42 comments

Contemporary Crime Fantasy

I was a hacker for almost as long as I can remember. Even as a kid I lived to mess around with computers, programming, writing and cracking codes, and surfing to the darkest edges of the internet. What I couldn’t learn from manuals, chat rooms, message boards, or friends I pretty much just figured out on my own. So early on I knew that hacking would make me way more money than flipping burgers at Mickey D’s, earning a college diploma, or even scoring a high-paying job on Wall Street. And with a lot less of the mess and stress that usually accompanies your average 9-5 gig. But it was never about money, and things have changed since then – which was why I’d retired.


For obvious reasons, I can’t tell you my name. And after you read this you won’t be able to trace it back to my I.P. address it was sent from since I’ve developed and used a multilevel super encryption masking and scrubbing device to send this screed. So, why am I taking the risk of getting back into the game, stepping out of the shadows and into the grid by divulging this secret to the New York Times? Because of the way they’ve ruined it for all of us. I’ve had enough and just can’t stomach it anymore. Who’re they, you ask? In two words: Today’s Hackers.


These hackers today! They’ve no respect and are almost always in it only for the money. When I was in the hacking game it was all about changing the world and making a difference. Sure, every now and then we’d line our own pockets a bit with enough to cover expenses and then some. But for me, unlike them, it wasn’t about the money. Maybe it’s just the lone wolf vs. mob mentality.


Today’s hackers are not only creating chaos but they make no distinction of who it is directed toward. For them, there are no good or bad guys; only easy pickings. And because they do that, it reflects poorly upon our past and present hacker communities as a whole. It’s their ransomware attacks that really piss off most of us legit hackers. Nowadays, the bigger their haul the more likely these greed-fueled Robin Hoodish banditos will invest it in specialization and franchising. They’ve certainly gotten better at it over the years.


Remember the Colonial Pipeline assault? It may have not been the most costly hack attack from 2021 – 2022 (only 4.4 million was made from that hack), but the downtime caused by lost business and revenue was far more financially damaging to them than the ransom size. The WannaCry virus was far bigger in the number of computers it infected (300,000+) and resulted in 6 billion USD of damage, albeit the blackmail payout dollar size wasn’t the top dollar in brides for that period. Well, I for one want to put a stop to it now!


Here’s a short list of today’s greatest hacker hits. Coming in hot at #1 for 2021 is the insurance company, CAN Financial Corp., for a whopping 40 million dollars which was a record liberation money amount paid up to that point. The second was meat producer JBS’s payment of 11 million USD. Followed by GPS system manufacturer Garmin for 10 million, an unidentified Austrian organization (4.7 million), CWT Global travel services (4.5), Brenntag, a chemical distributor (4.4), Travelex (2.3, resulting in the corporation’s declared bankruptcy), fashion company FatFace Ltd. (2.0), and then, 1.14 million extorted from San Francisco’s University of California. Do the math and tally it up, that’s a grand total of nearly 85 million USD.


As 2022 began, so did more digital assaults, beginning with the Flexbooker data breach on January 3. The Red Cross charity organization was the next innocent victim, then came Crypto.com, multiple Credit Suisse banks, universities, hospitals, and even the Costa Rican government. Now, with nearly 3 dozen other major thefts occurring thus far in a year with still 3 months to go, it’s really getting out of hand, isn’t it?


When today’s hackers set their sights on specific ransom amounts they normally take into account several factors: 1) The size of the infected network, 2) The target’s overall net worth (including revenue and client’s accounts held in escrow) 3) The plane of data sensitivity being breached. And that’s the way they do it (uh-ha-uh-ha!) It not only hurts organizations and businesses out there that put good into the world but even reputable hackers such as me. Therefore, this really has to stop, and there’s only one way to paralyze today’s hackers dead in their tracks to halt them from fermenting further mischief.


So, what’s a respectable hacker of yesteryear ever to do these days? Basically, the way I’d decided to deal with it is not stooping to their level. That was up until the day when I had this idea. We, the good guy hackers of yesterday, need to band together and go after all the bad guy hackers of today to fight fire with fire. In other words, globally the good must unite with one another to go after these nefarious computer criminals to hit them where it’ll hurt the most: we hack the bad guys.


