And who the hell was that girl, could she have something to do with this? I need answers. Oh no. I just realized, my laptop is also missing. If that information gets in the wrong hands. It could have catastrophic consequences…...
submitted by BeardedVeteran to DrCreepensVault [link] [comments]

I'm an Undercover FBI Agent on the Deep Web.

Part one
My name is Special Agent “Barry Allen” . (Not my real name of course) It's actually my code name. Given to me by my colleagues. You may recognize this name from the comic book character “The Flash”. I was given this name due to my quickness to obtain IP addresses , bypass firewalls and hack into certain deep web sites and shut them down. That is my area of expertise.
However, I've also been assigned to a Joint Task Force before which tracked and arrested drug runners, firearms dealers and human trafficking rings. Believe it or not. The federal government is everywhere. Social media, Reddit, YouTube. You name it. We have our guys on it. We monitor everything. That being said, the FBI only has jurisdiction to operate within the borders of the United States.
In this new digital age we find ourselves living, Cybercrime is much more of a direct threat. Now more than ever…
Yes in the past we feared as a nation, biological and chemical warfare. As an example, right after 9/11 the United States had an Anthrax attack. In the FBI, it was known as “Amerithrax” Letters were mailed containing anthrax spores to several news media offices and to Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, killing 5 people and infecting 17 others. Once the victim opened the letters they would immediately be exposed to the spores. Inhaling them is the most deadly form of the attacks. And it quickly destroys your immune and respiratory system's.Back then there were no known cures and it was difficult to treat as the symptoms often times confused doctors. The death rate once exposed was nearly 95% .No one was ever officially arrested or tried as the primary suspect for this horrific crime. If you ask me though, the scariest part of this investigation is where it led us….To a lab on an Army base. Essentially the US Army was weaponizing Anthrax using independent scientists specializing in microbiological warfare.
Of course though, if you wanted to bring down Western Civilization today , all you'd have to do is manipulate or destroy our satellites and we would be back in the dark ages. Computers, banks , grocery stores and cell phones, power plants, even the water filtration system runs with electronics and the ability to communicate with satellites.
Essentially, our world now depends on this. It's scary to think about. Especially when 14 year olds are hacking into the largest banks in the world from their mother's basement. Somehow they are able to bypass the best security systems we know of. (I personally believe they are using password skimmers) We joke in my department that in order to work for us, you simply only need to be smarter than a teenager.
My background is in IT while in the military. While serving i also obtained several certifications and degrees in my field..
I worked alongside someone i never thought i would. Turns out the federal government often times hires former hackers to “consult” for them. In fact they have an army of internet soldiers at their disposal. I was actually trained by a convicted felon. It's been said he is one of the best hackers in the world. Eventually i was put in contact with men in the FBI. Essentially went through a series of rigorous “tests” to determine my operating field of work. After seeing our skills, they then placed myself and the felon on the Cyber Anti-Terrorism unit (or CAT as we call it) .
Our first assignment was to locate a man on the Deep Web known only as “Captain Death” He runs this anonymous site in which the viewers would donate bitcoin to watch unspeakable acts of torture, mutilation and murder. Often times called “Red Rooms”. After searching for a while, clicking on every single link given to us, we found the exact link which directed us to the host site.We visited the website. For a moment the page was completely black. So we waited a few moments. Suddenly a bright red colored text appears across the top of the screen. “Welcome! To the house of pain, tonight's events will commence in 2 minutes. Enjoy” Looking over at my colleague, Jeff begins penetrating the sites security systems attempting to find the IP address of the hosts location. Viewing the site still with my eyes locked onto the screen. Using my laptop separate from Jeffs. The monitor goes black, Then a video attempts to load. Buffering now for several minutes. “Any luck Jeff”? I ask. “I'm searching for a weakness in the security firewall. Give me a minute” he responds. Frustrated i say, “We may not have a minute” Using access control, Jeff was able to find and manipulate the users login information bringing down the video before the it began. Believe it or not. One of the weakest points to a website can often times be it's login feature. Jeff found a vulnerability in the source codes software and exploited it. Still haven't found the guy. As that process is much more difficult. For now, we can rest a little bit easier knowing his account is compromised.
