Sovereign nations couldn’t quite accept the claim of UN jurisdiction over cyber warfare since the dark net players were also cyber assassins for those same governments. It was an interesting catch-22; countries had to play ball with other nations for the good of the digital universe but at the same time were committed to subverting other countries. The loose confederations among sovereign powers was to cooperate to stop the freelance bad actors. Populations at large believed they were being protected from hate crimes and false news reports, but it only really provided modest comfort in the combat arena of the digital universe.
The biggest problem was finding enough freelance dark net operators to blame to cover up the cyber warfare actions between sovereigns. The CESPOOL team members from each country were communications linked with one another so they could be rolled into highly engineered situations and sanitize the bad actors. The backroom computer geeks of the CESPOOL team were constantly hunting for new suspects that were in fact freelancing in the digital space but could be made to order for sovereign cyber warfare crimes. It was the 21st century version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
There was a caste system in the CESPOOL organization. The backroom computer geeks, sifting through millions of social postings with their big data engines powered by AI-enhanced supercomputers, were basically useless as field operatives. The resources all had imagined and real prestige between one another, even though they were each recruited from different talent pools. All were required to be fluent in cyber combat. When the backroom bunch couldn’t shut down a bad operator, the field operatives had the teeth to physically take matters right to the source.
The newest tool in the backroom arsenal was a horrific cyber instrument of choice, LUCIFER, named for its ability to Logistically Undermine Computers Independently Forcing Elliptical Retribution. The instrument’s specialty was to intercept a bad actor that was trying to break into an organization or individual’s PC and launch a retribution action that destroyed the assailant’s machine. Frying someone’s computer from the safety of one’s operations area was a very attractive option for those CESPOOL team members who simply couldn’t operate the standard issue weapons.
LUCIFER also had a softer, more analytic side to its programs. Beginning in 2016, Fake News was joined to Fake Video. Regular media was being made irrelevant by social media and both suffered from the same flaw – unsubstantiated stories. As people came to distrust both and only believe what they could actually see, this new demon surfaced.
Using AI-enhanced supercomputers and some very clever audio and video excerpts, coupled with actual filmed mannerisms, completely fabricated videos could be built to add to the Internet’s disinformation. Reputations of news anchors, politicians, sports heroes, and celebrities could be destroyed or enhanced using these bogus videos. Fake Engineering of Video to Lead Others or FEVLO, as it was called in the compound, usually brought both sides of the CESPOOL team to work a case.
LUCIFER’s job was to analyze every regular and social media video to confirm or refute its authenticity. However, LUCIFER’s analyses were not flawless at catching the manufactured videos, so it became a statistics exercise. The rule of thumb was if LUCIFER came back with anything over 87% probability of engineered, then it was suspect. But this was a squishy benchmark. If it was ruled a FEVLO, then the field operatives were sent in to destroy the perpetrator. Destroyed was the operative word since no one was ever tried for this crime. Even though there were several accused, no trial for any offenders was recorded.
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