I’ve been developing a unique virus that’ll infect their devices and which would A) Identify offenders so the rest of the world could detect them, and out these blackmailers, B) Temporarily lockdown their software until the threat’s resolved, and C) Permanently disable and damage beyond repair any hardware used by chronic repeat offenders to stop them and wipe out their access to easy cash flow. With every day that’s passed, I got closer to my goal; to halt and hurt today’s malicious hackers. And now, I feel I may have cracked that code to allow me access via a backdoor in all computers that’ll leave those greedy bastards defenseless. I’m almost there, and come tomorrow my friends, sweet revenge!


Like Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”, I’m’ back…


September 30, 2022 23:28

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42 comments

Cosma Nova
04:30 Oct 27, 2022

I really like this.... Also I agree with the point of view of the hacker. It does feel like an article, but who cares, it still got my attention

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Stevie B
10:57 Oct 27, 2022

Thank you, Cosma. It should have the air of the article as it's revealed in the tale the hacker is sharing his story to the New York Times.

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19:53 Oct 24, 2022

Hi Stevie - probably too late to edit now but in this line do you mean "bribes"? albeit the blackmail payout dollar size wasn’t the top dollar in brides for that period. Interesting write Stevie, kept me hooked.

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Stevie B
22:00 Oct 24, 2022

Good eye & thanks, Katherine, for catching and pointing out that typo. Too late to change for contest but will make the change for its inclusion when I publish it as part of a short story collection.

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21:04 Oct 13, 2022

I would not be surprised if this wasn't 100% true, Mr. B. You have led a million lives -- why not a SuperHacker to boot?

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Stevie B
21:13 Oct 13, 2022

Deidra, great to hear from you. It's actually more like a I always have a million ideas in mind. I'm beginning a televised media junket to promote my current ALICE novel. Thus far we've had interest from 5 tristate Network TV programs for interviews and a handful of podcasters are already on board. Would it be possible to schedule another chat session with you and Russell to assist in the promo efforts? Here's my media ALICE EPK: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p8mj8x5baf7kylz/AABxyguTjXC-CaP2NuHcKEZDa?dl=0). Please advise at your earliest conve...

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14:52 Oct 14, 2022

Great news of the media campaign! Russell and I have retired from podcasting. Our last broadcast will be tomorrow... There are too many other projects that we're interested in, and the podcast had a good run. Go get 'em, Stevie! I'll be cheering for you from the sidelines.

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Stevie B
15:12 Oct 14, 2022

You both did a great job and thank you. Did you make the move away from FL and to, I believe it was to VA?

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Russ Hussain
18:52 Oct 13, 2022

Interesting how the character, despite being a 'hacker,' develops a motivation fuelled by a sense of morality. Ingenius, Stevie.

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Stevie B
19:09 Oct 13, 2022

Thank you, Russ!

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Charlie Murphy
15:44 Oct 10, 2022

Good story, but it felt more than an article. But, it would work as a prologue.

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Stevie B
16:15 Oct 10, 2022

Charlie, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Charlie Murphy
16:28 Oct 10, 2022

You're welcome, what did you think of my story

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Stevie B
16:32 Oct 10, 2022

I liked it.

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Charlie Murphy
16:37 Oct 10, 2022

Why ?

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Stevie B
18:24 Oct 10, 2022

It amused me and this is will be the last reply I'll share regarding the reason behind my opinion.

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Sarah Parker
13:17 Oct 10, 2022

Loved the story, Great job. Hope you win! =D

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Stevie B
13:41 Oct 10, 2022

Thank you, Sarah.

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Aeris Walker
19:15 Oct 09, 2022

It's ironic that as I'm reading this, a little icon keeps popping up in the corner of my screen parading as anti-virus software, but I'm *just* tech savvy enough to recognize that it's phony... guess I should take care of that... I love the tongue-in-cheek irony of the old hacker turning against the new hacker on matters of ethical differences, but it's good to know that there are still internet scammers of principle left out there :) Clever idea, well done.

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Stevie B
19:20 Oct 09, 2022

Aeris, thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words. There is no longer unquestionable black or white, yes or no, and absolute good or bad. For now, if it's not in between than it gravitates to and extreme.

