Chapter 1

Background

To understand the computer world of today you have to know and understand how it came about. You need to go back over forty years and understand about the events that preceded the Great Collapse of 2017. In reality it was a war, but since it wasn’t a war between nations because, instead, it was a war between ideas and concepts - those who wanted control of everything and those who wanted freedom, it wasn’t called a war. What should have been called the Third World War was fought between two ideologies as an economic war. Since they didn’t want to call it a war the historians called it the Great Collapse.

Following the end of the Second World War corporate America started taking more interest in controlling elected officials so they could adjust legislation to the advantage of their corporations. This was most often done through heavy donations to their political campaigns, thus creating a sort of debt between the politician and the donor; often these donations made the difference between winning and losing an election. Some organised together into lobby groups to campaign for law changes that helped their industry, and to campaign against changes that increased costs to their industry. By the late 1990s some lobby groups and companies owned members of the Senate and Congress outright, and they traded their votes between them. Some large companies did their own purchasing of politicians. Many laws were passed to improve the corporate profits at the expense of the general public and consumers. It got so bad the companies were purchasing presidential candidates as soon as they’re nominated, sometimes well before they’re nominated, and the presidential elections became contests between the companies for control of the laws instead of ideological conflicts between political parties. The differences between the parties became very superficial. This problem expanded from the USA to many other countries, democratic and otherwise. The situation got worse with each passing year.

The Players

Little Electronic Technologies (LET) was the largest software company of the time, best known for its Operating Systems (OS) and business applications. Their best known product being their graphics user interface (GUI) OS called Doors, as it provided doorways into all your other programs. Their advertising people were good, with their main slogan of ‘LET Doors open your business up’ being a big hit. Their first operating system was a basic disk operating system called DiS, and they did well with this for over ten years. They also sold application software; a word processor, a spreadsheet, and others. In the mid 1990s they came out with their first GUI called Doors, which was the basic GUI OS for the home; a 16 bit OS for a desktop computer only. At first it needed the installation of DiS, the next version didn’t need DiS. They soon introduced Business Doors with fully integrated network and domain modules to operate in a business Local Area Network (LAN). Both of these went through a number of versions which included some 16 to 32 bit upgrades. They were combined into one with Doors 2000, which had both a desktop and server version and was a full 32 bit OS. This was later followed with Excellent Doors desktop (in business and personal versions) with Server Doors being released as a separate server only version. In 2007 they released Lookout Doors, a 64 bit OS in a dozen different variations which caused a great confusion amongst the public while they tried to work out which version was best for them.

Despite their publicly announced release program of a new system every five years, Lookout Doors was released two years late and their next major release wasn’t until 2015 when they released Panoramic Doors, a 512 bit OS; and more, much more. Each release of Doors is accompanied with a new version of the LET Business Suite of several applications. It worked best with the equivalent release of Doors since they wouldn’t work well on earlier versions of Doors and most of the earlier Business Suite wouldn’t work on later versions of Doors.

LET wrote their software with lots of back-doors into the central kernel to allow their applications easier and faster operations by bypassing the security checks. This meant once someone could find one of these back-doors they could write a virus that took over control of the system. LET never went back and closed the back-doors. They only wrote patches to cover over the access point in their other software, or made them harder to find in the OS. The Doors OS was so insecure, and had so many holes, they needed to issue a set of such patches every month for many years, and for the whole life of the OS in most cases. With each new variation of Doors they never rewrote the basic kernel, but just kept adding to it. This kept all the old security holes in place while making the problem worse by adding more entry points due to the poor code used in writing add-ons instead of writing whole new procedures to incorporate the new items. Despite coding advances.

Most new versions had a new command set of instructions; the list of basic instructions the OS passes to the hardware and other software. Despite the existence of an industry standard command set LET used their own, a new one for each version of Doors. This made it harder for others to work with their software unless they paid LET large sums for a copy of the new command set. It also meant most software wasn’t compatible between variations of Doors, increasing consumer costs to buy new third party software with each upgrade of Doors they bought.

LET had such a hold on the retail industry they lost several court cases for misuse of their position. This didn’t make them change their methods, just increased prices to cover the costs of multi-million dollar fines. They gave hardware manufacturers large discounts on copies of Doors, provided the company sold a copy of Doors with every machine they made. Thus making Doors the most common OS in the world. By 2007 other OSs were gaining market share with much better products, but it was a very slow process to gain any market share.

