(1) $25 Amazon Gift card & (10) e-book copies of the “shorts” in the Enigma Series
Our cyber-crime learning curve
We thought it would be fun to share how much we have learned about cyber-crime since we began writing the Enigma Series.
Breakfield and Burkey learned early that there is no shortage of ideas to take into the next stories. Breakfield had suggested a trilogy when The Enigma Factor was nearly completed. Burkey, however, insisted on a series. Technology evolution is so fast and so prevalent that each day brings a new way to position the risks in stories. Add in our travel, relationships, intrigue, good and evil character universe, with a splash of humor, and you will discover a fun story.
What we find unsettling is seeing ideas or threats we felt were possible but unlikely showing up as current cybercrime exploitation, front-page headlines. We hope we are not giving the criminal element any ideas of what to try next!
Parts of what we see with digital evolution is ugly and terrifying, which is another lesson. For instance, we came across some real-life examples of using software programs run on high-end graphics computers to produce deep fakes. These films, videos, etc., are the result of deep learning or a desire to create fake media. These types of applications use deep fakes to distort legitimate information and weaponize it.
Case in point, a manufactured video was used to ruin a political career in Malaysia. Using enhanced audible engineering, a convincing voice mail was constructed using the voice of a U.K. firm’s CEO demanding a targeted CFO transfer nearly 200,000 British pounds to a Hungarian bank account. Social engineering powered by AI & ML. Outrageous and yet prevalent!
We used the concept of deep fakes in our story threads in our newest techno-thriller, The Enigma Threat, which leans heavily on this latest attack vector from the Darknet. Readers might recall what Obi-wan said in the original Star Wars. “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them!” Of course, it’s a little impractical for us running around in this galaxy using a Jedi masters’ lightsaber to defend ourselves from the bad actors of the Darknet. Plus, our stories are more Science / Technology facts rather than Si-Fi. However, if that is the only way to win, we might reconsider.
Amazon, Netflix, and smart cities such as Barcelona, Spain all have artificial intelligence and machine learning baked into their operational models. These elements help drive sales, suggest the next streaming media series, or help efficiently locate an open parking spot downtown. Many see the positive benefits, but we are in a race with bad actors from the Darknet to survive their predatory onslaught.
We agree artificial intelligence and machine learning have many positive use cases. The benefits of using visual perception, speech recognition, language translations, pattern-extraction, and decision-making capabilities support several different fields and industries. Sadly, these digital inroads are often abused for criminal and malicious purposes.
Therefore, it is urgent to understand the capabilities, scenarios, and attack vectors that demonstrate how these technologies are exploited. By working toward increased awareness, we are more prepared to protect systems, devices, and the public from sophisticated attacks and abuses.
In 2016, we published book 7, The Enigma Gamers. We envisioned ways cyber thugs could capitalize on artificial intelligence and machine learning enhancements for extortion and profit. Imagine two criminal masterminds, each with their own enhanced supercomputers hammering multiple businesses and governments for sport and profit. Picture a wholly automated mining operation when all of its computer-driven equipment turns on itself after the organizational management rejected the call for blackmail monies to be paid.
What if a fully automated distribution center ruined every product in the warehouse? Utilizing a space the size of an enormous sports event venue, or downtown of a small city, with automated programs piling all the consumer products for sale in a heap. We created several scenarios where our cyber heroes dispatched personnel to locations to stop the digital carnage. Then the heroes needed to discover the identity of the evil masterminds of this global mess.
Does this sound farfetched? The Trend Micro, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), and Europol people don’t think so. Many folks in technology agree with the possibilities and provide the documentation on their analysis to back up the cases. Breakfield and Burkey continually scan the technology horizon looking for interesting facts to adapt to intriguing and possible storytelling. You might enjoy looking at our Kickstarter campaign for The Enigma Threat to see the book trailer and other exciting details on this book releasing January 2, 2021.
Blurb: The Enigma Threat
In the new digital world, there is no tolerance for privately owned supercomputers. Globally, computers are hunted and destroyed for the greater good, by the new cyber police CESPOOL. The information this group receives is manipulated by subversive hidden machine learning devices, the MAG running on the dark net.
Judith and Xiamara are freebooters who steal machine time for their PaaS, porn as a service business. The machine they chose for delivery is the last untapped supercomputer not in the hands of a sovereign. Their activity is spotted by the MAG, but the renegade R-Group steps in to alter the outcome. Leroy teams up with Zara to help these opportunists escape prosecution. They are drafted as reluctant participants in the fight.
Jacob and Quip are trapped in the Chihuahuan Desert trying to reconstruct the base of ICABOD’s logic core. The stress of their isolation is taking a toll. Their wives and children are safe in Brazil for the time being, but Interpol is prowling for answers.
The R-Group has assembled a way to communicate with orphaned satellites. While the next R-Group plans the ultimate honey pot to trap their nemesis who is driving their corrupted agenda. The odds are against R-Group’s success, but they have creative surprises on their side.
The stakes have never been higher. The R-Group young and old must rise to defeat the MAG.
Breakfield is a 25+ year technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He’s also a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.
Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world focusing on optimized customer experiences. She writes white papers and documentation, but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction.
Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today.
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