Tag Archives: cell phones

Hadley Hacks A Hacker

Hackers cause all kinds of grief for cell phone users.

Hadley Wilkins was an electronic engineer who had helped develop cell phone technology. He hated hackers, so he decided to go after Henry “the Hulk” Histoid, the meanest, most intrusive hacker in the business.

But he decided to do his work not as mild mannered Hadley Wilkins, but as Cyberman, defender of the cell phone innocent and the digitally clueless.

Using his own genius software, Hadley lurked on the Hulk’s cell phone circuit. He watched and listened for a week as the Hulk did his dirty work on other people’s cell phones—listening to, and sometimes interrupting, their conversations. He also messed with their private cell phone files.

Hadley hacked into the Hulk’s file of personal phone numbers. There were lots of them. Hadley collected the Hulk’s personal data and credit card information. He already knew a lot about the Hulk’s buying patterns and e-the mail addresses of the companies he bought from. Hadley knew he could order all kinds of merchandise from online companies and catalog stores. He could even mimick the Hulk’s voice if the companies recorded the sales calls for verification.

When everything was ready, Hadley punched in the cell phone number that only the Hulk’s friends and close associates knew. The Hulk’s cell phone screen said the call was coming from “Amber.”

“Amber. Baby! Long time no talk,” said the Hulk.

Amber’s voice came on the line, and Amber’s face appeared on the Hulk’s cell phone screen, but the message was Hadley’s.

“I just called to say I never want to hear from you again, you jerk.” Click.

The Hulk dialed Amber’s number. He got a “caller blocked” message.

Panicked, the Hulk dialed his best friend Torgel.

“Torgel” answered the call with a happy voice: “Hulk, thanks for the hundred smackers, man.”

“What hundred smackers?” asked the Hulk.

“From your bank, Dude! They called me yesterday and said you’d gifted me a hundred dollars for my birthday. My birthday isn’t until next month. You’re the Dude, dude!” Then “Torgel” hung up. Torgel’s number rang unanswered when the Hulk tried to call back.

The same pattern was repeated for every friend and associate that the Hulk tried to contact: anger and denunciation for supposed insults, or warm appreciation for the Hulk’s generosity.

The Hulk called his bank and demanded that it replace the funds withdrawn. The cashier explained that the bank had the Hulk’s voice on a recording asking for the payments and declined to replace the funds. The cashier bumped the Hulk’s call up to the assistant manager who gave the Hulk the same message and bumped the call up to the bank manager who gave the Hulk the same response using the exact words the cashier had used. Then the incoming calls began.

“Mr. Henry. This is Art Larsen, World Wide Travel calling to confirm your trip day after tomorrow to Estonia. We expedited the visa process by paying the large surcharge that you authorized. Just give the airline your name and show your passport when you check in.”

“Mr. Henry. This is Ollie Olsen, from Peterburg Outdoor Outfitters. You can pick up your new all-terrain vehicle and your camping equipment anytime at our Southside facility.”

Panicked and distraught, Henry Histoid ran to his car, put his cell phone on the cement in front of a tire and ran over it. Then he went back inside and sat down with his head in his hands. A phone rang. It was the Hulk’s land line. He never used that line. In fact he had forgotten he had a land line. The phone kept ringing. Hulk finally picked up. “Hello?”

“Have you learned your lesson about the pain hacking causes?” asked the voice on the phone.

A crestfallen Hulk responded “Yes. Yes I have.”

“Good,” said the voice. “You are lucky this time. All those calls were as fake as the hack calls you’ve been making. The next time you hack a phone that stuff will happen for real.”

“Who is this?”

An announcer’s voice from a bygone era intoned:

“It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s CYBERMAN!” Click.

-30-

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hadley & the Robo Caller

 

 

Mark Twain’s 19th century quote, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” has a 21st century counterpart:  “Everybody complains about robocalls but nobody does anything about them.”  That was true  until Hadley Wilkins decided he was sick and tired of getting robocalls.

Hadley Wilkins is the electronic genius.  You’ll probably recall that it was Hadley who made super hacker Henry Histoid  stop hacking residential cell phones all over the country.

It’s a fact that thousands of people have called to complain about robocallers—those electronic phone nuisances who call several times a week.  Ring!  You answer, a robo voice says, “Please press one now.”  When you press “one” and wait a bit, a live operator tells you he/she can do something good for you like cut your credit card interest rate.   Next the operator asks for the number on your credit card.   Then you’re done.

Consumer support organizations can’t shut down the robo callers because the robo calls are produced by untraceable digital auto-dialing machines. It doesn’t do you any good to be on the national “Do Not Call” registry.   Robocallers ignore the registry ban. Robo call centers make  thousands of calls a day.  You can’t avoid robocalls with “caller ID” because robocallers use technology to disguise the originating phone number.

One day, Hadley said,  “I’ve had it.”

He designed a robocall system of his own.  Hadley’s robocall message was a loud “btfsplk.”  That’s the sound you make when someone has  annoyed you and you stick your tongue between your pursed lips and blow out air. Some people call “btfsplk,”  a  “Bronx cheer.”

Once Hadley perfected the “btfsplk,”-sound, he found the  name and personal phone number of Cody Wolfeson, the chief executive officer of the nation’s largest robocall corporation. Mr. Wolfeson received Hadley’s robocall on his personal phone about five minutes after he got home from work.   He checked the caller ID.  It was blank.  He ALWAYS got a caller ID.

“What the….?”  Said Wolfeson and pressed the answer button.

A loud “btfsplk,” came  from the earpiece. “If you would like to hear this message again, please press “one” now.  If you wish to cancel any further ‘btfsplk,’ calls, please press “nine” now.”  An angry Wolfeson pressed nine.

A raucous braying sound erupted from the phone.  Wolfeson pressed the “off” button.   The phone remained on and connected to the   to the robo call.  “That was frustrating, wasn’t it?” the voice on the phone said. Then, “If you wish to hear a pig grunt, please press ‘seven’ now.  If you wish to hear a rooster crow please press ‘five,’ now.”  Enraged, Wolfeson hurled the phone across the room.  It struck a far wall and fell to the floor.  The robo voice continued to rise from the plastic shards that remained of the phone…

Wolfeson carried the shards to the garage, slammed them on the cement floor and tromped on them.  The voice continued.

By now Wolfeson was thoroughly spooked.

“What do you want?”  he screamed at the ghostly robo voice.

“Stop robo calling my home,” said the voice.

“Who ARE you? asked Wolfeson.

“I’m an angry citizen who your benighted company has been calling three times a day.”

“But who ARE you?  How can I stop the calls if I don’t know who you are?

“You’re an electronic genius, figure it out.  You have forty-eight hours.  If you don’t stop robo calling my phone, every business you work with, every person you know will get “btfsplk,” calls from me. Goodbye.”

The ruined phone went silent.

That night Wolfeson assembled a crack team of robo call experts and gave them the task of shutting off  robo calls to “the voice’s” phone.  Thirty six hours into the project they had narrowed the possible phones to several thousand, but could make no more progress.

“Stop robo calls to all of those phones,” ordered Wolfeson.  “I don’t care what it costs the company.”

After 48 hours with no call from the voice Wolfeson decided he was safe.  It was only then that he gave orders to limit robo calls to any one phone to two.

But Hadley never got another one.

-30-

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , ,