The ‘Pig Radar’

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One of the most useful gadgets used by the team is the RF Scanner or, as it’s often referred to, The ‘Pig Radar’ because of it’s ability to track police vehicles. It’s first appearance is in chapter 10 when Deborah rescues Dillan from a Manchester pub fight and they realise that they will have to evade the police.

Deborah touched “RF Scan” on the touch screen and a radar screen appeared. Dillan noticed that some of the blips were little pig faces.

“Those piggy faces have to be the police !” confirmed Dillan.

“Oh yes, our black-hats have a silly sense of humour. We call it the ‘pig’ radar !” laughed Deborah.

“How do you track them ?” asked Dillan.

“Even though their comms are encrypted, they can be tracked just like any other radio transmission. The car can sense the direction and transmission type but isn’t very accurate at the moment. We even managed to crack the encryption on some of their channels.” Deborah proudly announced.

Deborah uses the ‘pig radar’ for real in chapter 13 when she believes she has evaded the Italian police but quickly learns she is driving into a trap. She uses the ‘pig radar’ to escape the trap and takes her car for flying lessons off the Stelvio Pass (where parts of the classic movie “The Italian Job” were filmed) :-

Deborah loved her car but it was now very necessary for them to part company. As the car sped along the high, narrow mountain road she looked for a weak point in the stone wall. A few hundred yards later she found one on a sharp hairpin and steered the car straight through it. She was presented with a magnificent panoramic view as the car started its long arc towards the ground hundreds of feet below.

The penultimate task for the on-board computer was to blow the car doors off. She noticed the touch screen was showing a self-destruct sequence from Star Trek. As she dived out of the car she thought “Geek humour !! but thanks boys !” remembering those same geeks had make her impossible escape possible.

You will have to read the book to see how (or if) Deborah escapes that !

Deborah gets a peek on how the ‘pig’ radar’ works and it’s limitations when she visits one of the secure workshops in chapter 17

“These two are working on a new improved RF Scan system” said John pointing to a table with a mix of circuits and what looked like a very flat radar-like device spinning very fast.

“Oh the ‘pig’ radar, that has been very useful. Pity it’s rather inaccurate.” said Deborah.

“It’s a basic geometry problem.” explained John “Your car can sense the direction of a transmission but to get an accurate coordinate requires a distance and the only way to get that is signal strength which isn’t very constant. That said, we have improved the accuracy with a few mathematical tricks.”

“Cool.” said Deborah wishing she had paid a bit more attention to maths at school.

“This chap is working on LCD glass that can be opaque or transparent at the flick of a switch.” said John pointing at a sheet of glass with some wires attached. The engineer flicked a switch and the glass turned black. He flicked the switch again and the glass turned transparent.

“Awesome !” said a very impressed Deborah.

“We’re trying to link it up a camera-flash detector so when a speed camera tries to take your picture, the windshield goes opaque for a few milliseconds to hide your face.” said John.

“Very good !” said Deborah with her attention pulled to an engineer working on a weird sheet of metal that seemed to go semi-transparent, opaque and then different textures and colours.

“What … the … hell … is … that ?” said a totally stunned Deborah.

Deborah gets a guided tour of the workshop and their various projects. When she leaves, she sees how ingeniously it has been hidden in plain sight.

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Dillan Doranso – ex SAS

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Dillan Doranso comes into our story (Chapter 10) in the middle of a Manchester bar fight caused by a very foolish man calling him by his nickname: Dildo, which he obviously hates. He gets rescued by Deborah and they escape in her car.

Dillan is ex SAS and therefore is highly trained in weapons, tactics, martial arts but not so with technology. This becomes evident when Deborah explains how their hackers cracked the secure digital communications used by the police by using a super-computing cluster of 100,000+ machines. They also used fake bitcoin mining software but that’s another story !