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Laxmi Sahani
14:42 Oct 09, 2022

Beautifully personal story, I Won't be surprised if this turns into a short movie or a whole book. Please keep upgrading this story. I would love to read more about this character.

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Stevie B
15:04 Oct 09, 2022

So kind of you to say, Laxmi. I very well indeed may follow your suggestion.

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Marty B
19:31 Oct 08, 2022

we hack the bad guys..... I only wish! Good story

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Stevie B
22:48 Oct 08, 2022

Thank you, and when a wish becomes a plan it's moved one step closer to becoming reality.

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Delbert Griffith
17:38 Oct 08, 2022

I love the story. The little twist of taking on the "bad" hackers is engaging. The recent history of hacking is also fascinating and adds to the story. Good job!

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Stevie B
19:03 Oct 08, 2022

Delbert, thank you. Sometimes it gets hard to tell the good guys from the bad ones...

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M B
13:14 Oct 05, 2022

Hack the world! Anyways, ignoring my movie reference. Nice story concept a hacker getting back into the game because, 'kids these days' is a fantastic idea. Well done.

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Stevie B
15:50 Oct 05, 2022

MB, thanks for sharing your thoughts. My variation on that phrase is "Hack this!" (said while grabbing a hold of a body part Michael Jackson often grasped while performing).

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Dawn Kaltenbaugh
20:15 Oct 04, 2022

Never would have come up with a hacker who longs to be on the side of the hackees. Brilliant concept, great story.

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Stevie B
20:24 Oct 04, 2022

Dawn, thank you for reading, enjoying and sharing your thoughts. As writers we should well know you can't judge a book solely on it cover...

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Michał Przywara
21:30 Oct 03, 2022

There seems to be something special about hacking that really gets people riled up. I'm talking, so mad you'd think we were talking about a sadistic serial killer or something. Maybe it's the fact that most of us don't really understand how it works, or maybe it's that there's few ways to defend yourself. Someone, somehow, sneaks into your stuff and violates your life, and they're not even physically there so you can't even confront them. Terrifying stuff, like the curses and evil eyes of yore. No wonder then the protagonist here is fed ...

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Stevie B
22:06 Oct 03, 2022

Michal, Thanks for your input and especially catching the Costa Rician typo. You do so much better an editing job than the Reedsy editors I've unhappily hired in the past (just fired another one today who missed 2 deadlines without and any explanation) other than they screwed up.

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Michał Przywara
01:08 Oct 04, 2022

Oof, sorry to hear that. Nothing funny about missed deadlines or lack of communication.

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Stevie B
12:12 Oct 04, 2022

You appear to have a pretty good eye for editing, especially for catching typos and the like. Ever thought of editing other's writer's work?

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Michał Przywara
21:34 Oct 04, 2022

Yes and no. Yes, there were a few times I've done so, as a kind of extended beta read feedback exchange. Still do so for shorts occasionally. But, No, not in a professional capacity, as I've no formal training, and editing a novel, for example, is a time commitment I'm unable to make. It's all too easy to spread yourself too thin.

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Stevie B
21:52 Oct 04, 2022

Understood.

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Daniel E Gagné
18:49 Oct 02, 2022

Very clever. Like every previous generation's complaint, "kids these days!"

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Stevie B
19:50 Oct 02, 2022

Daniel, thank you. Human nature may be quite inhuman at times .

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Stevie B
23:32 Sep 30, 2022

AUTHOR'S NOTE: By the time you've read this sentence someone may have hacked your electronic device, life, and is now watching you - smile, and have a nice day!

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Mary James
00:37 Oct 26, 2022

Mighty DR. Akereco!! You have done it again, you have shown me your powers which I have been hearing from different people, but now am talking out of the experience, Dr. Akereco you are the greatest spell caster that I believed that is existing cause you brought back my lover who left me since January within 24 hours, Sir you are the greatest, thanks for your great work in my life, and I will live to remember you cause you put a smile on my face by making my dream to come to past, thank you once again, sir. My friends out there who need help...

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Stevie B
14:08 Oct 26, 2022

A scam is a scam is a scam, and I need not be Gertrude Stein to say this to a scammer...

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