The best hack is when you can invade a security system and not ever be noticed. This was not one of those instances. “Who are you” appears on Jeff's computer screen. He responds quickly “The Dark Knight” in bold green text as he looks over the offenders account. Attempting to track down banking information. Recent transactions. Even bitcoin exchange.
Searching over the vast amount of data pouring into the site. Seems they have gone through great lengths to keep themselves hidden from the public. The Identity of the perp is still unknown. Patting Jeff on the shoulder i thank him for saving my eyes from witnessing god only knows what. I suppose for now it's a small victory. “Let's take a break Jeff” I urge. Shutting down our laptops we exit the dark cold room we sat in with monitors, computers, servers and many other electronic components all around us. One thing to remember, heat is the enemy of electronics. and for some strange reason, we enjoy freezing our asses off while hacking.
Walking outside Jeff lights up a cigarette and takes a drag. Putting on his sunglasses “Want one?” He asks “No thanks, they really break my concentration, I don't seem to function well with that in my system” i reply… he scoffs and quietly whispers (amateur) while choking and coughing. I smile and look up “Yeah well at least I can breathe” I say laughing. (A smile forming on ny face) We begin walking to a nearby restaurant. My phone lights up and rings loudly. It's my supervisor. “Go for Barry” I speak confidently. My boss is breathing heavily into the phone and says sternly “What's the News on Captain Death”? I begin to inform him on our progress and our struggles. “Keep me posted Barry, good work.” He says. (Not telling him Jeff did most of the work, i feel bad for taking credit for this one)
Reaching the doors of the bar and grill, I notice a man sitting in the corner of the restaurant with his family. Jumping back quickly while peering around the corner. Jeff gives me a strange look as I inform him that man is a fugitive from an earlier investigation. I call in for back up and sit back in our unmarked unit waiting for the Cavalry to arrive as he is armed and extremely dangerous. 15 minutes pass as back up swarms the parking lot. We exit the vehicle and surround the building. Rushing in 12 men strong, guns drawn we make the arrest. Fortunately, he did not resist. No civilians were harmed on the takedown.This man has been on the run for months moving from state to state. I had previously set up a sting operation to illegally buy stolen guns from the man which had been arranged through the deep web. However , this particular sting was an in-person arms deal. He appeared very spooked and got away from us before the transaction was made. After searching his panel van today we found an entire armory of weapons. A few days pass and we now have a search warrant issued by the judge for his last known address. Confiscating all of his computers, hard drives and weapons. My partner and I found a hidden room below the living room floor boards with $1.4 million dollars in it. It also had passports and other documents. He was ready to flee the country for sure. Why he was out in public is beyond me. Though often times, men like him feel they are untouchable and above the law.
It's several weeks later and work has been slow. (Not sure if that is good or bad) Until today that is, I began chatting on forums and meeting interesting characters in chat rooms. On the clear net and deep web. Today I met a dark shadowy figure online. He claims to have worked with a group of hackers who specializes in debit and credit card theft online. (Playing the part ask in a private chat) “How much does this pay?” Moments pass with no answer. I sit and wait for a response. A message appears with a link and a phone number. “Contact him for a trial run, if you do well. He'll set you up with further work” he writes. (Thinking for a moment, finally an adversary worth hunting) Typing quickly I say “Who is he, do you know him personally”? He responds rapidly and the text box closes after he writes “Rule number one, no names!” Fortunately I was able to copy the link and phone number before my computer screen went completely blank.
Reaching for the burner phone i recently acquired i begin dialing the number provided. It rings several times. No answer. So i check out the link i copied. Right before i click on it. My phone lights up and rings beside me forcing me to jump out of my seat. Startled i look at the cell phone. Mildly confused as it reads 'unknown number’. Quickly i answer the phone. A man on the other end speaks. “How did you find this number”? he asks. I inform him i was searching online for a while. Im new and im looking for work. “I was told you're the man to call if i wanted some action, i need the money” i implore. “Competition is next week, meet at this address, winner gets a spot on my team, if you think you're up for the test, be on time” he demands. I thank him and abruptly hang up.
