“Quip, bring it up on the big screen so we can show Petra what we did accomplish.”
Quip launched the 3-D image and Jacob explained, “Petra, the behavioral pattern approach to building a digital cancer for our ghost code has yielded some very good results. The image on the screen is actually a synthesis of logging activity, code changes going on under the notice of the virus scanning software, and the pirating of virus-building code from other programs.
“Quip thought it might be more useful to visualize the activity on screen, so we let ICABOD paint the activity in this 3-D image, allowing us to see in real-time what’s going on.
“Watch how our version of the ghost code builds itself along with the behavioral patterns that we extracted from the various target sites that were hit. The material that we received from Carlos yielded the most useful patterns because it showed us the most subdirectories out of all of our research. Every one of our inspected ghost code sites had some of these subdirectory structures, but he found the most. Realizing that the creator was anxious to completely erase his subdirectories, used to store pirated code, meant that he was not changing it from one version to the next.”
Quip sat up straighter and seemed somewhat coherent again, as he added, “With known file and directory storage usage, we surmised that whenever this behavior was detected it would indicate that the ghost code was present and beginning to assemble the digital virus. This is key to us, because we want to launch our attack on the ghost code and not against normal code. Once we have the pattern of creating subdirectories, copying code snippets, and file size increases that go unreported to the operating system log files or the anti-virus software, we have our pattern. More importantly we have our target vector.”
Jacob picked up the explanation thread as he continued, “You can see in real time on the 3-D screen the normal operations of a computer operating system with the ebb and flow of digital activity. Now, Quip, launch our ghost- wannabe program and observe how it behaves.
“The virus I built operates so fast, I had to put in some timer code to slow it down so we could observe the growth characteristics. Understand our goal was not to build a competitor virus but build a target. This is much like shooting skeet where we have a target thrown in a predictable way so we can learn to shoot it with enough lead.”
Petra’s anger disappeared as she watched the 3-D image move almost like a series of clouds in a dance arrangement. She witnessed as the image developed a pod on one side of the larger cloud while quick light flashes emanating from it suggested that snippets of code had been snatched. She was witnessing the growth of a computer-generated digital life. It was breathtakingly beautiful but recognizable as potentially deadly.
Quip said, “See how fast it can find and collect usable code material to assemble itself? I’m quite glad that we have old Jacob boy on our side. Okay, Jacob, launch the cancer.”
With a few keystrokes, Jacob launched the cancer into the fray, and in moments the digital growth started to shrink and finally was gone. Jacob sat and smiled with a hint of self-congratulation.
“How many is that now, Quip? I’ve lost track.”
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