Integrated Networks (IN) was the largest manufacturer of integrated circuit chips and best known for their Central Processor Units (CPUs). The best known series is the Pentultimate range. Their advertising campaign of placing stickers reading ‘Pentultimate IN-side’ on every machine with one of the CPUs worked well. The Pentultimate series were known as Penta chips, the Penta 1, Penta 2, Penta 3, through to the Penta 9. The whole Penta range was based on the same basic design and command set. All the IN CPUs prior to the Penta were 16 bit chips and the Penta 1 to 3 were 32 bit chips. Starting with the Penta 4 they made 64 bit chips. Early Penta 4s were 32 bit, and later Penta 4s were 64 bit. Each Penta model needed a different socket to sit in and they weren’t interchangeable. As the model numbers grew, so did the number of connections in the socket and the processing speed of the chip, up to the 9.5 Ghz (giga hertz) Penta 9. The Penta series was replaced in 2015 with the dramatically new Ultima CPU which was a 512 bit chip working at 6 terrahertz (Thz) or 6,000,000,000,000 cycles per second. The bit number relates to the number of bits the system can send at one time, so a 32 bit system sends twice the data as a 16 bit system, and so on. Since the creation of the first CPU the limiting factors on speed have been the size of the internal circuits and the heat created within them. The Penta series was made possible by microscopic sized circuits, while heat restricted their speed. A major leap forward with nano sized circuitry and heat resistant materials allowed the Ultima to reach such high speeds without melting down.

InLet was the biggest and richest Information Technology (IT) lobby group. Its founders and main funders were Integrated Networks and Little Electronic Technologies, thus the name - a combination of their initials. Many other smaller IT companies joined the lobby group to be insiders with them in regards to the politics and technical advances.

The Alliance was an informal association of major multi-national companies and corporations from several industries, they included the major oil companies, major motor vehicle companies, major banks, military arms companies, shipping companies, aircraft manufacturers, and major IT companies (including IN and LET). All up, The Alliance included about seventy corporations that represented over 70% of the world’s privately owned industrial, business, and economic power. Each of the corporations had annual revenues bigger than many countries’ national economies. Collectively, these corporations were the bulk of the world private enterprise economy and they worked hard at strongly controlling the economy to their own advantage.

Electronic Liberation Front (ELF) was the organisation that lobbied for openness and freedom within the IT industry. This is made up of individuals who felt greater improvements and advances could be made by the sharing of information and cooperative development programs. Most were involved in Open Source software projects. It included the best of the programmers and software writers in the world. It still exists today, with the same aims and quality of people.

Great Nerds, Operators, and Master Engineers (GNOME) was a sub group of ELF, that worked hard to reverse engineer all new proprietary software and hardware so the Open Source software could be written to be compatible with the equipment and software. They also checked and confirmed all the Open Source software released worked properly with the hardware in general use by the public, as well as writing software to allow incompatible hardware to work with Open Source software. It still exists today with the same aims and activities by its members.

Techno Rebels of Open Licence and Liberty (TROLL) was a group of individuals that worked very hard at causing trouble for companies and organisations trying to enforce restrictions on the freedom of the IT world and the Internet. Although it’s believed some members of ELF and GNOME also belonged to TROLL, it’s not known if any did since no one knows exactly who was in TROLL. TROLLs all used nick names, whilst the ELF and GNOME members usually used their real names.

The Deadman was a private individual’s nickname, he’s well known and respected by the whole IT community, and by the time of the events leading up to the great collapse he was seen as the secret grandfather figure and elder statesman of the industry. He’s a strong supporter of the use of open industry standards and knew all the IT technology from the days of the early mainframes to the latest Personal Computers (PCs). No one knew his real name, just his nickname. He usually didn’t have much to say, but when he spoke most in the industry listened and paid close attention, very close attention - because they all knew he was a genius who often predicted the future of IT.

Problems

From the first days of proprietary software people have made and used pirated copies. Many methods were tried to stop this. Some companies even installed a special type of virus in some of their media as a way to allow them to control pirate activities. The public disclosure of this was a major blow for their prestige and profits, due to consumer backlashes. Many companies, especially LET, spent a lot of time and effort to fight piracy. Many thought LET spent more money on fighting piracy than they actually lost to pirate operations. Most piracy was in countries where people couldn’t afford the retail cost of their software, anyway, so it was never a lost sale - just one they’d not have gotten.

