Captain X-Ploit: Matlock rocks my socks off

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Matlock rocks my socks off.
– Part 5 of the epic chronicle –
Captain X-Ploit vs. The Bills

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. ~ Bob Hope

Foreword:

Since this Captain X-Ploit episode is a continuation of the original saga, and since it’s been a really, really long time since the good Captain has deigned to make an appearance, the following are links to the original episodes so we can all get caught up with the story thus far.

David went back to his home. It was a rather pleasant house in a nice neighborhood. Its generic white walls gave no indication that an evil genius might live inside. That was exactly how David liked it and exactly why he had bought it.

As he parked his new prize in the garage he could hear the excited clicking of Nicky’s nails on the tile as she doubtlessly was rushing to see why the garage door was opening. As he walked in he knelt down to pet her affectionately and passed her an oatmeal raisin bagel.

She barked appreciatively and then began to wolf it down. “Oh Nicky, you’re the best roommate a guy could ask for.” That thought gave him pause for a moment. “Roommate,” he re-uttered the word. Perhaps that is the key for today’s adventure he thought. Leaving Nicky to enjoy her bagel, he hastily ran upstairs to hop online and do some research while enjoying his bagel and coffee.

After about ten minutes of useful research and about three hours of watching internet videos, he picked up his phone and called the bank.

“Hello, you’ve reached ‘Stage Coach Banking’, my name is Jenny. How can I help you today?”

“Hello Jenny, My name is David Nicholas Stone and I regret to inform you that I will not be paying my mortgage payment this month.”

“Hmmm… It says here that you have never made a payment and I need to send the police to evict you.”

“Ah, yes, I figured as much. But see, the problem is that I have suffered a bout of extreme aging and I am now over the age of 65 and therefore am exempt from eviction.”

“Oh, goodness! Are you OK, sir?”

Quite. In fact, the senior discounts are very handy and I find myself truly enjoying Matlock for the first time in well… ever I guess.”

“That’s a relief! But you do realize we will require at least a doctor’s note confirming your age, Mr. Stone”

David smiled and joyfully rolled his chair over to the file cabinet next to his desk and fingered through it until his hands landed on the file he was looking for. It was labeled “Nicky’s vet records.” He pulled out the latest checkup. Among the general stats at the top was written “age: 13” and “age in dog years: 65”.

“I have the file here from my medical care provider clearly stating that by a unit of measure I am to be considered 65 years of age.”

“Excellent. If you will just scan and email that file to us we will be forced to leave you be until you die.” Jenny said cheerfully.

“Sure thing. Oh, one last detail. Under age it says “13” that is in reference to the age of my new hip, not my actual age. My actual age is labeled “dog years” but in fact that is a typo, they meant to put “God years,” as in how long it has been since God created my magnificent body.”

“I will make a note of that right here, Mr. Stone, and we will be sure to consider that when viewing your file. Is there anything else you need help with today, sir?” Jenny asked politely.

“No, I believe I have been served quite well, Jenny. Thank you.” He said.

“Well, would like to take a brief survey to rate my…” Click.

“Nice girl,” David thought to himself as he hung up the phone and scanned in Nicky’s vet document. “Well, that takes care of the mortgage, now I just have to deal with electricity, gas, and credit cards.”

David couldn’t help but feel pleased with himself after this solution. The only thing he liked more than a well implemented exploit was one that tied up a loose end for the foreseeable future. He figured he deserved a break to blow the heads off of some zombies before returning to the tiring yet fulfilling task of escaping work.

As he watched the zombie heads bouncing off his HD monitor in time to the resonating sloppy thuds emitting from his surround sound system he couldn’t help but feel depressed that he hadn’t yet cracked the ultimate shell; His ultimate prize and undying desire. This was of course to game the system so completely and so perfectly that he could have his lifelong goal of unlimited money. Until that day he felt like a rank amateur playing at his profession of slacker.

This nagging feeling had plagued him since childhood. His parents had always been on the overbearing side and watched his every move. While the normal kids experimented with drugs, alcohol and sex, he was left to only watch. Stuck between their rock hard force in his life during the times of their explicit presence and their unshakable expectations when there weren’t by his side.

His youth was one filled with angst and rebellion building in an un-manifestable form. It began when he was fourteen; the world opened to him as he realized a non-physical but equally caustic way to vent his adolescent aggression. A way that was invisible to his ever present parents. It was the life of exploits. He could practice this form of rebellion anywhere at any time without accomplices and without raising a single flag to his parents.

And so, with no conscious knowledge or understanding deeper than raw, raging adolescent emotion piloting his brilliant mind toward anarchistic oblivion, the greatest hacking mind was born into the world. The idea that what he was doing was hacking had never crossed his mind. For hacking, you see, isn’t anything more than a label affixed to a mindset. It wouldn’t be until later that the world would forcibly open David’s eyes to the cause he was part of.

It was this evolution of mentality that brought David to this exact tipping point that would thrust him over the edge into a world of politics and aliens. But I am getting ahead of myself. Back to the precipice, back to the original unending quest for the perfect exploit; the exploit that to David consciously meant unlimited money and power, but subconsciously meant so much more.  It meant the quenching of an unquenchable thirst; the scratching of an invisible ever-present itch; the completion of his greatest work of art.

I mention all of this not to ruin the readers surprise, but in hopes of whetting their appetite. This exact day was the day David succeeded in breaking the system so completely that his dream was realized.

