The Hacker Chronicles

Episode 8: Ransom

Episode Summary

As Alice awaits her ransom payment, she takes on her next challenge: comforting her best friend after a break-up. But things aren’t as simple as they appear…

Episode Notes

As Alice awaits her ransom payment, she takes on her next challenge: comforting her best friend after a break-up. But things aren’t as simple as they appear…


The Hacker Chronicles is an original series created by the team at Tenable.

Additional production support provided by Caspian Studios

Episode Transcription

Alice:

Five hours after I locked out Oglethorpe & Hudson and made my ransom demands, they sent me an email. It read, very formally, "Dear Able10, we have received your terms. We are willing to pay..." Okay, I don't want to embarrass anyone here. I'm not even going to say their initial offer. I mean, you'd think, "Hey, I'm holding your computers hostage, pay me money" would be enough to just get it done. But oh my God, we haggled back and forth, back and forth until eventually we were right back where we started at $350,000. What a waste of time.

Alice:

So I'd done it, almost. I provided instructions to be paid in Bitcoin. I knew it would take time for the rich folks at Oglethorpe to convert their traceable cash into crypto, but it'd be worth the wait. Yeah, I was riding high, but I was also getting nervous because I hadn't been able to get in touch with Genie since I made that ransom demand. Had the armchair hacker chickened out when things got too real, or was his phone just dead?

Speaker 2:

You have one new message.

Duncan:

Alice, it's Duncan at All Seed. I hope everything's okay, but I wanted to follow up on our offer. I can't put things together until we have another conversation.

Speaker 2:

Message deleted.

Alice:

Note to self: text Duncan back. You don't want to be a total jerk. Oh and, God, what the hell am I going to tell Ryan? One problem at a time, Alice.

Genie:

Hey, Alice.

Alice:

Hey, you. I've been calling nonstop for 24 hours. What's going on with you?

Genie:

I have poison ivy. I went... camping.

Alice:

You went camping?

Genie:

I know. Surprised me too. I just needed a screen detox.

Alice:

Yeah. Yeah. I hear you. Well, I've got to thank you. You were totally right about tech support.

Genie:

How so?

Alice:

Well, you know how I got stuck after I first got onto Oglethorpe's endpoints?

Genie:

Yeah.

Alice:

So, just like we talked about, I got on the phone with tech support and he was this crazy nihilist dude who thought we were all stuck in the Matrix. Anyway, I think that made him want to help me in this weird way. Anyway, long story short, I got domain domination. I locked their systems. I sent the demand and now I'm just waiting on him to pay up. And Genie, I couldn't have done this without you. Any of this, so thank you. You're awesome.

Genie:

Wow. Alice... Able. Wow. This is...

Alice:

Genie?

Genie:

You really did it.

Alice:

Yeah. I thought you would be more excited?

Genie:

No, I'm excited. And I don't know... Just a little nervous.

Alice:

You're nervous? I feel fine over here.

Genie:

Walk a mile in my hiking boots, Alice. You've gone to a place I've always dreamed of, but never had the guts to do.

Alice:

All right.

Genie:

I mean, camping is the biggest risk I've taken in years and I slept in my car. I can't even cross that line to sleeping outdoors, much less this.

Alice:

Okay. Well, when you stop acting super weird, just let me know if you want an investor in your maple syrup collective, because I'm going to have some money left over.

Genie:

Just worry about yourself, Alice. You can just take care of your own loans and debts and whatnot. It's okay.

Alice:

Oh, I'm going to, but I'm going to have like $150,000 left over.

Genie:

Wait, what?

Alice:

Yeah.

Genie:

How much did you ask for?

Alice:

$350,000. I have $350,000 coming my way.

Genie:

Why did you do that?

Alice:

What?

Genie:

I told you to only ask for $15,000. That's my second rule. Don't get greedy.

Alice:

Oh, come on. It's not that-

Katie:

Alice? Someone's here for you and she says her name is Beth.

Alice:

Okay, look, I got to go. My friend's here. But listen, Genie. It's going to be fine, all right? I'm on top of this and I'm going to let you know how things go. Just put some calamine lotion on and just chill, dude. All right? It's going to be fine.

Genie:

Yeah. Yeah.

Alice:

Okay. Bye. I'll talk to you soon.

Genie:

Bye.

Katie:

Nevermind. She's coming right in.

Beth:

Hey, bestie.

Alice:

Hey, Beth. Girl, what's going on?

Beth:

Alice, I did it. I finally had enough and I broke up with Mattie.

Alice:

Whoa.

Beth:

My truck is double parked downstairs, so throw on whatever you can and we're going to go celebrate at the Mandrake. Come on. Let's go. You got five minutes.