The Internet wasn’t ever designed as, or intended to be, a secure environment, while most LANs are intended to be secure environments and are designed as such. However, when you connect a LAN to the Internet you get a mix of the security levels. You have communications coming to the PCs from both secure and insecure sources. General usage of the Internet over business networks saw a major jump in the spreading of virus and Trojan programs. This caused lots of trouble for individuals and businesses because the rogue software destroys or damages data, or steals it for misuse.

Soon Trojans were taking control of systems to harvest information that gave access to databases, bank accounts, and assisted in identity theft for unlawful use. Each year this trend grew, so did the complexity and danger of such programs. Many legitimate businesses use the same type of software to gather information to target individuals with advertising aimed at their particular interests, and other activities to boost their revenues. These programs were called spyware or malware, depending upon what it did when in place. A host of programs came out to counter all the spyware and malware programs as well as the virus programs. Because many large corporations got a financial advantage from spyware they weren’t interested in software to block malware unless it let their spyware work. Because both malware and spyware used the same processes to work it was not really possible to block one and not the other.

The Solutions

As far back as the late 1990s InLet proposed a process to resolve the piracy and malware issues by a great increase in the security of the individual PCs. Their proposal was to have the CPU and OS create a unique Identity Number (IDN) by combining the CPU serial number with OS serial number using a complex program and have this IDN automatically attached to all messages, files, and other data the PC made or sent. The registration details of all IDNs would be kept in a central registry maintained by InLet. Thus allowing the identification of anyone sending a virus or trojan or spyware and the owner of any file. People can be placed on a ‘black’ list so subscribers can access the list and have the system block mail from those people, they can also add others to their own personal ‘black’ list.

When this idea was mentioned to the general IT community and the world at large it got severely attacked from all quarters for invasion of privacy and many other angles. Most people objected to this heavy handed big brother aspect. InLet dropped the proposal, but revived it a few years later under another name, with only part of the intent being made public. They also included the concept of having it being turned on or off by the client, so it could be used for secure communication within any single LAN or set of LANs called a Wide Area Network (WAN). Again it received a bad response from the IT and general community for the very same reasons.

A few years later LET extended the on-line registration process to be an on-line activation process. No longer could you load the software and enter the registration code on its packet, you now had to go on-line over the Internet and register it on their database. This process checked to see if that serial number had already been registered, and if it had it didn’t activate. This caused a lot of problems with people who changed hardware because the installation process noted the hardware, and any significant changes required a new activation, even changing graphics cards was triggering this. After a lot of complaints the process was amended and it wasn’t so fine in its trigger process, you only had to reactivate if you changed the hard drive. Excellent Doors was the first OS to use this process, it got more difficult with later versions of Doors.

Halfway through the life cycle of Excellent Doors LET introduced another program as part of their monthly security upgrade. It was called Confirmed Authorised Doors (CAD). Whenever you accessed the LET website to get the latest load of security upgrades CAD would check your system against the activation database and not permit access to the upgrades unless it could confirm your system wasn’t a pirate. If it suspected your system was a pirate it would initiate the deactivation routine inside the Doors on your system and you had to contact LET for a licence code. Their basic assumption was you had a pirated copy.

Thousands of people had problems with CAD telling them their legal software was a pirated version. The real funny aspect of this was the part of the Doors program used to closed it down was part of the activation code that was left out of the versions sold by the pirates, so CAD couldn’t shut down a pirate copy, anyway. LET soon learned of this and amended the CAD program to first check if it could find the shut-down command on the system and refuse access to the upgrades if it couldn’t. The number of legal copy holders being closed down incorrectly by CAD grew on a daily basis, yet LET didn’t try to fix that aspect of CAD.

When LET released Lookout Doors they increased the internal security aspects by more code add-ons and had tougher versions of CAD and their activation program. The result was a less secure program that caused more hassles for the clients. Lookout Doors needed and used much more system resources than any other software, because it included lots of new features very few people used, all included and automatically loaded by default. Any Doors feature was extremely hard to disable or turn off. Lookout Doors was best described as a super nova; big, bloated, pretty to look at, but not much use for anything.

