Chapter 2 – The backup plan
Otto didn’t have long to wait now until midnight. It was 11:55 p.m, and he was sitting up awake in his bed. He couldn’t quite believe that something bad was really going to happen. He was counting down the minutes until he could forget about this crazy thing and go to sleep.
“How is the tracking going?” asked the driver of the van who was now parking just a few hundred metres down the road from the house. “Well”, said one of the other people in the van who was in charge of tracking, “we have a strange situation. It appears that the phone we have been hunting is in the barn over there [the man pointed to a barn about 100 metres away] as it has the same MAC address, phone number and sim card as the phone we have been tracking, but we think that the only houses which are rented out around here are a group of houses over there [he pointed in the opposite direction], so I think we’re going to have to split our team and infiltrate both areas. We just need to hope that the boy is in the barn as that will cause minimal disruption to the area.” “But I thought we couldn’t find the boy without our app installed.” said the driver. “We will try and install the app on the phone which we have an approximate location of. We will begin the public WiFi attack now.” replied one of the other people in the van who was carrying a tablet sized device. He pressed a button on it and the screen lit up with a few options. He pressed on the “Start WiFi network attack” button and set the interval for changing networks to every 20 seconds.
Otto was still in his bed. He had just heard a big vehicle approach the area near the house and he was surprised as it was normally a very remote area. He thought something might be about to happen after all. He got out an old iPad which he had wiped earlier and scanned for networks. Loads of them were appearing and disappearing including ones he remembered from around his house, school and town. If this wasn’t a dream, it was definitely the public WiFi hacking method being fired at all phones in the area, and Otto hoped that his old phone would be hacked quite soon.
“We’ve got something.” said the man holding the tablet shaped device. “What type of device is it?” asked the driver. “It’s an iPhone 5, and we have full access.” replied the man holding the tablet. He started pressing buttons on the device again, including “Install full management profile” and “Install WhatsApp copy project”
Otto checked the status of his new phone. Luckily, it was still disconnected apart from the direct connection he had set up to his old phone so he could see what was happening on it. His old phone was connected to a suspicious looking device, so Otto connected to it remotely to have a closer look. He saw that the screen currently said “iOS has detected a catastrophic device attack via the WiFi network you are connected to. WiFi has been automatically switched Off but a device management profile remains from an unknown creator which is currently forcing a reconnection. This device will attempt to delete the profile every 5 seconds.” and that the phone was not responding to any kind of input like pressing the Home button. This meant that Otto’s old phone had been hacked, and there were some people out there who wanted to carry out some sort of horrible plan. In 30 seconds time, the screen of his old phone was back to normal apart from one tiny difference, there was a WiFi connection active. The phone was connected to a hidden and secured network named “Controlled_Devices”. The speed of the connection was 103.28 download and 36.93 upload, which was way too fast for any normal network, particularly out here in the middle of nowhere where there was no phone signal. Otto decided that he had to find more about these people. He hoped they wouldn’t find him.
“We have the exact location and full control of the target device.” said the man in the back seat still carefully studying the powerful device in his hand. His codename was Hacker 2. He sent the location directly to the van, which started to drive itself towards this exact location. “Hacker 2, Are you sure there is no reverse hacking possible through the connection we have established?” asked the driver. “As sure as I can be, and anyway from what I can tell based on the amount of activity around the phone the boy is still sleeping.” Hacker 2 replied. “Well he won’t be for much longer.” said the driver.
Otto was watching this whole unusual scene from his bedroom. He saw a huge shape which was probably a van park itself right outside the empty building containing his old phone. He was worried now because what would happen if they found a phone and took it, but kept looking for him, did they have a backup plan?
Otto heard the creak of the doors to the building opening and knew that this situation was not going to end well. He also heard some footsteps outside his house. This was definitely bad news.
