2019-09-12 - Act of Digital Terror


A cyberattack takes place, targeting SHIELD and other U.S. Government entities.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Sep 12 23:17:17 2019
Location: RP2 - Cyberspace and Various Locations

Related Logs


Theme Song



Thursday, September 12, 2019
11:35pm Eastern Daylight Time

It's a quiet evening across the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. No major incidents are taking place. The Department of Defense is on DEFCON 4, which is a pretty standard situation ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks so many years ago. In short… nothing abnormal is happening.


At any given moment, there are always critical eyes monitoring the behemoth that is cyberspace. From multiple Federal Government agencies to SHIELD, even civilian operations such as the Loss Prevention departments of Financial Institutions, it's still virtually impossible to cast a true net of safety over the world wide web and all that such an invention entails.

Regardless, for many of those who maintain eyes on cyberspace, something… odd begins to take place.

It's very subtle at first; an unusual level of pinging that goes bouncing around everything from porn sites to gaming platforms, resembling a very poor attempt at a mass scale DDoS attack. However, the pings begin to increase in volume and frequency, and they seem to be coming, literally, from everywhere. IPs located in Germany, South Korea, Russia, China, Brazil, Canada, anywhere that has developed enough to be connected to the world wide web seems to suddenly come alive with DDoS style pings.

It's still early enough in the evening that Barbara Gordon is in between Barbara and Batgirl, outfitted in half her armour and slurping down a cup of tea before heading out.

Batgirl. I'm detecting high latency responses from multiple commercial sites. Analysis shows this might be another Internet of Things attack. Tracking.

Barbara sighs, stretching her back with a wince and takes the command chair at the console. "OK Oracle. Show me what you've got."

Several websites are slow to respond and it's 500'd several times in the last minute or so. Unsure if this is just a lark on the part of hackers or something more serious.

"Track the traffic. And how's our access to the Wayne Tech satellites?"

What brings the attack to Hank's attention is nothing at all work related, nope. What he notices is a huge latency spike in his co-op League of Legends play with a friend he's made over at SHIELD, other than Jemma, one Jasper Jenkins, eager beaver techie and massive nerd…oh…wait…probably that distinction is trivial. "Jaz, what's the deal…are you lagging? My latency just went to nine-hundred, and is rising…"

Jenkins - 'Jaz' - answers over TeamSpeak. "Yeah…mine's at seven-fi…ah crap, we're both dead."

Hank - Blue Rage - sighs. "Yes, in fact I noticed that. DDOS do you think?"

A grin can be heard through the other guy's answer. "Oh, possibly. Lets find us some hackers and pwn them!"

Hank laughs. "I'm on it, Jaz…race you to the source, loser buys the beer!"

Jaz. "Oh, it is ON fuzzy. It is OoOooon…"

Two different highly skilled hackers start their own traces!

To the young woman walking down the streets of Los Angeles on Facebook Live, she won't notice a thing. Maybe a slight decrease in video stream quality, but nothing abnormal. By and large, this is the situation for most Americans… if anything, they might notice that things are running a bit slower, but nothing to really draw the attention.

To the cyber community, however, this is a different story.


"Hey, uh, Kyle?"

"What is it, Angel?"

A young Latino Loss Prevetion technician frowns, and whistles for his boss, Kyle, to come over. "C'mere, look at this. This is really weird!" He gestures toward a massive projection screen at the front of the bank's CyberSecurity Headquarters, and pulls up a map from his own workstation, which shows the complex webwork of increased ping activity.

Kyle frowns.

"You ever see anything like this before?"

"Yeah," answers Kyle. "Three times. Looks like a DDoS."

"Not just one. Hundreds. Anything to be worried about?"

"Not sure, but let's take precautions." Kyle reaches over to punch the alarm, and then crosses the room quickly, headed for a red phone. "Lockdown all private gateways! I'm calling the Pentagon."