Despite LET’s marketing and hype the general public were very reluctant to move to Lookout Doors. Third party software companies were very reluctant to write software to work with Lookout Doors. There’d been expensive problems with the Excellent Doors release and they were waiting until Lookout Doors was in heavy general usage before doing anything. It was over a year before any reasonable amount of third party software was produced as Lookout Doors compatible. During this time many people stayed with Excellent Doors and those that had to change often looked at alternative OSs, including many large government organisations. LET lost a significant part of their market share and the drop continued to grow each year. They were losing significant clients throughout this time. They blamed pirates for this loss in revenue, even when it was obvious that was not the case. A clear link between loss of revenue and loss of government business as well as some major corporate clients was visible to all the analysts.

Another humorous aspect of computing life at that time was the amount of malicious code let loose as virus or Trojan Horse code. Over 90% was aimed at LET software, especially Doors, and wouldn’t run on other operating systems. The moment LET released a new version of Doors or their applications a new set of virus and Trojan Horse attacks appeared. Once a new version of LET software was about two years old new virus or Trojan Horse attacks on the older software vanished, everything was aimed at the new versions and only the new versions. Some theorised the attacks were organised by LET to gain public support for their heavier and heavier draconian security measures. Considering the new Doors releases always had the same holes as the older ones, this did seem a logical theory because any decent programmer would have closed off all known holes. Yet the LET coders never did this and all the early attacks were always through these well known holes that were still unsecured. Sloppy work or long term strategy. No one knew, outside of LET management and programmers. It was also interesting how the writers of the malware were able to get deep into the new Doors code so much faster than those working to write other software to work with Doors, even when they buy the relevant parts of the code from LET to help them.

Leap Forward

In the year 2011 some researchers developed a new composite material with a much higher heat resistance than existing materials. IN checked it out and found it was also good for making CPUs. They tested out its capabilities and reactivated some development work they had stopped because of the heat produced melting the CPUs. They now made faster and faster processors without any heat problems at all.

During 2012 one of the IN engineers worked out a way to build a CPU using true nano technology. The circuit wires were only one nanometre (nm) - one billionth of a metre across, until then the best they could do was 25 nm. This meant they can now pack a lot more into the same space and the new composite meant it wouldn’t melt on them.

IN went all out in seeing how much they could cram into a new CPU design. This resulted in the Ultima CPU, a 512 bit processor working at 6 Thz. This is 631 times faster than the Penta 9 series at 9.5 Ghz; also, the 512 bit channels moved eight times the amount of data than the 64 bit channels did. This gave a final processing difference of 5,052 times faster than the Penta 9.5 Ghz 64 bit CPU.

This was a significant, one could say a quantum, leap forward in computer processing capability. IN told no one but LET when they first designed the chip in 2013. They were still working on the command set instructions and the final data handling processes. InLet immediately decided to keep the whole thing secret until they could unveil a whole new system. LET started converting their latest version of Doors to be a 512 bit system. IN set to designing a 512 bit motherboard with built-in sound and graphics able to fully utilise the capabilities of the CPU.

By mid 2014 the Ultima chip was ready for the public and so was the Ultima motherboard with built-in 512 bit sound and graphics processor chips. The CPU socket was 25% larger than the Penta 9, so it was able to handle the extra large data channels. This system also utilised the new GEL memory storage system that allowed for 10 Zettabytes (ZB) of long term memory storage capacity; a Zetta is a term for 10 to the 21st power (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). It used the new Bubble Memory which allowed for 8 Petabytes (PB) of Random Access Memory (RAM), a Peta is 10 to the 15th power (1,000,000,000,000,000). Panoramic Doors and its matching applications, Panoramic Business Suite, were ready too. Both specially designed for the Ultima system and available only as 512 bit versions for use with the Ultima chip and motherboard.

During this time both companies had been informing the media they were developing new ground breaking systems to come, but no details were provided. The details were made public on 5 January 2015 with the official retail launch of both Ultima and Panoramic being set as 1 February 2015. InLet had kept the development details secret from the world. But in 2013 and 2014 they’d informed all the other Alliance members of their developments while they progressed.

In August 2014 InLet started selling the new Ultima / Panoramic systems to Alliance members so they could get an early start converting their computer systems over and get an operating advantage over their opponents. LET even helped them rewrite their core business software to be 512 bit software and perform better with Panoramic Doors. This was finished months before the public release. The difference was very noticeable, especially in the banking industry because the transaction approvals were very much quicker. Processing was significantly faster in all areas of computer operations.

