Final Victim (1995)

Final Victim (1995) by Stephen Cannell Page B

Book: Final Victim (1995) by Stephen Cannell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen Cannell
who's on the remailer computer right now and what they're running. It's very thin because it's past midnight or something in Norway." He pointed to one of the symbols under the COMMAND column. "BBS stands for Bulletin Board System. Okay, since we don't have a password, let's see if we can spoof one of these users into giving us his."
    "How we gonna do that?"
    "We'll send one of them a message that nobody but him will see. We'll get him to log off and then log back in, but we'll be lurking here. Then we'll snarf his login with my special foo file. Okay, let's finger one of these users."
    "I thought a finger was a tracking program."
    "Backfinger is a sort of tracking program to see who was fingering you. Finger gets info on a user. Let's pick one of these first three guys, here. You're looking for a sex criminal. . . . How 'bout Mr. Rat? He sounds scummy." Malavida hunkered over the keyboard and typed in "finger-m rat," and in response, the screen printed out:
    Login name: ratIn real life: WindMinstrel
    Directory: /alumnl3/ratShell: /bin/csh
    On since April 14 21:33:09 on ttyr3 from tropic . S eas. ufla . E du No unread mail
    "In real life, Wind Minstrel. What's that?"
    "In real life his name is whatever it is, but Mr. Rat doesn't want to tell his or her real-life name. He's using a computer alias . . . Wind Minstrel. I like it. Very cool." He studied the screen. "Okay, the good news here is this tells us what host computer Wind Minstrel is using. It's a box named 'tropic' at Science and Engineering Administration Services at the University of Florida."
    Malavida went into his cracking tool kit, pulled out another disk, and slid it into his PC. He typed "sz," sending the file to his new user's account on Pennet, a file he called "F00." It was a program he had written which would send a phony error message.
    "Okay. Now, what I'm trying to do is create a phony system message on Mr. Rat's screen so he will think he has to log in again, an d w hen he does, I'll steal his login and password," Malavida said, grinning. Then he typed:
    "This program's gonna tell Mr. Rat to log in again." On his screen, Malavida showed Karen the message that was being sent to The Rat's computer:
    Message from root@ring2Ice . A non . P ennet . N o

    ring2Ice login:
    "How do you know it's saying that?"
    " 'Cause that's what I programmed it to say. It's total bullshit." He smiled at her.
    "Cool." She smiled back, but was beginning to get lost. She had a 180 IQ, but didn't have enough ground-level information to understand all of this. She made a mental note to pick up some more books on computer hacking in the U . S . Customs crime lab and speed-read them as soon as she got back to Washington.
    On the screen, The Rat logged in again with his username and password:
    rat Mut118oR
    "We got it. Write this down," Malavida said as Karen grabbed a pen. "We're really in," she said.
    "Now all we have to do is follow The Rat to his chat room. That part is a snap. Then we'll just make ourselves look like him and slip in behind."
    Out in the backyard, Lockwood and Heather were talking quietly. She was telling him about her riding lessons.
    "Daddy, you wouldn't believe how big he is. And I'm taking lessons twice a week. He's so beautiful. He's a Morgan gelding, but my teacher says he's sixteen hands tall. That's as big as an Arabian."
    "That's great, honey. I'd love to come see when you have a dressage program."
    "I'll call and tell you. This time, I promise . . . I'll give you plenty of warning." The remark stung him slightly.
    Karen stuck her head out the back door. "John, you'd better get in here. You aren't going to believe this. . . "

    Chapter 12

    The Rat was on the same wooden chair that Shirley always made him sit on when she found out he'd dbeyed the sanctity of the covenant or eaten chocolate or, worse still, the meat they served at the school cafeteria. He could never

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