So once again David uses his awesome Social Engineering skills, mixed with fraudulent information hacked into the bank records (recall that Nicky the dog’s “legal” name is David Nicholas Stone) to avoid his mortgage payment. This exploit is particularly interesting in that it’s a variation of identity theft where rather than stealing someone’s identity you give your identity to someone who doesn’t know or doesn’t care – like Nicky, David’s canine roommate – such that they are responsible for your debts. Now, granted this exploit only works this well in Trustonia, but I suspect there are variations that work quite nicely here in reality. To the extent that we live in reality.

The last part is an interesting discourse on the hacker mindset from the thinly veiled pen (er… keyboard) of the creator of Captain X-ploit. Certainly something to think about while you are planning your next exploit (er… adventure).

Whatever Happened to Security For All?

Where have all your good words gone?
Where have all your stories gone?
From Where Have All Your Good Words Gone by Laura Gibson

Long, long ago, way back in December of 2011 the latest blog entry appeared in Security For All. What become of the author and his intrepid sidekicks Dr. Security and Captain X-Ploit has been the stuff of no small amount of speculation among the Information Security literati. Actually to my knowledge there has been no speculation at all. Small or otherwise. But I digress.

By way of excuses let me say that a whole bunch of stuff has happened since that last post around Christmas time. Primarily, in January I started  a new position as Software Architect for Trustwave. I could let you guess at my employer like I did back when I first started blogging while working at StillSecure, but anyone can look it up on LinkedIn so the thrill is gone. Also let me point out that Trustwave and Spiderlabs are quite well known in the blogosphere having several excellent corporate blogs. This is not one of them. Whatever I say here is strictly me and they have nothing to with it. Much less approve or disapprove. In any case I’ve been drinking from the firehose since January without much opportunity to do much of anything else.  Thus the reason for the 3 month hiatus of Security For All.

But I’m back. And so is the good Captain. So stay tuned.

Captain X-Ploit: Sara and Maxi’s magnificent monetary mischievous maneuver.

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
Sara and Maxi’s magnificent monetary mischievous maneuver.
– Part 4 of the epic chronicle –
Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met.

After the alien left, restoring time to its usual single dimensional, flowy self, Max and Sara found themselves at the library. Hunched over a computer, Sara was reading her way through the wiki entries on several celebrities as Maxwell was standing next to her with an awe-filled grin plastered on his face.

“Sara?” he asked, “Yes, Maxi?” Sara responded with a stunning smile on her face. “So like… wow, you’re telling me I can take any of these books and no one would care?” he asked. His fascination with this concept had less to do with the concept of taking things without people caring and more with the concept that other places were supposed to operate differently. Being famous, handsome, and lucky he had never found people to be opposed to him taking whatever he wanted anyway.

“Well, yes… but you have to run them through the little machine over there,” she gestured with a hand, not removing her eyes from the screen, “before you can leave with it.”

“Weird,” Max said trailing off, distracted by a girl walking by. “I think I’ve got all the information I need,” she said snapping Max’s attention back to her.  “So like… what are we doing again?” Max asked, looking confused as Sara began to scribble several notes onto her hand. She smiled at Max without a hint of exasperation even though she’d explained it over thirty times on the way to the library.

Later that day at the bank:

Sara walked in confidently, leaving Max outside to ponder the complex plan. “Hi, I’m Sara Paylyn,” she said to the teller, “and I’d like to withdraw all my monies.”

“Sure thing Mrs. Paylyn, we just need to ask a question. For security reasons, of course.” Sara nodded and the lady began her list of questions.

“What is your pet’s name?”

Sara hastily glanced at her hand and responded quickly “Birstal.”

“Fantastic, Mrs. Paylyn! How much would you like to withdraw.”

Sara pretended to think for a moment before responding “All of it, I think.”

Several moments later:

Sara was standing outside the bank with $4,312,632.13, explaining to Max how she would surely win the contest now, when Max interrupted, “CONTEST!!! Oh man, I love contests… I wanna be a part of it!” Sara smiled at him wondering if every clone had hacking skill.

“Go for it, Maxi! What’s your plan?” she asked.

Max just shook his head, not wanting to reveal his brilliant plan, and walked confidently into the bank. At the counter the teller looked at him and said, “How can I help you, handsome?”

“Ya, hi, I’m some, like, rich dude and I want to, like, get my money… you know, like, for spending.”

“Okay…,” the lady said, her smile wavering for a moment, “What’s your name.”

“Maxwe…,” he stopped himself, “ahh… I mean,” his eyes dashed about wildly for a name he could use, “Trisha Smith” he exclaimed with a smile as he read her name tag.

Her eyes went wide for moment in shock as she responded “That’s my name, sir… what is YOUR name” she said.

His eyebrows furrowed in deep thought before reading another name off the business card on the counter. “Emmet Brown” he responded with a smile.

“You’re not Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown owns this bank and you’re far more handsome than he is.”

“I had plastic surgery…” Max smiled his perfect smile at her.

“Okay, well I have to ask you this question to be sure. What is your favorite color?”

Max puzzled for a moment thinking how to respond before he finally decided to guess at random, “Hot Pink”

Trisha looked astonished, staring at him “Emmet, is that really you?”

“Yes, now, I’d like to take the money please.”

“Of course, sir,” she said shuddering a little, “How much do you need?”

“All of it would be nice,” he responded without hesitation.

All of the money in the bank?” she asked in amazement.

