Annoyed by the pointless reading, Lulz put the book down among the papers scattered on the desk. Those handbooks for would-be hackers had put him in a bad mood; always the same geeky platitudes, that never dealt with an in-depth look at hacking techniques. He had been asked to write a review of that book for a computer security magazine, but he didn’t want to sell out for a few bucks, that’s why he was going to turn the offer down.
“That stuff’s for lamers”, he said to himself as he turned on his laptop, “just as I thought”.
He stood up to get something to drink, making his way through stacks of photocopied academic books, that were lying in large boxes arranged haphazardly by the bed. The minibar was in a corner of the tiny room, next to a shabby armchair which he usually chilled out on in the evening in front of the TV.
“Damn, I need to stock up on beer!”, he exclaimed, grabbing the last can.
Back at the computer he logged in to Twitter, took a look at his latest messages, then wrote a new one for his followers: ‘Don’t buy Hacker's Book by John McLoan, it’s too expensive and it’s useless’.
He watched contentedly as the message appeared at the top of the list of other tweets.
“And now let’s get back to the serious stuff”, he said, opening a new browser window.
He entered the darknet, an encrypted subnet of the Internet whose data traffic couldn’t be intercepted from the outside. In this digital world where there were no rules or laws, Lulz felt at home. In there he was free to do anything — at his own risk or peril — and he had built a reputation for himself as a computer hacker. Yes, he did it for the lulz but also and, above all, for the money, passing up the chance to join the elite, despite being one of the best hackers around. But it didn’t matter, at that moment money was more useful to him than glory. He entered the chat, in his virtual office; there was only one user online — a certain Rimor — who Lulz had never seen before, for sure a new customer. He clicked on the nickname and launched the command Whois in order to find out the address the guy was connecting from: he was behind an anonymous proxy server, useless for trying to trace his location.
“Okay, so let’s see what he wants”, he murmured, while writing in chat.
Lulz: Hi Rimor, welcome to my office
Rimor: hi lulz nice to meet u
Lulz: Do you need help?
Rimor: yes i need to ask u a favour
Lulz: Hmm I’m a bit allergic to favours
Rimor: obviously well-paid
Lulz: But who sent you?
Rimor: kylie .... she told me ur the best in the field!!!
Lulz: LOL she’s always over-the-top :)
Hmm can he be trusted?
He set up a network monitor in order to check that there weren’t any outside attempts at intrusion.
Lulz: What do you need?
Rimor: a hotmail pwd
Lulz: What a shame! I don’t deal with that crap sorry
Rimor: pls it’s important i will pay u > the going rate
Lulz: Who’s the target?
Rimor: my girl XD
Lulz: What a bummer! I bet you want to know if she’s cheating on you
Rimor: wot else could i want?
Lulz: Can’t you find it out by yourself? If you got here you should know how to ...
Rimor: i’ve tried brute but didn’t find anything
Who is this moron? He uses brute force to find an email password? You’ll grow old trying thousands of combinations, my dear.
Lulz: Only lamers use brute force, you’ve got to use your brains!
Rimor: come on pls help me
Lulz: How much are you willing to donate to the cause?
Rimor: up to 150
Lulz: Ok, you need to give it to Kylie in advance
Rimor: already done!!! XD
Lulz: Son of a ... oh alright, give me your girlfriend’s email
Lulz: What’s her name?
Rimor: Giulia Morandi
Rimor: nearly 18
Lulz: Where’s she from?
Oh wow, one of my neighbours.
Lulz: Ok, you’ll get word from that little tart Kylie
Rimor: thnx lulz ur a friend!!!
Lulz: Don’t spread it about ... and careful not to screw up!
Rimor: i already know all that
Lulz: Ok, bye
Rimor: bye ;-)
He hated those casual lamer jobs, but he needed them to make a bit of cash. They then allowed him to perfect his phishing techniques; it was just a matter of finding the right bait and waiting for the victim to bite. In general, his business partner Kylie got him those jobs and also looked after his PR. He was a great guy and a trustworthy friend but he just needed to learn how to control his impulses better, especially during their cyber raids. But he didn’t understand why he insisted on using that female nickname.
“Let’s have a little look at this Giulia”, he said opening a new browser.
He logged in to Facebook as Anna Rinaldi, an account that Kylie had set up to manage for him, right down to the smallest details; with three hundred and fifty friends it didn't run the risk of looking like a fake one by requesting new friends. He typed Giulia’s email into the search bar and happily discovered that the girl was signed up to the social network. From her photo she looked cute: straight brown hair, soft features, light make up and large, bright eyes. He went into her public profile to see if there was any other useful information.
“Crazy!”, he exclaimed, shaking his head with fatherly disapproval. Giulia’s virtual diary had everything: photos, friends, family, hobbies, and interests.
“I don’t need to go into her private profile, but while I’m here ...”, he remarked, clicking on Add friend.
He took a look at Giulia’s hobbies and interests: astrology, swimming, volleyball, playing around, recipes, horoscopes, Prada, Puglia, Bari, Vodafone, pizza, Tiziano Ferro. It turned out that in her relationship status she was involved with Gianni Guarino.
“So you’d be Rimor?”.
He placed the cursor under the guy’s name, making his photo appear.
“You look exactly like a lamer”.
In contrast to the girl, Gianni had made his profile private, for which, apart from the name and photo, there was no information. He went back to Giulia’s page and clicked on the list of friends; he quickly scanned the list of around four hundred contacts: he didn’t seem to know anyone.
“Okay, let’s see if she accepts my friend request”, he said, getting up, “in any case, finding her password will be child’s play”.
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