Panoramic Doors also had a new top notch security aspect. All data stored on the system was automatically encrypted and decrypted by the system. No one could get your data unless they were logged into the system with a valid user ID and password. Even placing the storage drive in another system would not display the data as each system’s encryption program was based on an algorithm using the serial numbers of the motherboard, CPU, and Panoramic Doors; this unique number was used to base the encryption on. LET claimed this made the encryption impossible to break due to the size of the variables and the complexity of the algorithm.

Public Reaction

There was mixed public reaction to the new systems for many reasons. The main one being the cost involved. Others worried about the stability of the system. Some were concerned about their mission critical software since it wasn’t available for the new systems yet and the software companies were being careful about jumping on the band wagon, they’d been severely hurt with the release of both Excellent Doors and Lookout Doors when problems in the first six months saw service pack releases break all their software due to changes by LET, and the third party companies had to bear the expense of the changes. In each case it took them over a year to recover the expenses caused by the actions of LET.

The biggest concern for many was the activation process and the latest version of CAD. Change one part of the system and CAD killed you, giving you only two days to get a new code from LET; and you had to pay for it. They didn’t charge for the code, you just had to call them on a premium phone line and the process took fifteen to twenty-five minutes at $5 per minute in special phone charges on their help service phone line.

There were distinct advantages to switching as the fastest available system other than the Ultima / Panoramic was a Penta 9 with a Penguin OS (an efficient open source OS). The best Penta 9 system was a 64 bit 9 Ghz CPU with 100 PB of hard disk storage and 8 TB (Terrabytes) of RAM. The Ultima was 5,000 times faster with 1,000 times more RAM and 100,000 times the data storage capacity, all with a much faster access rate. This was very useful for some businesses, but not worth the trouble or cost for many. Most games companies started considering the possibilities this allowed for game complexity, but were waiting for the systems to stabilise while they investigated how to write games for the systems in a way to best utilise their full capabilities

The biggest down side was the cost. The above Penta 9 cost USD$2,000 to put on a desk with a basic office productivity suite; while the basic Ultima cost USD$8,000 for the equivalent set up, and half of that was for the new software. The other major concern was the new version of CAD, people didn’t like it or the costs it added. The third concern was the automatic encryption process, have a problem and need to replace the motherboard or CPU or load on another copy of Panoramic Doors and all your data is all gone since you can no longer decrypt it. The fourth area of concern was the inclusion of Secure Computing Identification Number (SCIdN), this created a unique serial number from a complex algorithm that used the serial numbers of the board, the CPU, and Panoramic Doors. When activated the SCIdN would be attached to all the messages and files the system sent. The SCIdN was also listed in an InLet database. LET advertised there were four levels of SCIdN usage; Off, Basic, Data, and Full. Set to Off and no SCIdN information was supplied to anyone. Set to Basic and the SCIdN was provided to the LET database with your registration details. Set to Data and it also attached your SCIdN to transmitted data. Set to Full and it listed your SCIdN with details of your registered software to the Verified Identity List Update Service (VILUS).

VILUS was a much more advanced version of CAD in that any other software company can register their products with VILUS and it noted the full details of the registered user and SCIdN. It also provided a centralised source of software updates. Every week each fully activated SCIdN system contacted VILUS and updated all the VILUS registered software on the system. VILUS wouldn’t allow the registration of a system unless they provided valid legal names, contact details, address, and ISP information. And it confirmed all of that data through publicly available database searches before accepting the registration.

Panoramic Doors also had another security feature called Trusted which could be turned on or off. It can only be turned on when SCIdN was set to Full. When turned on it only allowed your system to accept messages and files from other systems with SCIdN set to full. Panoramic Doors displayed the SCIdN and Trusted status on the Task Bar. The recommended settings were to have SCIdN set to Full and Trusted turned On for all machines in your system except the Mail Server and the Internet Proxy Server, it was recommended these have Full SCIdN and Trusted set to Off so you could receive files and data from unTrusted systems on the Internet and scan them before sending them into your system.

Naturally ELF and a few other organisations went ballistic about the invasion of privacy aspects of SCIdN and VILUS. InLet ignored them. As soon as the systems were available to the public The ELF GNOMEs started trying to reverse engineer the Ultima CPU instruction set and the coding for Panoramic, especially the code relating to SCIdN. They also worked by trial and error to develop a version of Penguin to work on the Ultima motherboards and CPUs.