“Yes.” He responded politely with a smile.

That night at midnight:

Sara and Max were standing waiting for David to appear. Sara couldn’t help but feel a little crestfallen. As much as she liked Max and enjoyed seeing him win, she had only $4 million to her name whereas Max had walked off with the entire contents of the bank. Which happened to be transported at the moment in the truck of a man he had paid $1,000.

At least I can still beat David, that smug jerk, she thought as she saw David and Tedward walking up the street toward her.

At last we’re back to the hacking contest betwixt David and Sara – and Maxwell it seems – with Sara (and Max) using a tried and true exploit against weak authentication. I love the part where Maxi (AKA the stupidest life form in existence) is the one to hit the mother-lode by sheer dumb (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) luck. Much like the “hackers”, script kiddies and others who are routinely publicized by the panic-stricken (and panic-mongering) popular press. It ain’t rocket science folks. But it works. Really, really well. I’m still pulling for David and his mouse minions, though. How can you not be partial to plans involving cohorts like Mr. Biscuits, Señor Sparkles and Dr. Whiskers?

Captain X-Ploit: Maxwell D. Higgens

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
A life without love is a life wasted… or whatever. ~ Maxwell D. Higgens
– Special Edition –

This is a story about Maxwell, it begins in the lab of an alien ship floating somewhere in the Betelgeuse system.

Stan cast his eyes around the lab looking for someone to exclaim in amazement to. He had done it! Finally and definitely done it. In the DNA of one human baby named David Nicholas Stone he had found what he had suspected all along. What he had found was in fact, a gene that actualized only favorable outcomes for its owner.

It had been speculated that such a gene existed ever since Blungo of the Solaris Nebula placed a million cat-like creatures in a million boxes that released poison randomly and found after 20 trials that only one cat remained. Having based his trial more on a hatred of the cat like creatures rather than an actual belief it would yield more information than was already known. In anger at his failing Blungo promptly threw the creature out the window where it fell 400 feet landing on all fours comfortable on a mattress that by incredible odds was being delivered to the building that day. Blungo then spent the rest of his life following the cat-like creature. That is to say, Blungo followed that cat until Blungo died… the cat still lives on due to randomly gaining immortality by being struck with lightning while lapping up some particularly tasty cream in a field of warm pillows that smell of tuna.

Stan, desperate to prove to the world he had indeed found the gene proceeded to clone David and activate this gene as hastily as possible, cutting out any dominant traits that even looked like they could limit or cause the “Luck Gene” to not display properly. 9 months later the baby was placed on earth to be examined by a universe full of excited scientists. He was left in the care of an extremely lucky couple who had wanted a baby since the first time they had won the lottery but had never managed to conceive.

It was a perfect summer night when Mrs. Higgens found a baby had been left in front of their mansion with a note reading “The fate of the universe does not lie in his hands, but he’s pretty cute. He represents hundreds of years of work and I’ll miss him. So take care of him. Or I’ll disintegrate you.” The Higgens couple just assumed it was a joke and the child was left by some teenage girl not ready to raise him. This mattered little to them, however, because their final dream had come true. They had a son.

Maxwell grew up different from most of the children. Statistics didn’t seem to apply to him, his brilliant blond hair and stunning blue eyes, the fact he had never been sick a day in his life, the mind boggling circumstance that whenever presented with an exam he circled at random and received 100%’s.

His life was magical and beyond perfection. He was everything everyone wanted to be, stunningly handsome, unfathomably lucky and inconceivably wealthy. His luck gave him everything, save for one part of his being, his intelligence.  It became blindingly obvious as Maxwell grew that in addition to being unbelievably lucky he was also profoundly stupid.

At the tender age of 18 Maxwell found himself in California after leaving his house in hopes of finding the one thing his luck had never given him, a girl he could love. His quest began shortly after the 37th girl, an international super model in this case, that pledged her undying soul in devotion to him. After hearing how she said he made her feel he knew he must find a girl who could make him feel that way. He began his search in his usual way, by wandering around aimlessly for several hours.

After finding himself in California, roughly 1000 miles from where he started, he figured he’d better buy a house and some food. A few charges to his credit card later he found himself living in Beverly hills with a piece of pizza in his hands.

Several years and 462 girls professing their love on the first date later, he found himself to be one of the world’s most esteemed and famous actors, having won countless awards after accidentally wandering onto the live set of a movie and as he put it ‘just going with it’. But countless awards, unheard of amount of money, and innumerable numbers of nights with super models seemed to bring him no closer to his quest.  The universe couldn’t deny him his dream endlessly, however. One day an alien walked into his bed room with news that would bring him one step closer to his true dream.

“Did Ryan send you to show the girls out?” Maxwell asked from his bed which happened to contain and indeed be surrounded by 8 of the most beautiful human females the alien had ever seen. The alien, who was about 9-feet tall, grey, with an odd shaped head and pitch black eyes, was momentarily confused by the question.

“No, I’m here to collect the David clone. You were supposed to be in Trustonia months ago!” the alien replied.

“Really? Is that what all that mail I kept getting that said ‘fate of the universe’ and crap like that, was all about?” Maxwell asked simply.

“Did you not think it odd that your butlers keep moving to Trustonia to prepare your house?” the alien asked in amazement at Maxwell’s stupidity.

“That’s what they were doing? I thought they were moving there to look for more girls to bring me,” Maxwell replied.