An aging military commander picks up a phone. "Department of Defense, Brigadier McKinley." Pause. "Yes, we see it too. Trying to get a bead on it." Pause. "I agree. We'll keep an eye on it, and we'll notify you if things escalate." Hanging up the phone, the General approaches his chief of operations. "Major, go to Cyber Alert Orange. If anything at all changes - any major institutions become directly targeted, escalate to Red and engage SafeWeb protocol."

Just wait till those users get impatient that their feeds have slowed by a nanosecond and hit retry a number of times to 'make it go faster'.

Confirmed Batgirl. I'm seeing Babysafe Baby Monitors, LG Refrigerators, QUELL smoke detectors, all sending out multiple DNS requests. Hundreds a second and the numbers are growing.

"Hmmmm. What's the common thread here, Oracle?"

One moment, Batgirl.

The redhead scrubs her face and glances at her monitors. "Scan for increases in criminal activity across New York. The usuals will be opportunistic about this."

The commonality, Batgirl, is the chipset those devices are using. Someone has found an exploit and is using it.

"Just great …"

Within moments the two hackers drop their TeamSpeak in favor of something higher speed and more secure, thank Hank and Jasper start their tag-team efforts to trace the source of the Cyber attacks.

Jasper works on tracing unusual activity, of which there's a lot, and then starts with WAN tracking, slow and difficult, but still more than a valid approach.

While Jasper works on his broad search, Hank focuses on the attack affecting his online gaming! He doesn't have the access Jenkins does, so he follows a more open source.

Both the Beast and the Agent of SHIELD are rather excellent at this sort of thing, and their results converge…

Hank says. "Iraq?" Even as Jenkins exclaims. "IRAQ!"

Then all hell breaks lose and both of them face a burst of activity the likes of which they've neither of them even heard of.

Jenkins channels his inner Keanu Reeves. "Whooooooaaa…"

Suddenly, the web practically grinds to a halt. The DNS traffic practically slows to a crawl. Then, without warning, it's all focused on one place.


A young man who is rocking out to the latest hipster band suddenly scowls when his Spotify stream clogs up. "Great," he says, and turns to some of his coworkers. "When will these idiots ever give up? They-" His eyes dart back to the large monitor in front of him. "Whoa, whoa whoa WHOA! WHOA!" He bolts upright, knocking over his coffee and spilling his freeze dried kale chips. "SOMETHING JUST SMASHED RIGHT THROUGH THE CLOUD!"


"GENERAL!" Major Jenson bolts upright. "Sir, they just took out Apple!"

Brigadier General McKinley's eyes widen. "What? How in the hell?"

"I don't know, Sir, it happened so fast, we can't-

"ALERT RED! Go to DEFCON 3 and alert the White House!"


Even while the web as a whole is recovering from the seemingly random and scattered DDoS attack, it all suddenly converges upon Apple's ICLOUD database. The cyber attack rips right through their encryption defenses like butter, and what comes out is not encrypted in the slightest… more concerning, it's all the same data. Apple ID's, Passwords, PIN codes. The data swings right back around at lightning speed and heads for the Financial Sector.

|ROLL| Kwabena Odame +rolls 1d20 for: 8

|ROLL| Faux-Beast +rolls 1d20 for: 20

|ROLL| Barbara Gordon +rolls 1d20 for: 2

Batgirl, Apple has just been taken off line. Not only has iTunes been disabled but so too has all Apple Pay systems and all Apple IDs are available. There's a long, long, long pause Batgirl, I'm seeing direct activity to Chase Bank and others. That data is being used to access accounts.

"Didn't Apple patch that bug where the passwords were kept in the clear?"

They did. Whoever is doing this, has likely guessed some of the passwords to access the accounts

"That makes sense. When will people learn to use two factor authentication that isn't tied to sms? Don't answer that, it was rhetorical."

Batgirl, I'm detecting activity coming from SHIELD and a location somewhere in Westchester. Ah. It's Blue Rage. Let me …

Hello Doctor McCoy… Oracles Avatar appears on Hanks screen. You seem to trying to locate a hacker. Would you like help with that?

"Whoa…indeed." Hank murmurs over the secure comlink with Jenkins.