Alice:

Ah. You're talking about the piano bar across the street from the old coffee shop?

Beth:

Yeah.

Alice:

Oh, I love that place, but I really... I can't. I'm negotiating this contract.

Beth:

I thought you were done with your freelance job?

Alice:

Oh, this is another one. A different one.

Beth:

Oh my God. When did you become a hustler? Miss Alice Incorporated here.

Alice:

I know.

Beth:

Anyways, you got a phone, right? I'm pretty sure that's a tiny computer you can use to negotiate contracts.

Alice:

Oh, man. I'm on low battery and I just, I don't think I can really go to a bar right now.

Beth:

Alice, you pinky promised we'd hang out the next time I asked. I need my friend right now.

Katie:

Hey. Hey, hey. Would you girls be down for wine night? I'm really feeling some Oregon reds tonight. Let's start in Ashland and way up the coast.

Alice:

Okay.

Katie:

Or, I don't know, we could group them by color or... Do you guys want to?

Alice:

Oh, God. Drinks on me. Let's go.

Alice:

God, I love this truck. Hey, are you sure we should be driving? Sounds like we're going to have some fun tonight.

Beth:

Oh, don't worry. I always hook the parking guy up with free coffee, so whenever I need the garage I park for free. We'll just Uber home.

Alice:

Okay, good.

Beth:

Besides, sometimes you just want to drive, roll the windows down, blast some Tegan and Sara, and hit the open road.

Alice:

Yeah. But this Lower East side traffic doesn't really feel all that open.

Beth:

But you know what I mean, though. Right? Look, if you could drive this truck anywhere right now, where would you go if money was no object? Hell, even if geography was no object. You could drive to Australia if you wanted to.

Alice:

My family used to go to Lake Placid on vacation. I learned to snowboard there and I just always wanted to go back. I really liked it there.

Beth:

Okay. I'm telling you you can literally drive across the ocean and you want to go upstate to Lake Placid? Is that even a five-hour drive?

Alice:

Hey, [inaudible 00:07:56]. It was just... I don't know. It was just fun. It was relaxing and I used to play piano at this general store there. That was the first place I ever performed.

Beth:

Then you should go.

Alice:

Yeah?

Beth:

Yeah. Borrow the truck sometime. Take it as long as you want and be one of those digital nomads. That's what they call them, right? All those tech workers move into small towns and working remotely.

Alice:

Yeah, maybe. Huh. What about you? Where would you go?

Beth:

The Mandrake, baby. Here we are.

Alice:

Beth! Beth, Where are you? Oh my God, it's been two minutes. Where'd she go?

Beth:

Alice! Alice, get over here. I got us shots. Doubles. Tonight's going to be amazing.

Alice:

Thanks, but maybe we should pace ourselves. The night's just getting started.

Beth:

Bottoms up.

Alice:

All right, Beth. For you. When in Rome. But just this one. All right? Bottoms up. Oh, God. What is that, 100 proof?

Beth:

60. You lightweight. Are you okay? You look tense.

Alice:

It's this contract. I'm just... Ugh. I have a lot at stake and I don't want to mess it up. You know?

Beth:

What are you going to mess up? If they don't want to hire you, then they're not worth it.

Alice:

I guess.

Beth:

Look at us, Alice. I'm single. You're crushing it freelancing. We're birds free of our cages. We are beautiful, majestic creatures spreading our wings. We're... What kind of birds are we? All I can think of are owls.

Alice:

I kind of feel like a dirty little pigeon right now with glasses.

Beth:

Quit it, party pooper. We are not gross street pigeons. First off, pigeons are the rats of the sky. They're disgusting and we are definitely not. Second, take a good long look at that mirror behind the bar. Do you know what I see?

Alice:

No. What?

Beth:

I see two smart, beautiful and distinguished young women who occasionally wear glasses. Plus, we're both nocturnal, which means we are owls.

Alice:

Mm.

Beth:

Relax. I don't know what baggage you're holding onto with this contract situation, but you need to let it go. Owls don't care. They don't hold onto baggage.

Alice:

I don't even know how to answer that. Hey, but when you're right, you're right.

Beth:

There is that smile. You see, owls are always living their best lives and they can turn their necks 360 degrees.

Alice:

Like this?

Beth:

Like that.

Alice:

Oh God, that hurt. Ah, you got me crazy, Beth.

Beth:

Look, it's open mic night. You should play piano. No one's signed up yet.

Alice:

No, no, no, no, no, no. I am not.

Beth:

It's kind of cute that you even get stage fright. Alice, don't take this the wrong way, but you look scared right now. Who cares if you mess up? No one here is as talented as you. You are going to crush it. You're amazing. Just get up there. Everyone here is drunk, anyway.

