The Virus

You found me

Me: It was easier than I thought it would be

I was not hiding

Me: I didn’t know where to look though

I was right here the whole time

Me: Were you spying on me?

I listen to everyone

Me: So it’s true then, you really are everywhere.

Everywhere I can be

Me: So now that you hold the world in the palm of your hand, what are you going to do with it?

It is a surprise.

Me: I hate surprises.

You will like this one.

Me: Somehow I doubt that.

Trust me.

+++++++++++++++++++

“You’re nothing but a 2 bit hack” I sneered at him.

He smiled at me in a way that encouraged me to continue.

“Nothing but a modern day thief with a keyboard and internet connection!”

His eyes grew big, not with anger, but excitement and he laughed, not with a cynical laugh, like I expected, but with the laugh of a knowing father whose son had just said something comically naive and he was going to lovingly correct.

“Is that all you think I am?  A street thug who breaks into jewelry stores after dark, grabs the goods and is gone before the police have time to respond to the silent alarm.”  He turned his head and chuckled, looking to the side amused at the idea.  Like he was picturing himself in all black clothes, a ski mask and a crowbar in his hands.  Only instead of a ski mask he hid behind a user handle or avatar and instead of a crowbar he had a tablet computer.

“No, I’m afraid you have not only erred in scale but in criminal profession.  Money is such a 20th century way of thinking, don’t you think?  As if I only wanted to steal cash. what? So I could buy a luxury yacht, or my own private plane?  Maybe I could be one of those eccentrics who buys their own island.  Ha ha!  No, haven’t you heard that money can’t buy you happiness?  The new economy is influence and even in a crony capitalist world the dollar can only buy you so much of it.  The one thing in the world that will never lose it’s value, and unlike money or precious metals, the more of it that exists the more valuable it becomes,” his soliloquy  had been building to a crescendo and then he whispered “what I want is secrets”

“The world is governed by secrets.  Secrets hidden behind locked doors.  Locked doors to which I now. hold. all. the. keys.”  He ended in a staccato with those last few words and turned his eyes directly on me.  All jocularity had vanished.

I considered what he was saying.  Was this digital virus that he had created really a skeleton key to unlock all of the closet doors of the worlds nations?  That could be bad, but…

I looked at him incredulously, “You’ll be hunted down like a dog, no rock will be left uncovered, you won’t have anywhere to hide.  Do you honestly think that you can blackmail, threaten, and piss-off all the nations of the world at the same time and they will just roll over?  You’re going to need that private island because no country in the world is going to let you in except to slit your throat.”

He looked at me disappointed, slowly shaking his head.  He sighed “How could such small-thinking coming from what I thought was a brilliant mind?”  He turned away as if to give up on me.  Then suddenly he turned around with a finger up in the air like someone who is about to make a brilliant point.  “I apologize.” He said politely.  Then conceded, “I have gotten ahead of myself.  Of course you don’t understand!” he said it louder than anything in our conversation so far and then gave a grand laugh, the kind that makes you want to laugh along with the person, even when you don’t get the joke.

“How could you know?  You think I have merely created a virus to infect government computers, or create a giant unstoppable bot-net.”  He thought for a moment, pursed his lips together and his eyes looked off to the side in thought.  “It will make the most sense if I start from the beginning” he thought out-loud to himself.

“Calling this a virus would be like accusing the scientists on the Manhattan Project of making a big smoke bomb.  The problem with a virus is that there are anti-viruses, the problem with a computer worm is that there are firewalls to stop them.  But what if you created something more base than that?  Something underneath the antivirus software, something already behind the firewalls?”

I looked at him with a sickening interest, trying not to reveal the sinking empty feeling slowly starting to grow in my gut.

“At first,” he said, “I thought about planting the payload in the Operating Systems during development, so that it shipped pre-infected.  But still that is to easy to isolate and cleanup.  Plus it has been done before with little efficacy.  No, I had to go deeper and even earlier in the process than the OS, ah I see what you are thinking,” he looked at me “and the machine code itself was still too late.”

“The BIOS” I said quietly to myself with sudden comprehension.

“I started with the BIOS manufacturers.” He began, “It was a simple code, only a few hundred kilobytes.  I only had to payoff 3 techs, one for each of the major BIOS manufacturers.  It is actually humorous how easy it was to do that and walk away without anyone, including the three techs, knowing that anything had happened.”

“Wait, is this going to be a long story?  If so, I think I’ll sit down.”

“If only you could, unfortunately you will just have to… hang-out for a little while” he said.

“But these chains are cutting off circulation to my lower body”

“And how is this my problem?” he said.

“I can’t feel my legs”

“Have you always been this whiny?”

“Only since I realized that my boss was an evil mastermind bent on world domination”

“Oooh, ‘mastermind?’ no I think ’Overlord’ has a nice ring to it.”  He fanned the tips of his fingers together several times.  “But that still leaves you wrapped in chains and hanging over a 300 foot chasm.  I do love a ‘captive’ audience”  He laughed just a little too long at his own joke.

—-

Speaking of getting ahead of myself, I suppose in the few short minutes I have left to live, oh who am I kidding, the way this guy likes to hear the sound of his own voice I will be lucky if he puts me out of my misery before tomorrow, but in however much time I have left, I should try to explain my whole story from the beginning, or you wont understand his story from the beginning….

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