Blue eyes narrow, and then it is like he bit into a venomous apple while he was simultaneously struck by lightning and turned into some kind of Hack-Fu freak of nature! Or, more accurately…his rather esoteric and diverse skillsets all sort of epiphany, and he follows an innocuous seeming trail.

"Jenkins…Apple isn't the real target…"

Jenkins. "It…isn't? I mean…ID's, bank accounts, personal contact information…even people's play lists for cripe's sake!

And it is at this point that Oracle pops onto his supposedly secure network.

"Oh, um, hello." He says, a bit nonplussed to be sure. "Actually…" And then he gets over it, because Oracle is LEGENDARY for hacking, Hank's only really good. "Actually…yes." Jenkins is tied in. "What we have here is a super-sophisticated decoy, I've never seen the like, I admit I'm out of my depth here." Hank looks to the avatar even as he speaks to Jenkins. "The real targets are three - SHIELD, NYPD, and Homeland Security." He calls up the traces that pointed him that way, sharing with both Oracle and Jenkins. "I simply don't have the brute computing power to handle this - the attack is like a LIVING AI virus…"


The Pentagon's CyberSecurity Command Center is abuzz with activity. The ruse, sophisticated as it was, is working. Everyone is banging at their keyboards and talking on their handset phones, scrambling government assets and informing world nations to be on the alert, because every cyber threat poses a potential world threat. It's possible that the particularly sublime attempt at getting into Homeland's systems would have summarily been overlooked, were it not for one very young, very smart, and very lucky enlisted man. He's simply too busy trying to fight off the attack that he hasn't had time to notify his superiors yet; the young man is sweating profusely as he works through lines upon lines of code, eyes darting left and right as he struggles to capture and process the information.


Of the three agencies being targeted, this one is the easiest. There are only three officers working on cyber defense, and their systems simply aren't built to handle this kind of attack. Their screens suddenly jam up, and try as they might, their computers have been ripped offline.


Another SHIELD technician, a young woman named Jennifer Aster, darts her head up from her workstation. "Jenkins!" she shouts. "Firewalls are under attack! No, not an attack." She dives back to her workstation, calling up SHIELD's own AI defenses. "It's an onslaught, and I can barely even see it or track or make sense of it. Help!"

The Internet of Things is being used as a botnet, Doctor McCoy. In a way you're correct that it's like a living virus. They need to patch the devices before the storm will abate. Our job now is to protect those agencies and try and find who did this.

Oracles green avatar hangs in the corner of Hanks screen as the androgynous voice coopts his speakers.

I can provide the computing network to add to your power. I fear it might not be enough but if we're smart, we'll be able to weather this. Remember, our task is to stop them by slowing them, giving us time to find the perpertrator. Connecting you in, when you're ready.

Hanks system immediately gains access to part of the Oraclenet - and he can shunt some of processes off.

NYPD has been taken down as well. I'll work on tracking the attack back, it's going to take me a moment or more. Traces were already being run on the hacks on the IoT now there's attacks on the NYPD, that's easier. I suggest your people tag return packets on the hits on your systems. A simple trojan that lets you track it will do. Then we can get to work.

"Before this massive assault Jaz and I had narrowed the source to somewhere in Iraq, focus your efforts there, Oracle, if you please. That should allow you to cut down on a lot of the legwork, mm?" Hank grins as a segment of the Oraclenet is made available. That grin turns positively feral. "They're not the only ones who can launch deceptive attacks…"

Hank complies with idea of the trojan tracers, and in addition starts his own attack on the AI Virus. He's trying to effectively disable some of its logic centers, he's not expecting to succeed, in fact he's counting on it defending itself and viciously. Save for the link out to Oracle, he air-gap secures his lab, cutting it out of the web entirely save for the server he's using to fight this attack with.

Jenkins yells over his shoulder. "Aster, yeah…got an outside ally working it too, lets coordinate our efforts on pure defense. Cut the power and sec-net out of the loop, I'll work on the secondary and tertiary firewalls…


The NYPD's systems are completely and entirely compromised. Without access to their computers, the officers are powerless to prevent what is happening, especially since it is very simple. A small handful of files are being erased. Traffic camera logs, a single police report, and all information around a single person.