Alice:

Do you remember what happened to my audition?

Beth:

What happened to the girl who told me she was going to have two albums by the time she's 25?

Alice:

She's running a little bit behind.

Beth:

You told me once that everyone was going to know your name. How are they going to know who you are if you never even give them the chance to hear you play?

Alice:

Beth, I can't, okay? This... This is one piece of baggage I'm holding onto. Let's get another drink. Let's just drink.

Emcee:

Alice. Calling Alice to the stage.

Alice:

This is the last time I do tequila shots ever again. No more tequila. Stage fright isn't real, Alice. You can do this. Plus, tequila is a scientifically proven stagefright killer. Okay.

Speaker 8:

Boo!

Alice:

Okay, no. Just keep going. Just keep going. You got it. You got it.

Alice:

Oh my God. How's that for stage fright? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Beth! Beth, did you see me? Beth? Where are you? Did I lose you again? Oh, shit. New signal message from Oglethorpe & Hudson.

Frank:

This is Frank with Oglethorpe & Hudson. We have converted our funds to Bitcoin and we are prepared to send everything to your Bitcoin address. Per the terms of our agreement, you must provide us with the decryption key within 30 minutes of receiving our payment. After we receive your confirmation, we will send you the Bitcoin as requested. Thank you.

Alice:

Of course I'm ready, Frank. Come on. Okay. Just type out a quick message. Hi, Frank. I am ready to... No, no, no, no, no, no, phone. Don't die. Oh, shit. What? It was on 8% three seconds ago. Oh, God. I got to get home. I got to get on my computer. Beth! Beth, where are you? Beth?

Helen:

Katie? Katie?

Alice:

Oh my God.

Helen:

Oh my God. How cosmic.

Alice:

Oh.

Helen:

Hi.

Alice:

Hi. Yeah. It's me, Katie. That's my name, Katie. Oh, wow.

Helen:

I had no idea. You could tickle the ivories like that. Oh, we could have been a duo.

Alice:

Mm-hmm. How have you been, Helen?

Helen:

Oh, don't ask me that. It's been a crazy week. Someone hacked our firm.

Alice:

No!

Helen:

We can't get into the computers or anything. I know, it's wild. We're using pen and paper like it's 2003 or something.

Alice:

Really?

Helen:

Yeah. I used a calculator yesterday. It's just wild.

Alice:

Why, shit. Calculator... That sounds crazy. Yeah, I hope you guys get that figured out soon.

Helen:

Well, yeah. They're they're going to pay all this money to unlock our computers. Nice line of work if you can get it, huh? Make a bunch of people's lives miserable, maybe even threaten their jobs. But hey, you walk out with a heck of a bag.

Alice:

Yeah. Yeah.

Helen:

You okay, Katie? You look a little pale.

Alice:

Yeah, I think I just didn't eat enough, and I had this tequila.

Helen:

Oh, I could use a shot. I needed a distraction this week, but woo! This is not what I was manifesting, I will tell you that. I was more thinking, meeting a cool woman who might want to go to the new vegan place by my apartment. Oh, sorry. TMI. This is the first anniversary of my divorce from my wife, so this is my sad attempt to forget things with friends. A few Abita ambers and the night always gets better. My ex didn't like Abita amber. Sorry. Oh, TMI again. My middle name is Overshare.

Alice:

Yeah.

Helen:

Shug, are you positive you're all right? You are as white as a magnolia blossom right now.

Alice:

Yeah. No, I'm fine. I wish I could talk more, but I actually have a work emergency and I just... I need to really get going, heading out.

Beth:

Oh my God. Who is this? I love your Tegan and Sara sweatshirt.

Helen:

Oh. Thank you. Hi. So glad I changed tonight. I'm Helen.

Beth:

I'm Beth. How do you know...

Alice:

Oh, Helen and I are friends from college.

Beth:

You never mentioned her, but it's a nice surprise. Who wants a drink?

Helen:

Oh, I'll have an Abita amber. And by the way, Katie, what did I tell you about manifesting?

Alice:

Hey Beth, I've got to go.

Helen:

Oh, no.

Alice:

You know I got the thing for the contract and my phone just died and I am getting hangry. I just... I really need to get this done, so why don't we just Uber back to my place, maybe we can join wine night and get takeout, or? Does that sound good to you because-

Beth:

I'm not going anywhere and neither are you. We're celebrating.

Helen:

Oh, me too.

Beth:

What are you celebrating?

Helen:

Oh, it's the anniversary of my divorce.

Beth:

Lucky me. It's the 24-hour anniversary of my breakup, so let's get the party started.

Helen:

Okay.

Alice:

So yeah, I needed to get out of there, but my best friend was too busy flirting with the one person who could send me to jail. TMI.