Jeff comes over to my place. He has some info on low level guys in the fraudulent/stolen debit card scheme. Using an unmarked and totally not suspicious surveillance van. We follow a few men on their day to day operations. For the most part, this portion of our job is the worst. Very daunting and boring. Sitting and waiting isn't exactly glamourous as the movies depict it to be.
From what we can tell so far these men are using credit card skimmers. Victims of credit card skimming are completely blindsided by the theft. They notice fraudulent charges on their accounts or money withdrawn from their accounts, but their credit and debit cards never left their possession. How did the theft happen?
You may be wondering, what exactly is this? Credit card skimming is a type of credit card theft where crooks use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card's magnetic stripe. The stripe contains the credit card number and expiration date and the credit card holder's full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card.
These men have been using these small devices all over the local area and surrounding states as well. Targeting the nicer areas of town. Attaching the devices to the ATMs. Sitting a short distance away in their cars watching each victim approaching. Laughing all the way to the bank...so to speak. After several days of stake-outs. Out team makes the arrests. Finding blank cards, machines and large sums of cash on hand. After hours of interrogations we learn a much bigger scheme is in the works. The men inform us that they were merely a distraction for a much larger crime. My supervisor gives us clearance to make a deal with them. Lessening their charges if they are willing to cooperate. Speaking with the men for 3 more hours we learn what's really going on. The next few days are extremely tense as our offices try to warn all the banks and even get the media involved.
Calling every bank, big and small we alert them of the situation that cybercriminals are poised to carry out an “ATM cash-out,” an operation that gives thieves access to untold sums of money by bypassing security measures on an ATM. If successful, the operation has the potential to be a heist unlike any we’ve ever seen.
The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation‘.
These unlimited operations compromise financial institutions or payment processors by installing malware that allows hackers to exploit network access, allowing admin-level access. Once inside, they can disable fraud protection, raise maximum ATM withdrawal amounts (and transaction limits) and withdraw large sums of money. Millions, potentially.
All they’ll need to carry out the attack are debit and credit card numbers found on the dark web, and dummy cards, also known as “blanks,” to attach the numbers to.
The cyber criminals typically create fraudulent copies of legitimate cards by sending stolen card data to co-conspirators who imprint the data on reusable magnetic strip cards, such as gift cards purchased at retail stores. At a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards.
It's nearly a week later and im preparing for my tests. I have my laptop ready in its case. Im extremely nervous.The information given to me is that i am to meet at this very strange building on the outskirts of town. I have no idea what to expect. I must come in first place to become a member of the team and ultimately take down the leader of this cybercrime domestic terrorist.
If things go according to his plan.He could potentially put the entire country on its knees and our banking systems would completely collapse.Chaos and madness will spread like wildfires. Millions of people unable to access their money will riot and destroy stores. Stealing food and everything they can get their hands on. The police will be overrun and unable to do anything about it. The military would most certainly be called in an attempt to regain order. Mass hysteria ensues. To the extremes we have never seen before. I must stop him. Before its too late….
Part 2
The day has come and I just received the call I've long avoided. It is time. The competition for top tier hackers are meeting at this building in which i believed to have been abandoned. We are in the surveillance van. Heading towards our destination. Our equipment is all packed up. Wearing a wire on my chest. (Hopefully they don't pat me down upon entry) Jeff is driving recklessly, as he has a bad habit of being late. Testing the audio in the back of the van. Generally this is done days before an operation. However, we are rather short on time. (Not pointing any fingers)
Leaving the city limits, we now enter a heavily wooded area. There is only one way in. The road is turning into rubble. Small rocks are shooting from our tires .Lights are fading behind us as we venture further into the forest. Jeff now using high beams. We notice it's grown quiet. Other than hearing the tires on the gravel road. There seems to be less and less wildlife in the area. I got this feeling like we are being watched.