Battle Commenced

Over several months the ELF members were able to create a version of Penguin that worked well on the Ultima system, but only at about 60% of the efficiency and effectiveness of Panoramic Doors. This made it a lot faster than any non-Ultima system and didn’t include CAD, SCIdN, or VILUS while saving you money. They released this version to the general public and continued to work on reverse engineering the full command set. GNOMEs were also hard at work doing the same thing, as were the TROLLs. Each group attacked the problems in their own ways, and often exchanged information with the other groups when they broke or duplicated the actions of sections of the codes.

In December 2015 several GNOMEs working as a group under the direction of two GNOMEs called ‘Zombie’ and ‘Ghoul’ were able to break down and list the whole of the Ultima Command Set. They were shocked, there were two levels of command set entry points. The main one didn’t activate the full capabilities of the Ultima chip, it slowed the processing speed down to half of what it should be; it also incorporated a delay in the on-chip cache processing. The second set of entry points were specifically written for Panoramic Doors and gave it instant access to the CPU system, and the access was well below the security gateway. Armed with this knowledge they really started work on decoding the Panoramic Doors code.

The GNOMES had only thought they’d been shocked by the revelations from the Ultima CPU command set codes; breaking the Panoramic Doors code made them quiver with rage. This included a whole range of command instructions between the operating system and the CPU that operated well below the security layers and direct into the core of both. Any really good breach of either one and you had effective control of the system. But much worse was found:-

1. The software included instructions to allow any of the LET technicians to take full control of your system no matter what you did or how you set the system up.

2. Every time you logged onto the internet your system downloaded information about all your software to VILUS, regardless of how you had it set. This couldn’t be turned off at all.
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3. SCIdN was always fully on, all that changed with the system settings was the display sign on the main window and a tag on the file to indicate the believed SCIdN status. Everything that was on or left your system had it’s SCIdN. Nor could this be turned off or the tag removed without destroying the file it was included in.

4. The system kept details of information on your Internet surfing and buying patterns, sending this information to the LET servers for analysis.

5. The system checked the system and files for key words and sent information found on them to the LET central servers.

The GNOMES were outraged and they wanted to blow the whistle on this to everyone, but the project leaders, Zombie and Ghoul, counselled for more caution and a different response. For the first time ever, The Deadman counselled for an aggressive counter response. The GNOMEs rallied to his call and went to work - with vengeance in their hearts. They were outraged by the blatant lies, deception, and invasion of privacy perpetrated by the people at LET and IN. They set out to turn the bad guys’ own tools against them and cut into their revenue.

During the first six months the GNOMEs worked hard creating a version of Penguin that used the full aspects of the Ultima CPU. First, they wrote new command sets for the CPU and BIOS, ones that were a lot more efficient than the originals and include none of the hooks or back-doors; they called this set Apex.

They followed this by writing a program to erase and replace the Ultima Command Sets, and called this CleanX.

Followed by PUPS, Penguin Ultima Processor System, and a range of related business and general use Open Source software. By using these three programs, running the erasing program first, you could get double the performance out of an Ultima system using PUPS and the Open Source software instead of the Panoramic Doors and its related business suite.

They provided the programs on a special release version of Penguin. The code was well hidden and secured. Put the disc in, reboot, and it booted to the DVD disc. The disc started running CleanX, followed by loading Apex for the CPU and BIOS, before loading PUPS. The way they wrote the program and encrypted it onto the DVD made it impossible for the InLet staff to break it open and see what they were up to. Those InLet guys weren’t good enough to write good code, so how could they break something written by people who could?

The team also wrote a program called InDaT (Intersystem Data Translator) which decrypted and copied all data stored on a Ultima system running Panoramic Doors to an external drive without encoding it. If you had an existing system you wanted to put PUPS on you ran this first to get your data safely copied off it.

When the PUPS DVDs were released InLet were only able to confirm that a system which had PUPS installed worked better and faster while it didn’t use SCIdN or VILUS and you weren’t able to load Panoramic Doors onto the system afterwards. They were very upset by this. They tried everything they could to reverse engineer the PUPS code, and were unsuccessful. But, unbeknownst to them, there was worse to happen. The full PUPS code was prepared and ready for release by February 2016, but it wasn’t released to the general public until 1st October 2016.