The enlisted man finally manages to speak up. "Major! It's in! I can't fight it." He bangs his hand into the desk out of sheer anger, and spins around to blast a verbal report to Major Jenson with words that come almost as fast as the Micro Machine Man. "It's latched onto some sort of internal programming, or code, some form of AI. I couldn't locate it in the software because it was hardware based."

"The hell?" Major Jenson spins around to Brigadier General McKinley. "General, we may be looking at a physical security breach."

McKinley scowls. "That's it, we're going on full lockdown." He turns around to the enlisted man, leveling a finger at him. "Find out what the hell they're doing to our systems!"


"I just did," Aster tells Jenkins, having already anticipated his words. "I think we're too late, there's something already inside our system, and it's not software based. Son of a BITCH, someone already planted something before the attack!"


Oracle and Hank will notice the same thing as soon as their counter tracers get to work. The AI is sophisticated indeed, but it's being helped in various locations by hardware based programming that became active as soon as the real attack commenced. The hardware programming appears to have been embedded in physical nanotech that's been hibernating in various servers across the Eastern U.S. Coast, Switzerland, and China.

Oracle is good and the traces go out, some focusing on Iraq and some on the rest of the world. Did I just hear that you have physical breach, Doctor McCoy? That's not good. You need to locate that breach and disable it. Turning the server off and disconnecting it from the network is recommended. Even if it takes part of the Triskelion down - as long as the physical security fails closed, that's a preferable situation to this.

I'm locating compromised servers across the world. Attempting to shut them down before more damage is done. Overclocking their cpu's and overheating them will do it.

It might fry them and render them useless for forensics but … needs must.

Hank won't hear Batgirl as she speaks to Oracle. "Where's the Server in the US? Somewhere I can get to?" She's already pulling on the jacket to her armour and her hood.

Identifying. I note the NYPD has been thoroughly compromised. Commissioner Gordon should be advised to conduct an audit.

"Oh, no, I'm not breached yet, I was anticipating a breach, so my main lab is all that's at risk here, thank you though, Oracle. I have engaged the air-gap to protect my friends and allies here." Hank keeps working at his counter-attack, until he realizes that there's a nano-hardware element.

"Jenkins—-" The other replies. "Little busy here, Hank…" Hank nods. "EMP the Triskelion. Shut everything down, bring it back up in stages, in isolation. Without the rest of the entity it might just work."


"ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?" Jenkins shrieks, which might just surprise Aster, Jenkins does NOT swear.

"You can do it - all you need do is overload the cloaking on a Quinjet /inside/ the building. Yes, it will fry a lot, but this attack…much more dangerous, yes?"

As Oracle begins overclocking the targeted CPU's, the attempt is immediately blocked by the AI. When this happens, two things become clear to her; one being the exact location of the attack's source. It's a bunker outside of Baghdad, presumably abandoned after the ousting of Saddam Hussein. The other is that the AI is, in fact, nanotech hardware. Physically attached to the computers in question.

Meanwhile, Jenkins is chewing on his lip. There's no time to make any phone calls, because by the time he does it, the damage will have already been done. The decision is on him, and him alone. Hank is right… it would work. But he'll be responsible for essentially 'turning off' SHIELD HQ for a matter of minutes. An eternity in the intelligence world.

Sighing, he swivels over to a tactical computer and brings up a docked Quinjet's command console. "Alright, I've got it," he says begrudgingly, his face red and eyes wide with anxiety. "Accessing Quinjet cloaking systems. Activating overload in 3… 2…"


Aster jumps from her seat, hand held out toward Agent Jenkins. "STOP! It's over. It's done."

Jenkins rips his hand away from the 'enter' key, a gasp in his chest.

Just like that, the attacks stop. Everything just… goes back to normal.

Don't EMP the Triskelion. Oracle is calm at least. Cut the communications to the building and start an investigation. The building will stay dark until that's completed but you'll not lose data and you'll be able to access the logs to see what was accessed.