Checking my cell phone, we have lost all signal. (Is this a trap)? i thought . Our other equipment seems to work just fine. I can begin to see dim lights in the distance. We must be nearing the competition. “You ready for this?” (Jeff asks while blowing smoke out the window) I start to swat the backdraft of the smoke billowing back into my window. “Yeah, I'm ready, you should really consider cutting back on the smokes.” I utter. Just then, a pack of Marlboros are hurled in my direction. “We're here , Barry. Make sure you have everything.” (Jeff commands) “I'm all set.” I reply.
Jeff stops the Van on the gravel. Exiting the vehicle, i grab my backpack while adjusting my clothes. (I found some glasses with regular lens in them, so as to ‘look the part’) Walking towards the building i speak quietly into my chest microphone. “Test, test chest mic, how do you read me” i ask. (Jeffs growly voice comes into my earpiece) “Loud and clear, good luck” he responds.
One odd thing i notice right away as my feet kick up against the rocks on the ground is that there is only one vehicle other than ours. A large bus. Slightly confused, i look in every direction while also investigating the bus. Seems as though it's empty. (Later i would learn everyone else met up at a different location and they all took the bus to get here).
Reaching the suspicious looking building, i reach for the door handle. As the door opens with little force, loud music hits me as well as bright flashing lights. What the hell? Walking around i find what i was looking for in a back room. “You're late , take your seat.” a well dressed man says (Seeing one empty seat left) Grabbing my laptop from the bag. Booting it up and joining the their local area network. Connection established. A strange software automatically downloads on my laptop.
The man who greeted me walks over to examine my screen. “We will wait until this participant is ready” (he tells everyone else) Minutes pass and the program has finished installing. What's on my screen is a D O D login showing the user name and password empty fields. “Ok everyone, your first task will be to crack the code and gain entry into this system. You have ten minutes to access the servers and find the login information. The first 10 people who accomplish this task will advance to the next round, good luck, your time starts now!” he explained.
A voice come over my earpiece once more .“Ok Barry, i'm linked up with your laptop, i can see everything you see. I will now control everything remotely. How do you read”? Jeff says quietly. “I hear you, I'll let you take over from here.” I reply. My colleague begins typing away like mad. It's been said he can type up to 153 words per minute. Looking at my screen, the computer is changing rapidly, each window appearing with different streams of code. (Almost like what you seen in the movie The Matrix) Which i suppose is a foreign language to most people. It can seem overwhelming at times. Normally. I would be doing this.
Jeff is far better and faster than i. It's not worth the risk. This task is far too important. There is much at stake here. As he continues going in through the firewall. More boxes open and close all over the screen. I appear as if im typing away. As there is a man walking around watching each potential hacker perform their duties. Not sure if it's the leader of this anonymous group. He is in a dark suit and all i can see is the flashes of light from each monitor.
Maybe it's just my paranoia but i feel like he keeps shooting me these awfully suspicious looks. Have to stay focused. Come on Barry. You need this. Concentrate! Keep your head in the game. I can't lose myself in the moment. Oh wait a minute, i just now remembered. I'm not even in control of my machine. Jeff, i sure as hell hope you know what you're doing…
“Barry, you DO know i just heard everything you said, right? Now shut the hell up and let me work. We only have 4 minutes left!!” Jeff urges. “Well then hurry up you lung cancer having prick, I'm dying in here. Must be 90 degrees” i whisper. Just then (Access granted) appears on my screen. The login information has been hacked. Instantly i jump up as if I've just won in BINGO. “I'm in!!!” I yell loudly to the man. He nods and another man comes over to confirm the legitimacy of my claim.
After confirmation is given a few moments later. Myself and several others are ushered to another room not first seen when you enter the building. First we are taken down a flight of unkempt stairs creaking and groaning with every step. Feeling as it could give out at any moment. Our group reaches the bottom of the stairs and are now on a platform. A mechanical whirring is heard as we now are being lowered even further underground. “Where the hell are we going”? One man asks in fear. “Silence fool”!! (Says the man in a nice dark suit) Finally the platform stops as i would approximate we are at least 80 feet underground.
A long dark hallway is before us. Lit dimly by low hanging lights. Which never seem to end as far as we can see. Walking for several minutes i no longer hear my associate in my ear piece. So i remove it quickly before anyone notices. There is a musty smell that has disturbed me immediately coming down here. It grows stronger the closer we get to the direction we are headed. Im last in line only in front of what i assess is a hired goon.
