One Note - X
The Watcher and the Watched
In our last installment, Stefan and Kelly (the Valkyrie) had a virtual tete-a-tete that startled Kelly and left her with some important decisions to make. In this chapter, we meet Busk, the third partner in the Music Road Trip club. Busk is a computer whiz and the builder of the venue. Offended that Stefan and Kelly did not include him in their meeting, he has decided it’s time he started asking some questions of his own.
I’m not proud of what I’ve done. No bloke likes to think of himself as a lech or the type who gets his jollies spying on birds. Not that that was what I was doing exactly - getting my jollies. I’m not a peeper. But you’ve got to admit that I had a right to be suspicious when one of my oldest friends starts talking to a journo, especially after we all agreed - no interviews. But there she was, bold as you please, asking her questions and getting all chummy with Stefan in the space I created. Then they had the nerve to ask me to leave. What did they have to say that I couldn’t hear?
So I decided to do a little Sherlocking of my own - put my computer skills to practical use as they say. That’s one thing my education (paid for by parents who believe music is a waste of time) has taught me. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Trying to protect a system from hackers without a thorough, and working knowledge of their toolkit is like trying to navigate a minefield blind. So I did what any self-respecting security architect and cryptanalyst does - I ran a comprehensive pen test of Ms. Kelly Grossman’s system. What I discovered has turned my world on its ear and left me a lot more worried about the people who are interested in Kelly than I am about Kelly herself.
Simply put, Kelly has poked a bear. Who or what that bear might be, I don’t know - not yet anyway. But the number and sophistication of the programs running on her system rivaled anything I’d ever seen. We’re talking military-grade surveillance spyware - the type used in counterterrorism and law enforcement work. From what I could tell - and I didn’t dare probe too deep for fear of being identified myself - they’d been accessing everything from keyboard strokes, emails, online searches, and stored documents to her expenditures and text communications with her employer. And it didn’t stop with the computer. Her phone was being tapped too.
“Blimey,” I muttered aloud to myself as I looked at all the code running behind the scenes. “What’s going on here?” As if in answer to my question, the camera on the laptop switched on - giving me an unexpected and disconcerting view of Kelly’s bedroom. A quick check revealed that the record feature was switched on too. Whoever was watching Kelly was collecting video as well.