“So what do we do when we find the boy?” asked the man who had been driving the van. “We have to put him inside the internet. That is a very complicated process but I’m sure that together we can handle it perfectly fine. There is a cupboard in our van built to simplify that exact process. If not, then we just take him back to HQ and get some more help with doing it.” Hacker 2 replied. “Okay, we’re all set. But remind me again, how can a human in the middle of a worldwide commuter network be any use?” the driver replied. “He’s very good at solving people’s tech problems. If I’m right, that also means that he’ll be very good at solving any bug that appears anywhere near him in the system. That should mean we have an error free internet.” said Hacker 2. “And what about food, water and sleep?” asked the driver. “We’ll put a little bedroom in with him as well. That bedroom will have a bed, kitchen, router, toilet and shower which will be more than enough to keep the boy alive. Food will arrive daily via a special delivery. We can just send it to his IP address for him and it will arrive right on his doorstep within seconds. We’ll also take all his luggage with him and make sure he can use and charge his phone.” said Hacker 2. “Okay, let’s do this!” said the driver, starting a search of the barn.
10 minutes later, the methodical search had finished with no results. “The boy has either separated himself from his phone or put another device here. This is hopefully because he is just annoyed he has no signal. This may be because he knows about us and that we’re coming. But we’ll find him. Our tracking team have found his booking confirmation and now know which house he is staying in. We just need to climb up to his window and take him out as quietly as possible.” said the driver of the van who had been leading and organising the search. His codename was Tracker 5.
Otto heard all this through the microphone on his old phone which was sending all the recordings back to him in realtime. He had to get out of the house, but he couldn’t as there were now people running around everywhere outside it. Otto couldn’t believe that so many people had got here in one van. Had a second vehicle arrived? Otto couldn’t even begin to imagine the possibilities of being inside the internet. It might be amazing or horrible. At least he knew his home external IP address though. If he had to, he could just slip in to his own network disguised as the response to a request sent by one of the devices in his house. He knew exactly what requests devices such as the thermostats sent and at what time. He was going to have to use his newly made Plan C.
“We’ve found his bedroom.” said Tracker 5, “It has one single bed and loads of technology. It has to be him.” “Okay then”, said Hacker 2, “It’s time to start the next phase of our plan. The ground is way too hard for a tunnel so we’re going to have to risk it and break the window.”
Otto saw a ladder being positioned below his window. Someone started to climb up it towards him. The man reached the top of the ladder and smashed the glass of the window with a hammer. He climbed through the now broken window into the room. He sat down at the desk and noticing I was awake, started to speak.
“I can see that you have tried very hard to avoid this.” he said, “But sadly for you, we have managed to find you anyway. We are going to put you into the internet as a bug remover, and by that I mean electronic bugs and not the sort that crawl up your leg. You might find it exciting at first, but I promise you that before long it will just be your normal and boring job.” The man showed Otto a gun attached to his belt. “This weapon is armed with tranquilliser darts.” he said, “I would very much like to avoid having to use it, but if you disobey me I will have no choice.”
“Please can you climb down this ladder and get yourself safely to the ground.” the man asked.
Otto decided that he would rather have this whole experience awake than asleep, so he climbed out of his window and down the ladder, with the man following behind him. “My codename is Tracker 5 and I have tracked you all the way to this house. I will be leading this operation and this will not work unless you do what I tell you. What you need to do now is enter the van via the loading ramp at the back. Once you are inside, you will see a tiny cupboard to your left, with a sign on the door saying “Enter the internet.”. You need to open the door of this cupboard and enter it. When the door fully closes you will hear a small click. The next thing you know, you will be lying on a bed. You will think this is all over, but sadly you will be wrong. You will be in your new home, which has two rooms (a bedroom and a kitchen). Everything you will need will be there. During the day you will be working just outside it. To exit the bedroom, you need to use the airlock marked “Outbound traffic”. Your food will come in the airlock marked “Inbound traffic”. Please do not connect yourself to anything you are not instructed to connect to, as that may be dangerous. The WiFi in your bedroom will be called “Internet_Internal” and you will need to register for an account using your email address. Further instructions will be provided in your room.”
“Thank you, I will start the process.” Otto said. Of course, he was planning to initiate several unauthorised outbound connections. Otto walked up the ramp and into the cupboard. The door closed behind him and there was a soft click.