Dillan’s career came to an abrupt end when he hit a senior warrant officer. The incident happened after he briefly returned to the UK on an operation and the warrant officer demanded to know why his boots weren’t clean. Dillan tried to explain that he didn’t have time to clean-up as he had just come out of a war zone and was still active. The warrant officer demanded that he go and clean him self up immediately but Dillan explained that he had more important things to do and refused. The warrant officer tried to get Dillan jailed so Dillan hit him, breaking his jaw and was dishonourably discharged after a court marshal. This put him in the right bad-boy frame of mind to be recruited by the ‘service’

In tribute of the SAS, here’s a documentary of the Iranian Embassy Siege of 1980 :-

Ultimate Bad Boys

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The two main men in the book The Wife Disposal Service are the ultimate in British bad boys. Not only do they kill one of their wives (saving the husband millions from the pending divorce) they go on to create a service to do the same for other wealthy husbands facing divorce.

Strangely enough, Hollywood thinks British men make the best baddies too :-

They live a luxurious and exciting life-style of fast cars, fast computers, fast money, fast guns and fast women that many men dream about and all the while evading the police. They even managed to get the police to take out one of the local gangs. They have the best computer hackers, the best kit, the best weapons and the best ex-special forces personnel.

Speaking of bad boys, Mercedes-Benz did an advert featuring “Chicken Stability” and shortly after Jaguar did a piss-take – enjoy :-

If you were too lazy to watch the video :-

Chicken : 0
Jaguar: 1

Subtle and Distinctive Style

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The two men were in a jewellers discussing what kind of watch the second man should buy. The display case in front of them had several brands on display.

The second man asked the shop assistant if he could try on a large chunky digital watch that was densely populated with buttons and gadgets. The assistant handed him the watch and he tried it on his wrist.

“This looks pretty cool !” said the second man “How much ?” he asked.

“If you have to ask you probably can’t afford it !” said the first man, half joking.

“450 pounds.” replied the shop assistant.

“I think I can afford it … I’ll have ten !!” joked the second man.

There was a visible look of disappointment on the shop assistant’s face as he realised the second man was joking.

“Do you really want to buy that ?” asked the first man.

“Why what’s wrong with it ?” asked the second man.

“A watch has two main functions. “ explained the first man “The first function is to tell the time and the second function is to show what kind of man you are.”

“OK … what does this watch show ?” asked the second man.

“It shows that the owner is a bit of a nerd who is trying a bit too hard to impress.” explained the first man.

“Hmm I see your point.” said the second man handing the watch back to the shop assistant. “OK what would you suggest ? Rolex ? Tag Heuer ?” he asked.

“No, as those typically cost thousands they almost shout ‘I’m rich’ . The secret is style and subtlety. The previous watch simply showed the world that you desperately want everyone to know how cool and stylish you are but would probably have the opposite effect.” explained the first man.

“OK … ” the second man waited for his friend to continue.

“You want a watch that is subtle and distinctive, that isn’t crying out for attention, but when it gets it simply confirms the wearer is cool and stylish.” explained the first man.

“Right … ” said the second man.

“Digital displays suggest slight degree of nerdiness so go for analogue.” said the first man.

“OK … I think I get it … how about these ?” asked the second man pointing to some Armani watches.

“Yes … can we see some of those ?” ask the first man to the shop assistant, who get out two Armani watches.

“See … from a distance it looks a bit distinctive but get up close and you see the style.” explained the first man.

“OK, I’m sold. I’ll take two please.” said the second man passing his credit card to the shop assistant.

“OK, lets go.” said the first man looking at his watch.

“Thats a nice watch, how much was that ?” asked the second man getting his card back along with the watch and receipt.

“Fifty quid on eBay !” replied the first man walking outside.

Characters from the book

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These are some of the characters from the book :-

First Man – The two main characters aren’t named. This is the man who needed to have his trophy-wife ‘disappeared’ because she was going to take half of his wealth from the divorce.

Second Man – This is the man who came up with the idea of a ‘Wife Disposal Service’ and acts like an XO / CEO

Deborah Foster / Debz – is ex-forces and MI5 and acts as a liaison between the two men and the various units. She also recruits various people including hackers, ex-forces and anybody else who could be interesting. She loves the singer P!nk and shopping.

