Breaking into the NSA Mega-server Part 2

So, here we are, standing in front of a room with no doors and no windows. A room that we absolutely have to get into. (No getting around that.) Time to lift the skirt up on the novel writing process and show a little leg. We know that hacking into the NSA is not possible. Well, theoretically it is … but then so is cracking a 15 digit ascii password.(which, incidentally, is the next thing that has to be done.) Faced with the impossible, we are at a crossroads. We can take the high road or the low road. Although the low road is infinitely easier, we’ll end up with the literary equivalent of the old Godzilla movies. In other words, a man in a rubber suit picking up toy buses while hundreds of people scream in Japanese. Not exactly the effect we are looking for. So what’s needed here is a little bit of real Hollywood magic. After all, a man can’t fly … but Superman can. So how does Superman fly? He’s suspended by invisible wires against a green screen while a background zips by. Why do we believe it? Because through careful editing and crafty storytelling, the filmmaker creates a situation where we want to believe it. This is what’s known as the “suspension of disbelief,” and it has to start long before we get to the point where we have to do the impossible. In my novel “Playing God”, the process started at the beginning with a tutorial about using an old satellite dish and a couple of parts to make a long distance wifi antenna for leeching. Then a little later, the step by step process for getting free wifi at a prepay access point, and then a bit more low hanging fruit as I detailed the process for defacing a porn site. Some password cracking with Caine, a splash of Backtrack, then a judicious bit of lock picking and a segment about using “Scrooge” to jackpot an ATM machine and by that time, I was closing in on “too much information” which is exactly where I wanted to be as I prepared to attack the NSA. By striking a delicate balance and creating a situation where the facts were just teetering on the brink of getting in the way of a fairly fast moving story, I was able to approach my impossible feat. Low level access codes, a description of VPN’s, a leap over into a few more low level accounts and an escalation of privileges and I was ready to take on the next impossible task. Cracking a 16 digit ASCII password with a dictionary and a little program written in Ruby. A lot of fun to write, and hopefully, a lot of fun to read.