I pulled my coat tighter about me as the biting wind blew icy daggers about my neck. The R600 on-line terminal slung over my shoulder was heavy, an old model and the rucksack strap bit deeply into my shoulder.
What with the urban city-sprawl prices being what they were there was the usual shortage of console space so I headed back to the layback provided by my corp and settled in at the mock-wood desk and decided there were a few personal matters to attend to before resuming work.
First on the list to check was my bank account. A recent excursion to the French alps had proved costly and the last thing I need is for Dizzy to get worried about credit! The ancient Sony R600 chugged into life and eventually I netlined into our account. Something looked wrong immediately. The primary account showed it was over four-thousand in credit which just wasn’t possible. The regular payment from the corporation wasn’t due for another ten days. Suspicious as hell, I brought up the detail page on the primary and two seconds later spotted something even more alarming; a payment of exactly one-thousand credits to an account named A.LUKOSEVENICIUS. I wracked my brains trying to think of any big-money transactions that Dizzy might have done the day before for that kind of meat but nothing came to mind.
With a cold shiver of dread, I realised that someone had jacked into our accounts somehow; autonomous spyware, phone tapping or electronic eavesdropping of some other kind, I don’t know. All I knew was, I had to get in touch with Bank central and try to get the position unwound. I got Dizzy on the other line as Bank central redirected me through several levels of security and ‘incident handling’ teams. Dizzy confirmed it had nothing to do with her and then the handler came on line.
“No, I don’t know anyone of that name.”
“No. Neither I or my wife have initiated any bank transfer in the last 8 days.”
“Yes, please disable the on-line access immediately!”
It seemed they were on my side which was something of a victory. I breathed a sigh of relief as I disconnected. Both the transfer from the secondary account and the payment were made within three minutes of each other, one presumably to cover the other. Even then it wasn’t over. When I got home that night, Dizzy wanted to know more.
“We need to sweep the DACS home-console,” I tell her. “It’s likely to be someone snooping on that. We have to train the children not to download stuff. God-knows what trojans they’ve unwittingly installed.”
Later, I initiated the Spybot Search and Destroy agent on the DACS. Sure enough, an hour’s worth of automated techno-sleuthing uncovered seven potentially dangerous intrusions. I pressed the ‘Destroy’ button.
[With humble apologies to William Gibson whose style I was trying to immitate while telling this true story.]