“You need to help me,” Lewis said. “I just don’t trust her anymore; I can’t continue my relationship like this.”
He was walking back and forth through the room, holding his hands on his head, shaking it.
"I can't keep doing this," Valentina responded while shaking her head, fidgeting in her chair.
Lewis and Valentina were in Valentina’s room. It was a rather small room with an elevated bed with a desk under it. Valentina's laptop, her most precious possession, was standing on that.
Valentina’s laptop was thin, light and black. It had an antenna and a USB stick attached to it. Stickers in all shapes and sizes speckled its back and webcam. Some people liked anti-spyware. She didn't trust them.
Next to her laptop, she had a black cup with some pens and pencils in it, and some paper under it with some rough notes scribbled on it. Valentina liked to make a note whenever she had an idea.
On the other side of her room, she had a closet for her clothes, though this was not entirely necessary as many pieces, amongst other things, were spread across the floor. Valentina never worried about fashion: she usually just wore dark clothes.
She also had a couple of shelves with books, mostly about programming and hacking. At a glance, Valentina could point out which books had been useful to her and which ones might as well had been used as a stand for her.
“I need you to hack Christina.” Lewis continued with a deep sigh. It was evident to Valentina that he wasn't happy with this solution.
“Why would I hack that bitch?” Valentina asked. “You know I want nothing to do with her.”
Valentina was a small girl at five feet, with medium-length black hair in a ponytail, a tiny nose and blue eyes. She was wearing a black t-shirt and black sports shorts. At nineteen years, she was the local computer expert, having built up quite the reputation in her street.
Lewis, on the other hand, was rather tall, sticking two heads above Valentina at least, with short brown hair with a lot of gel in it. He had green eyes and a blue and black t-shirt. Jeans and white shoes. Lewis was the same age as Valentina, but unlike her barely knew anything about computers.
“I know,” Lewis said with another sigh, “but you are my friend, and I just can’t move on in this relationship because I suspect that she might be cheating on me.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Valentina said, shrugging her shoulders. She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her stomach.
“Look,” Lewis sighed, “I know that she hasn’t been nice to you, but do it for me.”
“Not nice to me?!” Valentina asked, raising her voice a little, standing up. Memories of all the times that Christina and her friends had bullied her and falsely snitched on her flew past. Her face turned slightly red as she looked around.
For a moment, Valentina felt like jumping Lewis, but then she calmed down again and sat back, took a moment to think, swallowed, and said:
“Okay, I will hack her, but I will keep all the data that I gather during the attack.”
“Deal,” Lewis said with a glitter in his eyes and a smile on his face. “Just break in to check. Thank you so much.”
“All this for a little peace of mind?” Valentina asked.
“Yeah,” Lewis responded.
She looked at Lewis for a little bit. She didn't know what to think of him, or this.
Valentina turned her laptop off, grabbed the antenna and USB key out of it and put them in a backpack. She then put her laptop in along with them. Valentina put the bag on her back. She also grabbed her phone and put it in her pocket.
It was a small, black phone with a black cover. It had a button on the front with a fingerprint sensor in it. Valentina had made several adjustments to the phone to make it more suited for herself: She had hacked the operating system, to make it more customisable. She had disconnected the selfie camera internally, and she had taped off the back camera, but she didn't unplug it: she wanted to be able to use it for reconnaissance.
"Let's go." She said, making a waving gesture with her hand; she wanted to finish this quickly.
Lewis had just gotten his driver’s license, so he and Valentina drove towards Christina’s house, in his not too modern, dark blue car. On the way, Valentina instructed him what to do:
"I am first going to attempt to hack into their wireless network -":
“- Look, you are the expert here. I don’t even know half the words you are saying. Just tell me what I need to do.”
While narrowing her eyes, Valentina pressed her lips. Then she recomposed herself and said:
“I need you to distract her, but she needs to have her computer running. Then I will break into her social media and download her chat history. I will then send you a copy.”
“Can you really do this?”
“If I didn’t see the potential I wouldn’t be sitting in this car,” Valentina confidently answered.
They arrived at Christina’s house. It was a medium-sized house made of bricks with a garden attached to it.
“Hold on,” Valentina said, stopping Lewis before he could open the door, “Before you step out, I need you to give me the name of the Wi-Fi she is using, to put it in basic terms.”
“Uh, I don’t remember,” Lewis responded, moving his hand up to his face, covering his mouth in fear that it fails because of him.
“Don’t worry,” Valentina said. “I will get a list of available Wi-Fi networks up in a minute. In the meantime, you should grab your phone to see whether you can connect from here.”
While Lewis grabbed his phone, Valentina got her laptop out, attached her USB stick and antenna to it and opened it up. As soon as the laptop had booted, she opened up a terminal.
“Alright,” She said, “let’s put the antenna in monitor mode. That way I can actually look at all the hotspots within range and scan them.”
Valentina typed in a command, and some words appeared on the screen. She typed in another to check her work; she pointed at the screen where it said 'Monitored'.
She looked at Lewis, who was using his phone to chat with someone.
"Lewis," Valentina said slightly annoyed.
"Look, I don't care about what you do, as long as it works. Besides, I am online. Here's the name."
For a moment, Valentina felt insulted by her friend. She knew that he didn't really care about what she did, but at least he could pretend to be interested.
“Okay, now let’s scan.”
After typing in another command, a live-updating table of numbers appeared. On the very right column of that table the names of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots appeared.