Stopping for a moment im pushed forward on my upper back near my shoulders. (I swear if i wasn't trying to save the world right now, I'd just take out my service pistol and blow this cocksucker away. No one would miss him) We reach a large old wooden door with absolutely no handle or markings of any kind. The leader pushes up against the wall near the door and it opens slowly. Everyone pours in single file line. There is a large wooden table with chairs almost like a conference room. “Take your seats please” the leader addresses. “You're all probably wondering what the hell we are doing down here, well you're here for a job. Also i didn't want any interference of any kind. Just in case the government is watching us. There's no way they could possibly hear what's being said this far underground.” He explains.
“Congratulations to each of you that has moved on to the next round. You 10 have been chosen to advance to the next stage in the competition. This following task will include various stages of difficulty. You will be chosen at random by a computer so it's completely fair. Each of you are to hack into some the world's largest banks and bring down their servers. Please come back to this location. Your names have been taken down and we shall contact you if anything changes. I expect to see all of you back with us .Same time next week. 6 days from now. That is all for now, thank you.”
The leader finishes and leaves the room first. Each man muttering and chatting loudly. I can hear only bits and pieces as everyone is talking loudly. Minutes pass and we are escorted out of the building. Everyone begins walking towards the bus. I veer towards my van and am stopped by the same man who pushed me earlier. “Just where the hell do you think you're going”? He asks. “Oh i didn't get the meet up spot, i had to drive here.” I respond while swatting away his hand from my shoulder. The man reaches in his pocket pulling out a card. “Be at this location and be on time or we will find someone else” the man urges. I snatch the card and stuff it into my wallet.
Reaching the van, i hop in and drive away. “What the hell happened in there”? Jeff demands. I begin informing him of everything that took place and explained the situation. He nods and tells me good work. Wait a minute, this doesn't look right. Jeff looks at me puzzled. Something is off. I don't remember any of this. Now there's a fork in the road. Is this the way we came? I thought i remembered it being only a one way in and one way out. “You went off the gravel road, move over,let me drive.” Jeff says. Hey sorry man, I'm a hacker. Not a tracker. Just get us the hell out of here. I'm more lost than Atlantis.
About an hour passes and Jeff somehow gets us out of the woods and back to the main road. We head back towards my house. But suddenly he makes a detour. “Screw this man. After all that i need a damn drink. You down”? Jeff asks. “Well in the words of my father, If you have time to think, you have time to drink” i utter proudly. (Then again dad was a major alcoholic, so perhaps that's bad advice) “Well alright then” jeff says as he floors the gas pedal.
Roughly 20 minutes later we arrive at his favourite bar where he immediately opens up a tab. I'm worried as I've heard he drinks like a fish. Not to mention we are both armed in a bar. (Yes that's illegal but screw you i am F B I. Remember folks, laws are made to be broken, otherwise, I'd be out of a job)
Crap i think i have lost my colleague. I begin walking around the establishment and am stunned to see this gorgeous blonde woman cross my path. We strike up a conversation and i soon forget about Jeff. (Meh oh well he is a grown man, i am sure he will be fine) She asks what i do for work and of course i lie. Never know when you need to run a background check on someone. Besides telling the whole world you're an undercover FBI agent isn't exactly the best idea. Or so the Bureau instructed us.
We continue chatting for a while and eventually part ways as it began to get late into the night we exchange numbers and she leaves gracefully. I walk outside to see the van still parked in the same spot. A bit puzzled i go over to inspect the van thinking maybe he just passed out in the front seat. I arrive at the driver's side door and open it to find all of our equipment gone and jeff is nowhere to be found. Freaking out i run back into the bar searching all over even behind the bar next to the register.
The bathrooms are empty and it's closing time. I have no idea where he went.. Did he leave with some one or was he was abducted possibly, either way i am completely dead if my supervisor finds out about this. I have to find him and the equipment. And who the hell was that girl, could she have something to do with this? I need answers. Oh no. I just realized, my laptop is also missing. If that information gets in the wrong hands. It could have catastrophic consequences…...
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