“Look, just come with me, I’ve paused time and I need to introduce you to the other,” the alien explained.

Several (what would have been, if time was not paused) hours later in Trustonia:

“Greetings Miss Boulder, I bring with me…” the alien was in the middle of saying when the gorgeous man interrupted hastily “Wow! A world full of people who don’t move! Oh, I know, we must be in Canada! Yes that’s got to be it.” The alien looked pained by the handsome man’s obvious stupidity as he finished his thought “Maxwell Damian Higgens, perhaps the stupidest life form in existence.”

Sara’s jaw dropped in amazement. A more perfect face she could not dream of. Her soul all but wept for wanting of the visage that danced in front of her believing eyes. At that point she knew two things. One, she would pledge her every breath to him and two she would have him.

Note from the author:

Well at long last I finally offer you the back story of Maxwell Higgens. I feel this release has to come with an apology for its lateness. Believe it or not I actually wrote three different introductions for Maxwell.  But each of the others didn’t quite capture what I wanted Maxwell to be. I will make no more promises on release dates since work, school, friends and life keep getting in the way of my weekly goal of writing Captain X-ploit. I will state however, if you wish to get updates on what’s going on in the world of Trustonia, hop on over to Facebook and fan this series. I will post updates there.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Nicholas-Stone/115707671857486?sk=wall

Captain X-Ploit: Put your hands together for Sara Boulder

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
“Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for Sara Rachel Boulder”
– Part 3 of the epic chronicle –
Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met.

Sara Boulder awoke on that shimmering morning in the softest bed she had scammed her way into yet. She wandered over to her victim’s stereo system scanning the shelves for something good to listen to while she got ready for the day. Her eyes fell upon Seether’s new album “Holding Onto Stings Better Left to Fray”. Well at least this sucker has good taste in music, she thought to herself as she put it in and began to sing happily to “Country song” and…

What? <pause> What do you mean I can’t spend an entire post promoting Seether’s new album? <longer pause> Oh come on, IT ROCKS! <short pause> Ok, ok, fine… anyway.

AFTER getting ready she danced down the stairs and raided her victim’s fridge. The reader might be wondering where the proper owner of this house is. Well, at the very moment she was raiding his fridge he was prancing about the park telling everyone he could, to please visit the nearby pub and tell the bartender the keyword “relevant”. He was under the firm yet mistaken belief that if he could simply get 200 people to visit the pub and do this Sara would go out with him.

One might wonder what thoughts would run through the head of a man this pathetically lonely. Well, his thoughts were as follows. Hmm… I’m really hungry… But I only need to get 192 more people to go to the pub… Damn the park is FULL of balding men today I wonder what they are up to… no bother I’ve got to get this done and then I can win back the keys to my house and a chance with the girl of my dreams…

If he had been a brighter man, he would have noticed that the other balding men were doing the exact same thing with different words Sara had found on a motivational poster in the trash outside of the coffee shop. If he had been a brighter man still he would realize that this, in effect, made it so that none of them would be able to get 20 people to go to the pub let alone 200. If he had been a brighter man still he would not have given her the keys to his house as “collateral for this once in a lifetime chance”.

Sara left his house with a heart melting smile on her flawless face when, in a flash of light,

All time stopped.

She knew this because the people had stopped moving and the door had stopped flying shut in her wake. Hmm, I knew I was pretty but I’ve never broken time with a smile before. Damn… I am magical… hmm, no wait here comes an alien he must want to talk to me… but wait who is that wonderful beast he is dragging along with him, she thought.

“Greetings Miss Boulder, I bring with me…” the alien was in the middle of saying when the gorgeous man interrupted hastily “Wow! A world full of people who don’t move! Oh, I know, we must be in Canada! Yes that’s got to be it.” The alien looked pained by the handsome man’s obvious stupidity as he finished his thought “Maxwell Damian Higgens, perhaps the stupidest life form in existence.”

Note from the author: To my adoring fans I have two gifts. The first is a bit of advice and the second is a promise.

Firstly: Go buy Seether’s new album. It’s good.

Secondly: Since I missed last week due to an amazing and unparalleled bout of apathy I will have a Sunday special edition chronicling the past of one Maxwell Damian Higgens.

Now without further ado, I will leave it to our previously scheduled commenter to discuss this week’s episode of Captain X-Ploit.

If the unexpected back-story detour into the world of Sara Boulder hasn’t given you a severe case of WTF then you probably aren’t paying attention. And what’s up with this new Damian Higgens guy? Guess we’ll find out soon.

This episode’s exploit is a classic. It combines the best (worst) parts of 419 scams with multilevel marketing. Kind of like Nigerian Amway. Seriously though, who hasn’t seen those web sites that offer you something really cool – like say a free iPad – and all you have to do is get 10 friends in on it. In the final analysis nobody gets any free iPads and the spammer gets lots of juicy info from their unwitting down-line. Exactly like the poor balding schmucks trolling the park won’t ever get a date with Sara while she gets free use of their houses.

Captain X-Ploit: Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met. Part 2


The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
The Amazing Adventure of Mr. Biscuits, Señor Sparkles and The Evil Dr. Whiskers
– Part 2 of the epic chronicle –
Strangers are just Enemies you haven’t met.