In Oracles world, information is power.

A blocked attempt at overclocking is almost as good. The AI has to use computing cycles to do that and Oracle just throws more traffic at it. The resulting heat increase might not be through direct overclocking but it's almost as good.

We have a location in Baghdad. I suggest SHIELD despatch a team pronto to secure it. It seems there's some interesting hardware onsite. Satellite photos' are provided momentarily. Don't ask where Oracle got *them* from.

Location of the server, Batgirl. that's sent to the Bats hud as she heads out the Clocktower to her bike. Moments later, cape flaring behind her, Batgirl is speeding to a site near Poughkeepsie to recover the server for later analysis.

The attack has stopped. Not so those devices on the Internet though. It's going to take a bit to get all the software patched.

"Oh, thank goodness." Hank actually slumps a little, oh, should it be mentioned he was working while hanging upside down from a bar attached to the ceiling the whole time? He had a kink in his back, a chair just…ugh, painful.

"Jenkins…let your high ups know that the source was near Baghdad." He routes the satellite photos to them too, since there's not direct link between his lab and the Triskelion.

Hank sighs then, and drops to the ground, the audio probably picking up the thump. "Okay…so…the attack is done…" A grumpy sigh. "…now we do the cleanup."

"Thank you, Oracle…I…just…thank you very much."

Jenkins is still looking at Aster in shared horror of what might have been a career ender, or worse.

Of Course, Doctor McCoy. I've left you a calling card, should you ever need my assistance. I have your details, of course.

The glowing green avatar fades from Hanks screen.

Batgirl, we have disturbances all over Staten Island. Alerting the rest of the Bats. You're going to be busy tonight.

"What's new, Oracle? What's new?"


The young woman goes from angry to happy, when Facebook finally comes back up. She quickly goes live again, after fixing her hair. "Finally!" she says into the feed. "Sorry about that, friends! I guess we all just got Zuck'D!"


Aster runs her hand through her hair and leans back into her console. "I'm running a total diagnostic scan of our file system. That's all they targeted. It looks like… it looks like they were targeting files for deletion based on a series of words." She frowns at the monitor, as it keeps counting… and counting… and counting. Collating the data. Whatever they were after, it seems they weren't trying to steal anything. Just… removing things.


Hank's computer will bring up something surprising and unique. A passive echo from one of the now disabled nano devices will register a positive X-Gene. X-Gene data embedded inside of technology, which can only mean one thing: a cyberpathic mutant. He's gonna want to get his hands on the physical evidence if he has any hope of learning anything more from it.


A trio of Russian hackers pull off their headsets and sit back from their computers, after quickly pulling the plugs. Nothing proverbial here; power and Ethernet jacks are literally pulled, shutting the systems off. However, sitting at the center of the room is a young white man with long hair, dressed in a gunmetal gray skin suit. His arms are extended, with lances of colorful light running from his head, down his arms, through the tips of his fingers and into a modem. The lances of light zoom back and forth, until suddenly it's over. The color fades, and he draws back into himself, seeming tired, anxious, and terrified. He turns to look at an older Russian, dressed in old USSR military fatigues. The man is concealed in the shadow of the bunker, but the glow from his cigarette casts an eerie red light upon a face chiseled with age and marred by scars. His grizzled voice begins speaking in Russian, but for the purpose of this scene, there are subtitles.

"Good work, Comrades. Good work. We're done here. Clean it up quickly, and get the hell out of here. We'll have the teleporter move us to Staging Area 7."

Moving into the light, the man watches as the hackers get to work, then raises a cell phone to his ear. He waits patiently for a few moments, before speaking again in Russian.

"We will have company soon. We will be gone when they get here, but… let's leave them a little surprise, shall we?" A pause. "Which one do you think?" Another pause, and the man begins to smirk. "Yes. Yes… I agree."

The man closes the cell phone and looks around with a smug expression on his face. "Shift made this mess…" The smug look turns into a malicious grin.

"He can clean it up."

To be continued…

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