“That one.” Lewis pointed out, his eyes widening up. He must have known that Valentina knew what she was doing, but he still seemed surprised. “That is hers.”
“WEP encryption?” Valentina laughed. “Piece of cake.”
“Good,” Lewis responded in a pathetic attempt to sound appreciative. Valentina could hear it, which only fed her annoyance. She turned her attention back to her laptop so she would not slap Lewis in his face.
Valentina right-clicked on her terminal and split it up into two. On the left, she still had the list of hotspots, which she had stopped from updating further and on the right she had a brand new command line.
“Alright, now I need your help,” Valentina said while typing in another command. “I need you to go online on the network and scrub through a video. This will download a lot of packages, which I will capture using my package sniffer. This makes it easier to crack the password. These packages are basically small data packets that I can catch, which are preceded by a pseudo-random key. If I capture enough of them, I can get the Wi-Fi key.”
“If you say so,” Lewis responded, sounding like Valentina had just read the constitution to him. He opened up an online video service and did as Valentina instructed.
“And for my next trick.” She said while pressing 'Enter'. A lot of numbers appeared on her screen.
"These are all the connected devices. This one next to the number that is increasing quickly is yours."
Valentina typed in another command.
"Now I am catching those packages to see if I can crack the key."
After Lewis had scrubbed through a couple of videos, Valentina said:
“I got it.” She pointed at her screen at a random sequence of twelve numbers.
“Looks like it.”
“WEP encryption is fucking shit,” Valentina said with a grin on her face.
“Is it?” Lewis asked, sounding very disinterested.
“If I can get through this quickly, it is,” Valentina responded, ignoring Lewis's lack of curiosity.
“Alright,” Valentina said while cracking her knuckles, “You can go in now. I’ll finish up the job here. If I need your help with anything, I will send you a text.”
“Thank you so much,” Lewis said with a smile.
“No, thank you,” Valentina replied with a laugh. Lewis left the car and went towards the door.
Christina opened the door. Christina was a relatively tall girl with long brown hair, a small nose, small mouth and big eyes. Lewis and Christina shared a kiss. Valentina averted her eyes, curling the corners of her mouth and said:
“Yuck. If she is cheating, she is even more heartless than I thought. Focus Valentina, Focus.”
Valentina went to work in the car. She kept her package sniffer turned on in case anything came through that she would be able to use later.
She grabbed her phone and shot Lewis a text: 'Could you download something on her computer as soon as possible?'
After about fifteen minutes of silence, Lewis replied:
'She is on the toilet for a while, this is our chance.' After this text, a number on Valentina's screen started rapidly increasing.
"Ah, that looks like her computer,” Valentina said. “The bitch forgot to turn it off when Lew rang the doorbell. Or Lew somehow knows her password.”
She sent Lewis another text: 'Lew, I have found her computer, I need you to click on a pop-up that I am sending you right now in her browser.'
After a short wait, Valentina’s laptop got access to Christina’s. Her background was a photo of herself and Lewis on it. Valentina winced the moment she saw it and covered it the screen with her hands.
'Done.' Lewis texted back.
'I noticed,' Valentina replied.
“Shitty background. Let’s change it to something more … 'fun'.” Valentina proposed to herself. “No, first the objective.”
She opened up Christina’s social media account that she would have most likely used to chat on if she would be cheating. Luckily it had a download button for the all the conversations combined.
“Got ya,” Valentina said when she typed in a command to download it from Christina’s computer to hers. “That is going to be my cringey read for tonight.”
“Why not?” Valentina said when she suddenly got an idea. “Let’s download all her passwords. Glad she is using a browser that doesn’t use good encryption for passwords.”
Having quickly found the passwords, she downloaded them as well and started decrypting them on her laptop. When she saw the first password, while the fan of her laptop spun up, she said: “Tut, tut, tut, Christina, that is a terrible password.”
“Now let’s erase our traces and get the fuck out of dodge.” Valentina continued. She logged into the router and had another idea:
"Let's block Christina from the internet."
Valentina thought about it. On the one hand, it would be funny. Judging by the fact that they still used WEP encryption, the whole household had no clue about computers. It could keep her offline for a good little while.
On the other, it would leave a trace, something by which Valentina could eventually be found out.
She decided that she would ready it, so in case Christina annoyed her once more, she could block the internet connection on her devices.
She quickly typed in a couple commands in succession to erase her traces and then removed her device from the router. She then connected her laptop to her phone, opened up her email and sent Lewis the chats.
'Here are the chats, Lew. Enjoy reading them and make up your mind.' She clicked 'send' and put her hands behind her head in satisfaction of what she had just done while waiting for the email to have been sent.
She put her laptop back in her backpack and sent Lewis a text: 'I am getting out of here, or rather I am getting so bored here that I am leaving. You have her chats now.'
'Okay. Thanks again.' Lewis replied. Valentina opened the door of the car that Lewis had left unlocked. She stepped out and closed it. 'Lock the fucking door.' She texted Lewis while walking away in the sun, with a light feeling in her chest. Even though she had done this before, she still felt satisfied whenever she managed to pull something off.
She sighed as she walked on. Every step, the feeling inside of her became lighter and lighter. She patted herself on the back. This was a tradition of hers for when she finished a job.
When she was about a hundred metres away, she looked back to see Lewis walking out of Christina's house, pressing a button on his keys, locking the car doors.
“Now what are your ‘big secrets', Christina?” Valentina asked herself.