David’s adventure:

That damn Sara, who does she think she is trying to take my place as rightful hacker god of this town? I’ll show her,” David thought to himself as he strode into the local pet store named “PuppyStation”. He sauntered up to the counter and said “I need a…. Wait! Is that sign for real?” The clerk’s eyes followed David’s gaze to a sign that read ‘NOTE TO EVERYONE: You will no longer be able to walk your dogs. We regret to inform you that we will be shooting any dogs being walked.

Before David could exclaim about how terrible this was and use his hacking skill to right this horrible wrong a strange group of men wearing paper bags on their heads walked in. They hastily sped to a door labeled “Totally Secure room” one of them reached for the handle. It fell off in his hand and the door swung open.

As the men were running away with fists full of dog callers and cash the man behind the counter said “Hey! You can’t do that!!!!” In a flash he was in hot pursuit. “HEY!” yelled David. “I was gonna do that…” he trailed off quietly and anticlimactically in an empty store. “Nuts to this,” David thought as he pocketed “trained mice” who, according to the sign on the enclosure, come when called by name.

Back out on the street corner he pulled the mice out and bestowed upon each a name to be inscribed in eternity with shimmering golden letters. “You shall be known as ‘Mr. Biscuits‘!” with a stone serious look etched onto his face he liberated the second mouse from its pocket prison. “The Gods of fate bestow upon you the title ‘Señor Sparkles‘. With equal eloquence he produced the third and proclaimed “The bowels of eternity will forever echo the name ‘Dr. Whiskers‘”.

A flash of lightning on a clear sunny day sealed the ceremony with the severity only a god can grant.  Or maybe it was a backfiring car. Either way, David hurriedly made his way to the high-end retail district.

He entered the first store he saw and loosed his little friends, waited about twenty seconds for the screams, then wandered over to the counter demanding to speak with the owner. Upon the flustered store owner’s arrival, David explained that he was the health inspector and would have to ‘shut down his establishment lest he get rid of this horrific infestation immediately’.

“But where will I get one on such short notice?” the owner asked.

“Well… I am also an exterminator.” David replied

After departing from the store $1000 richer he repeated this procedure until the sun was about to set.


End note by author:

Really, Sony, Really?
Well, Mr. Joe Webster I think I’ll let you have at them.

End note by regularly scheduled commentator:

Okay, Mr. Nicholas Webster maybe I will. First let me say how nice it is to have the good Captain back with us after his semester long hiatus.

For those non-gamer readers among us, the seemingly gratuitous digression (all right obviously gratuitous digression) into illegal dog walking – something that was previously not only legal but encouraged and a popular feature of dog ownership – was a shot at the recent and still unfolding massive data breach of the Sony Playstation Network. This attack against PSN evolved from an attempt by some hackers (perhaps modders would be a better term) to figure out how to get their modded Linux powered PS3’s to work with PSN after Sony decided that in spite of advertising it as a feature, the Linux capability should be disallowed and unceremoniously forced an “upgrade” on all PS3 owners to do just that. Needless to say many of the PS3 hacker community were not amused.
Then when it turned out that Sony was really attempting to take complete control of every PS3 unit to make their PSN “security” much easier, not only did that further incense the hacker community, but it went pear shaped in a big way. A really, really big way. A 77 million PSN users and counting data exposure way. “So what’s the beef with Sony?”, you might ask if you are not a PSN user. Let me put it as delicately as I can, since your gamer friends and children will be significantly more brutal in their explanation.

  1. When you sell an item to a customer, they own that item. You have no right to alter that item without the customer’s – i.e. the owner’s – express consent.
  2. When the security of a client/server based system depends on you having control of both the client and the server and you do not have actual physical control over the client, you have no security.
I won’t even get into the attempted cover-up, the blame-shifting and other dubious behavior by Sony. Those are topics for another full blog entry. Suffice it to say – Sony = EPIC FAIL.

As for the actual parable in this episode, David – with the help of his trusty trained rodent companions Mr. Biscuits, Señor Sparkles and Dr. Whiskers implement a classic “fake malware removal” scam. You know what I’m talking about here – those “Your computer is infected with a virus” pop-ups you get online that then offer to sell you malware protection that will fix the problem. Of course you will have the same experience as the luckless store owners had with David and Co.’s “rodent mitigation” if you fall for it.

Welcome back Mr. Stone! We missed you.

Captain X-Ploit: Amazing Cross Dimensional Christmas Special

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
David’s Amazing Cross Dimensional Christmas Special!
– Christmas Special –
Featuring Olive DunBeef and Tedward Jones

David walked down the stairs on this glorious Christmas morning to find a tall blonde women standing next to his tree.

“Wow, Santa really outdid himself on my present this year.” David said. The women shot him a dark look and then said, “Look, we don’t have much time. I’m Olive DunBeef with Border Division of the FBI. I’m from a parallel universe and we desperately need one, David Nicholas Stone to come back with me to our universe and save Christmas from the hands of another parallel universe’s me who seeks to destroy it by means of using the Grinch who she picked up in another parallel universe.”

David paused for a moment, pondering the unfathomable bizarreness of being David Stone. Ultimately he responded, “Sounds fun, but wouldn’t folding the fabric of space time and traveling between alternate dimensions have a negative effect on the time space continuum or something?” Olive paused for a moment before responding hesitantly, “uhh… well… last time…” Just then David burst into laughter “I’m just messing with ya, sounds fun… let’s go. But wait it’s already Christmas, aren’t we already too late?” “No,” Olive explained, “In our dimension it is still Christmas Eve and we have one day to save Christmas!”