The Counter Attack

While these teams were writing PUPS Zombie had a select group of TROLLs who worked on a special virus and established a special server farm for him. The virus was designed to take advantage of the design faults of Doors and the Ultima Command Sets.

In writing Panoramic Doors LET had used their lazy programming techniques and tricks, as usual, to just add more code to the existing code, they’d been doing this since their very first replacement operating system. Instead of writing the new version from scratch they just take the old code and add more lines to incorporate the new capabilities, thus making the kernel and the system bigger.

This process wasn’t efficient and required the system to use more and more resources with each new release. Conversely, Penguin did a rewrite every time they made significant changes to their code, keeping it tight and effective in resource use; it was this waste of resources by Doors that made Penguin look so good, because it left so much more of the resources for use by the applications.

Another adverse aspect was the way the staff added new code, it was rare for them to add a few lines to existing routines. Their normal way left the old routine or routines in place and they just inserted a new routine in with a new name and a new line of code directing the system to the new routine. This had the result of leaving all the old security holes and faulty code in place. In the past, instead of rewriting code to remove security holes the LET coders just wrote extra code to make it harder for an external source to access the core aspects of the software. Even so, they also spent a lot of time writing back-doors to allow their other application software quick and easy access to the core functions by going past the security check points. When hackers found these back-doors they just made minor changes in the access point from the application instead of improving the security of the operating system kernel. This meant the whole Doors operating system had security holes all over it, and they were all there ready for use by someone who could find their current location. LET firmly believed in security by obscurity, not security by access control approval. And the TROLLs made full use of this almost non-existent security system.

Many of the GNOMEs and TROLLs thought one of the reasons the old code was left alone and not changed was because the code within Doors was not well documented. The code showed many different styles of writing code, and they felt the new coders didn’t understand what the previous coders were doing, so they just put in new code instead of trying to work out how the old code was meant to work.

Zombie needed a way to get deep into the kernel of Panoramic Doors and the Ultima Command Sets without activating any of the security alert systems, as he wanted to take full control of the system. In a study of the code for Panoramic Doors and Ultima he saw certain functions could give automatic upgraded security access levels of the instructions being handed over to the other side. Thus, by sending a certain command into Panoramic Doors and back into Ultima it would return with a much higher internal security access approval. Over time he was able to track a path where a program approval or user ID authority could be passed back and forth between the two instruction sets through the back-doors and below the security check points while increasing in access approvals with each pass. Using this path he could upgrade the authority for a specific ID and program to have the highest level of authority within both systems and run without being disturbed by the security programs of either system. He wrote a virus called Pegasus to take advantage of this to open and run a program the TROLLs wrote and called Peroxide. This short program did very little, it contacted a special web server and downloaded a program called Blond while assigning it the highest possible access authorities.

Now the true beauty of this system was Blond, this multi-part Trojan Horse program did several things:

1. It checked the full system for an existing copy of Blond, terminating if a copy was found and the checksum matched; overwriting it and running if the checksum didn’t match.

2. Copying Blond onto the system in a hidden system folder with back up copies in other hidden folders. It also amended all recovery and back up copies to reflect the same date as when created, but now included the copies of Blond.

3. It sent copies of Pegasus with every transmission it made, thus infecting every Ultima machine it came in contact with.

4. Blond copied all the SCIdN and VILUS information and sent it to Zombie’s special web server farm while doing automatic updates whenever it updated the normal SCIdN and VILUS information.

5. It chose appropriate times to run InDaT to decrypt and copy all data on the system before encrypting it to another program and transmitting it over the Internet to Zombie’s special web server farm.

6. On a set date and time in mid 2017 Blond ran a program to copy parts of itself into RAM, erase Panoramic Doors from the hard drive, then run CleanX and Apex. Thus leaving the system without an operating system. The BIOS and CPU command set would no longer work with Panoramic Doors, so it couldn’t be reloaded onto the system. However, it would allow you to load PUPS onto it.

The TROLL team had everything ready by 1st June 2016 and they released Pegasus into the wild on that day. By 1st August 2016 every known machine running Ultima and Panoramic Doors was sending data to Zombie’s servers on a daily basis.

Zombie’s server farm was the biggest one in existence at that time, because he had copies of the entire corporate files from just about every company in the world on it.

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Story tagged with:
Science Fiction / Near Future / Science / Hackers /