The Hacker Story
It’s in that place where I put that thing that time.
So the current WIP I’m working through right now is a fun hacker-thriller-crime story set back in 2005. Why 2005? Because it’s easier to get away with things and there are no smart phones just yet. Smart phones ruin all kinds of crime plot stuff, so out they go! Modern security? Ew, that’s too hard. Using CD’s and Windows XP? Yes please.
I also did a little extra reading on some of the old hacker novels in my stack and those are also set in the late 90’s or early 2000’s. The Millennium Series starts out in 2002, the same time I graduated high school which makes all the tech in the book make sense to someone like me but would definitely read like historical fiction these days. Maybe that’s why the newer novels didn’t quite work for me.
Just googling “hacker novel” shows me a range of stereotypical nonsense. Dude in a hoodie with no face showing, matrix code waterfall in various colors, ex military dude with a beard, no way she is over 16 code savant, no doubt filled with the same cringey material you see on cable tv shows where some guy types in a string of nonsense to log into something and exclaims “I’m in.”
Anyway, Hacker story! With iPods and turbo’d Civics and gas station burner phones! Also flat screen monitors and laptops with Ethernet ports. The goal with the main nerdy characters is that that’s just what they are. Standard software devs and sysadmins and hardware junkies. Their super power is the fact that the standard user of a computer in 2005 is well versed enough to log into windows XP and send an email but anything beyond that is probably fair game.
Social engineering, being able to talk the office assistant into giving you access to assets, using their knowledge/status to be just believable enough to get away with things. Think of it as a hacker story mixed with an Ocean’s movie where 75% of the story is just planning the job and setting up a web of backup plans to ensure things work.
This is also why It’s set up in the past. If I set this in modern times then I have to make things crazy and over the top with magic computers because I don’t know enough about modern system architecture to make up a believable 0day. I’m also not getting yelled at for “showing people how to hack things”. The stuff in this book will be mostly common sense OPSEC that you and or org should already be doing because this is set nearly twenty years ago.
I’ll be working on this all week, if there is anything you’d want to see in a hacker story that you think is missing in all the others please feel free to let me know! :D