5 minutes later:

As they were preparing to jump to the parallel universe Ted wandered in. After a quick briefing to apprise the Commander In Chief of this dimension’s United States of the situation, President Ted said “Well that sounds like a delightful good deed. I’ll go with you!” David looked at Ted weirdly for a moment before saying “Really man, really?”

2 hours later in a parallel dimension:

“So let me get this straight, Evil Olive has used cutting edge technology to clone the Grinch 500 times and is going to have him steal Christmas from your universe because she’s “a dick” [making finger quotes] and you want me…,” “and me!” Ted chimed in, “…to save Christmas by the means of our magical brains and experience with cloning situations.” David said. “Pretty much,” Olive said, “Do you think you can do it?”

David paused for a moment, “Of course. I’ve got an idea, but I’ll need access to a cloning machine and the ability to travel multiple dimensions.” “We can only give you the multiple dimensions thing, we can’t clone here.” Olive said sounding crushed. David’s grin faded as he tried to figure out how he was going to fix the problem. “David,” Ted exclaimed, “I do believe I might have a favorable solution to this quandary of a pickle we seem to find ourselves occupying at the moment. I seem to recall the aliens in our dimension saying that they owed us for finding a round-about way to fix their heat machine and those same aliens have a cloning machine!” “Brilliant work Tedward!” David exclaimed, “We must hurry if we wish to save Christmas in time though.” “Quick! Gather your things, good friend, and let this adventure begin.”

Olive looked at them with amazement and said “you guys can’t seriously be this disgustingly cheery and over the top all the time.” David gave her with a look of pure horror as he said, “Well duh, of course not! But this is a Christmas adventure… you’re supposed to be completely over the top and cheery.” Olive smiled and said “Ok, well if we’re going to save Christmas I guess we’d best get on with it. What’s your plan?”

5 hours later:

“Ok, after stopping in about a billion dimensions and after two of the most boring hours of my life, I think we are finally set.” David said. “I actually must concur with you on the tedious nature of the previous two hours friend. One would think that a process as multifarious and remarkable as cloning a living being would be more stimulating. But at any rate, what comes next in our ingenious plan?” Ted responded.

“Well let’s see. First we traveled to the dimension of holidays and picked up Jack Skellington… then we took him to our dimension and cloned him what felt like a billion times. Now I guess all that’s left to do is unleash him on the universe and see if he can beat the Grinch. I’m guessing with all those pumpkin bombs and dreadful monstrous presents he should be able to get it done in no time.”

5 minutes later:

“You tell me there are millions of little children all wanting gifts but this monster wishes to steal their Christmas!” Jack said. “Yes!” David said, “And if you don’t stop him the children will be without their presents of rats and bats and such.” “He must be stopped!” Jack yelled.

The next day by 4:00 am Christmas had been saved and brought to the children by an army of Jack Skellingtons.

“Well, I have to admit David, we seem to have accomplished the amazing and protected Christmas from the Grinch.” Ted said, “But aren’t you a little worried about this dark Halloween-ish Christmas Jack seems to have brought?”

“Pft… are you joking?” David asked, “This is awesome; I’m hanging out here every Christmas!” David cast an eye to the sky which held a mist covered full moon. He squinted and was able to catch a sleigh being pulled by a set of dark skeletal reindeer and a ghostly dog with a glowing nose taking up lead silhouetted against the large moon. Perched precariously in the sleigh was the terrible specter of Jack who threw his head back, let out a dark semi-evil laugh and said loudly enough to carry to David’s pricked ears “Ho, Ho, Ho Merry Christmas!” A shiver ran down David’s spine as a grin broke across his face. “Indeed, Jack… this shall be a Merry Christmas.”

On the heels of his wild Halloween adventure, our dubious hero saves [sort of] Christmas in the multiverse. Any Christmas adventure that can weave Fox’s “Fringe”, Dr. Suess’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” into a semi-coherent narrative has got to get you into the spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas to All from Joe, Nicholas, David and everyone at Security for All!

Captain X-Ploit Halloween special: 28 Stores Later

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 4 of the week long Halloween special –
28 Stores Later

David boarded the first flight to Minnesota on his way to The Mall of America. Surely he could spend a relaxing Halloween in a mall he thought. Never have malls been a scene of horror he thought.

Several hours later at the mall:

David walked from store to store enjoying the sights and sounds of the biggest mall he’d ever visited. After a while, however, the people seemed to start acting strangely. Their normal strides devolved to leg-dragging hobbles. Their eyes glazed over and their ability to give him proper change had all but vanished. David continued to shop, determined to not have his Halloween ruined by the simple emergence of zombies.

Try as he might however, it did interfere with his plans, because after about four hours all of the dead-eyed monsters promptly dropped their thin pretense of humanity and wandered out of the stores and began to commit, what David considered the most disgusting, vile act imaginable. They started distributing advertisements for Viral-agra.

A well dressed, clearly non-zombie man walked up to David and spoke hastily. “My name is Joseph Webster. President Ted has sent me to ask if you could help fix this zombie outbreak. I am to lend as much aid as possible.”

“I think fate has destined me to have a crappy Halloween,” David sighed, “I assume simply killing the infected is unacceptable?”

“Ted said he’d prefer an outcome in which the infected NOT die. After all, election season is upon us. He said we don’t necessarily have to cure them, just stop the outbreak and preferably stop them from distributing those tasteless ads.” Joe paused gauging the scowl on David’s face, “In case it matters, I have managed to track the source of the infection.”

“Really?” David brightened visibly, “That’s certainly a step in the right direction. Take me there.”

A few minutes later:

They were standing outside a local adult bookstore. David could see how Joe had discovered this. Healthy patrons walked in and monsters walked out. David bowed his head in shock and shame. “They are disgracing the once respectable name of porn.”

After walking into the store it was immediately apparent what was going on.  People were filing into a room with a door labeled “free porn” one by one. Those leaving seemed to have some strange device attached to the back of their heads. After entering the room they saw that people would walk-in, sit in a chair and put their face into a view screen expecting porn, but instead a control device was attached to the back of their head and they were kicked out of the room. David promptly walked over to the machine and when the room was empty, placed an “out of order” sign on the machine and waited for the next group.

After informing the next group that the machine was broken he wandered out of the room, over to the counter and promptly demanded to speak to the owner of the store. The attendant walked off and returned with the owner, a tall dark haired man who’s outfit and demeanor all but screamed “hacker”.

“The ‘free porn’ machine is broken. I sat there, like forever, man, and NO PORN!” David said, attempting to sound stupid enough to impress the poser, “I’m pissed man, I want my money back!”

The owner raised an eyebrow, “You want your $0.00 back?”

“Yes! and I want it fixed NOW!”

The owner agreed to fix the machine if David agreed to be first in line once it was fixed. When they entered the room David explained, “See dude, when I sat down there was no porn! All I saw was these stupid credit card numbers flashing with names and stuff.”

A huge grin appeared on the owners face as he promptly sat down and put his face in the view screen.

A few minutes later:

The owner of the store was trying to sell them “Viral-agra”, while Joe and David discussed what to do next. “I’m afraid if we destroy the machine it might kill the zombies for good or at very least return them to their previous pseudo-zombie existence. Besides this situation seems too potentially beneficial to just destroy,” David remarked.

“Agreed,” Joe said, “Any ideas?”

“Well, yeah actually. I was thinking, if you could reprogram the machine, I could stop people using it.”

“I can do that!” Joe agreed, happy to assist, “But what do you want the zombies to do?”

Several hours later:

Joe had reprogrammed the machine and David had changed the sign from “free porn” to “free print newspapers” they found themselves back at the mall enjoying the rest of the shopping day. They were only occasionally interrupted by a dead eyed shopper asking if they had heard the million reasons they should re-elect Ted for president.

David shoveled another handful of candy into his mouth and looked at Joe saying “You know, I think my Halloween is finally going to be normal… well, as normal as a Halloween spent in a mall full of political zombies can be.”

“I’m glad, Ted’s told me about what you’ve been through,” Joe said, “It sounds like you could use a rest. Especially with this competition with Sara coming up.”

“Indeed.” David said, “Yes, indeed. But, that’s another story for another week I believe. For now I’m just going to enjoy the candy and watching the zombies try to walk up the down escalators.”

“Sounds like a plan. Mind if I join you?” Joe asked.

“Not if you keep that candy coming,” David responded as his default, worry-free smirk crept across his face.

So finally after all these episodes of Captain X-Ploit, I get to make an appearance! Not just a cameo but an actual feature performance! And it is in an homage to one of my all time favorite horror masterpieces, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. While the title of the episode makes a perfunctory nod to the more recent, and vastly inferior, zombie flick 28 Days Later, it’s all about Dawn. I love how these zombies exhibit behavior we’ve all come to expect – distributing spam for erectile dysfunction products. In a stroke of classic Captain X-Ploit genius, rather than shut down the zombie network our heroes – that’s right there’s two of them now counting moi – decide to exploit the network for their own ends. Namely to distribute campaign spam for President Ted. Happy Halloween from everyone at Security For All!

Captain X-Ploit: Nightmare on Dream Street

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 3 of the week long Halloween special –
Nightmare on Dream Street

David was lying in bed reflecting on the bizarre circumstances that would lead to his life being threatened not just one, but two days in a row. It usually took at least a week before danger threatened him twice. “Why does it feel like nothing happens to me right around midterms and then the week after, my life is in mortal peril not once but twice,” David pondered, his eyelids getting heavy.

Next thing he knew David was running for his life. A maniac in a dirty sweater with a bladed hand was in hot pursuit. An evil laugh filled the room and David turned to check if he was gaining or losing distance on the horror. He slowed his run when he saw the man was no longer behind him. He slowed more and turned his gaze back to where he had been running.

*SLAM* David’s mind barely had time to register what had happened. The man had somehow appeared in front of him. He had grabbed David with his un-bladed hand and slammed him into a pipe. At this moment David realized he was in some sort of boiler room.

“Who are you?” David squeaked.

“Call me Freddy” the man said.

The man cut David’s shirt with his blades from his stomach moving toward his throat. It was less than an inch from his face when *BEEP* *BEEP*. David awake to the sound of his alarm shocked to see his shirt was cut exactly like it had been in the dream. “So… now I can’t even sleep without someone trying to kill me? This is getting ridiculous!” David thought as he drew a ragged breath and reached for the phone to dial who he always called when his life was in danger.

“What now? Is an axe brandishing fiend perched over your bed and you require my assistance to collect a hundred supermodels to protect your existence?” Ted asked.

“No, a creepy guy named Freddy wants to slit my throat with some hedge trimmers taped to his hand.” David replied.

“…and you wish me to find supermodels to remedy this?”

“No… I need you to heat up some coffee and fire up the Google.”

Several hours later:

“So… This guy was killed… and he’s pissed… and now he’s going to kill me in my dreams.” David said.

“It would appear that way,” Ted responded.

“I think I can work with that.”

“Pray tell, friend.”

“Well, anyone who has to kill people in their dreams clearly doesn’t like themselves very much. So, I’ll just listen to a self-help sleep tape as I go to sleep. Once he realizes that he just needs to love himself more all will be well.” David said mater-of-factly.

That night:

David found himself in a bright meadow, words like “synergy” and “trust” were etched into the sky above him. Looking around, he was taken aback to see Freddy marching purposely toward him with a look of unrestrained hatred on his face. “I don’t think it mellowed him as much as I had hoped,” David thought.

“Look, all I was going to do was kill you. But YOU… YOU torture me with THIS?!?!?!? And they call ME the evil one.” Freddy whined.

“Are you going to kill me then?” David asked meekly.

“Oh believe me, I’d like nothing more. But honestly I can’t stand another second of this hellish place.”

As if on cue a voice broke into the dream “This the first day of the rest of your life. You will find that your hold the keys to your future. It’s up to you to drive your dreams.

With a flash of fire and screech of metal blades on a chalkboard, the Freddy character was gone.

“As soon as I wake up, I’m going on vacation,” David thought to himself.

Somehow I never would have guessed that Freddy Krueger could be thwarted by some Self Esteem building schlock. Although, come to think of it I probably would have pretty much the same reaction (sans screeching hand blades of course). With this foray into the world of Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street our intrepid Captain falls back on one of his favorite, tried and true exploits: social engineering. It’s interesting to note that like any good Social Engineering attack, David’s begins with a visit to the Google. Although it doesn’t work out exactly as planned, it still works. Which is the goal of all exploits, no? Keep checking for the next terrifying[ly ridicules] episode in the week long Halloween special.

Captain X-Ploit: Movies Can be Fun

The Adventures of Captain X-Ploit:
– Part 2 of the week long Halloween special –
Movies Can be Fun…
(but usually not the ones with creepy chicks who need a haircut.)

David slumped quietly on his couch and flicked on his TV hoping to forget the mess with Michael Myers. He decided to watch a movie he’d found on the internet. After firing up the stream he became mesmerized. A series of strange and dark images flashed on the screen ending with a shot of a girl, badly in need of a haircut, crawling out of a well. As the video abruptly ended he was left in horror, silence… and boredom. “That was SO not Inception,” he carped.

These thoughts were interrupted by the shrill ring of his telephone. His heart leapt and he nearly fainted. “That thing I plugged into the wall has never done that before! Maybe it’s broken.” David had only plugged that strange antique into the wall for decoration sake. He’d never actually received a call on it. He had always figured everyone text-ed now. “Seriously, if this is a political ad for anyone but Ted… Heads will roll.” He picked up the phone and heard a ragged breathy voice say “You will die in 7 days.”

“We’ve been over this. I still have at least 45 years left.” David replied.

The voice drew another ragged breath and repeated “7 days,” then hung up.

He set down the phone and did what any sane, normal, healthy human being would do in his situation. He whipped out his laptop intending to do two things: Post a negative comment on that crappy video and WebMD creepy telephone calls. He was shocked when activity one made activity two unnecessary. Reading from the comments with links posted to news articles he quickly gathered that watching that video, in fact, results in death 7 days later. Fear crossed his face and he whipped out his real cell phone, calling to alert Ted to this new development.

“Hmmm… I see your predicament, my friend. Death WOULD be a great inconvenience to our mission,” Ted responded.

“Like I don’t already know that. Look, just get on Google and let’s sort this out,” David replied.

A couple of hours later:

“ OK, so it looks like I’m going to die. UNLESS I show the video to at least one other person,” David reported.

“So our research would appear to indicate. As your President I highly recommend displaying this cinematographic lethal weapon to someone else. Post haste!”

“Feel like firing up your TV, old buddy?” David said snarkily, “No, but seriously, the part that
worries me is that I couldn’t find a consistent answer on exactly how many people need to view the movie for the magic to work and un-curse me. I think I’ll show it to a few people to be safe.”

The next day:

David was at the movie theater talking to one of the attendants. “So, this job seems neat… do you get to watch the movies when they play?” he asked.

“We sure do! We get to watch them from that little room upstairs where the projectors are,” the fellow said excitedly, “I get to show the next one, actually. I’m excited ‘cus I haven’t seen it before.”

David considered this for a moment then said “I’ll give you $2,000 in 8 days if you show this short video before the new Tom Crap movie.”

Several minutes later:

David stepped merrily from the movie theater, waiting for all those phones to start ringing and thinking, “Oh well, the world could do with a few hundred less Tom Crap fans eating up my precious O2. Damn, this whole ordeal has left me really exhausted I think I’m going to go home and sleep for a while.”

Another classic horror film,  Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, gets the Captain X-Ploit treatment. Seriously, how cool is the idea of a Denial of Service attack on a cursed video. And how about the promise to pay the poor movie theater stooge the day AFTER he’s toast if the curse still works since it’s possible that the 30-year dead psychic who placed the curse [from the original movie Ringu] has the malevolent bandwidth to foil David’s DoS attempt. I’m pretty sure that David doesn’t really care. At least he’s off the hook so to speak. Stayed tuned for more Halloween action in Trustonia.