Anton – is in charge of Unit 5, one of many self-contained groups.

Heike – (Unit 5) is one of the field-ops and was in the German army for many years. She 6’5 and quite strong as Greg finds out !

Keith – (Unit 5) is another field-op. He is 5’11. He spent many years in the British Army.

Dillan Doranso – (Unit 5) is also a field-op. He is trained in martial arts, tactics, weapons and is ex-SAS. He totally hates his nick name: Dildo.

Greg Goodman – (Unit 5) is a hacker and gets recruited by Deborah. He is an expert in hacking Windows and automotive computer systems.

Claire – (Unit 5) is a hacker. She is quite small at 5’4, she has blond hair, green eyes and gorgeous. She uses her ‘assets’ to twist the other hackers round her little finger until she meets Dillan. She is expert at hacking Unix / Linux systems.

Jason – (Unit 5) is another hacker who likes ‘swimming’.

DCI (Chief Inspector) Alison Coulson is the boss of DI Hanson. She finds his lack of technical expertise a bit of a drag.

DI (Detective Inspector) Don Hanson has been in the police for many years. He is technically illiterate and almost seems proud of it.

DS (Detective Sergeant) Paul Cooper has only been in the police for a few years. He is quite good with technology.

Men are always wrong !

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(This is between Chapter 1 and 2)

The two men were driving back from London through Kent along the M2.

“Did you hear those two women talking back in the restaurant ?” asked the second man.

“No. I don’t normally listen to women’s conversations because they are so tedious and dull !” said the first man.

“The subject of the conversation was how men are always wrong and why are they so useless.” said the second man.

“Well, if men were always wrong and useless, we would all still be in caves !” said the first man “ but the secret here is to re-frame their conversation.” he continued.

“OK” said the second man

“As the infrastructure of our current level of civilisation was designed, built and maintained mostly by men, it proves that we are not useless and got a lot of things mostly right.” explained the first man.

“You mean things like clean running water, electricity, roads, buildings, bridges and the Internet ?” asked the second man.

“Yes, all those things were possible because of men. Very few women would be prepared to do the ‘heavy lifting’ required to do these things, many stick to ‘fluff’ trades like media or gender studies.” said the first man.

“OK, so how does the re-framing come into it ?” asked the second man.

“When women ask ‘where have all the good men gone ?’ it simply means good men are avoiding her and hooking up with the good women.” explained the first man.

” … or her impossibly high standards have filtered them all out.” interrupted the second man.

“Yes that too. Women who ask this have been conditioned by the media to think that women are always right, men are always wrong, so therefore all problems are created by men … conveniently forgetting that their amazingly comfortable, connected lives are designed, built and maintained mostly by those same men.“ explained the first man.

“I would view any women asking that question as an ungrateful brat unworthy of my time.“ said the second man.

“Yeah, me too !”

The Rolls-Royce sped past Whitstable and the two men continued.

“So how is the recruiting process going ?” asked the first man.

“I’ve got an ex MI5 agent called Deborah Foster. She was treated very unfairly by her superiors and should be sympathetic to our cause.“ said the second man.

“OK, she could be very handy … and the hacker ?” asked the first man.

“We caught a hacker called Claire trying to hack into one of our honey-pot servers … “ the second man was interrupted.

“Honey-pot server ??” asked the first man.

“These are special servers that have been specially setup to be hacked and when they are, they start recording the attack methods and even attempt to hack back.” explained the second man.

“Hacking hackers !” joked the first man.

“Yes. even though Claire was very careful hiding her IP address with Tor, we were able to catch her because she posted details of her hack on to one of our hacker forums using our fake Tor service.” said the second man.

“Tor ?” asked the first man.

“The Onion Router. It disguises your IP address by bouncing it around the world.” explained the second man.

“Good. what about these deals with café owners ?” asked the first man.

“It’s rare for good hackers to slip-up the way Claire did so I needed another way to find them. A lot of hackers use other people’s WiFi to do some of their hacks from, these are often cafés, hotels or restaurants so, with the owner’s permission, we install network sniffers that tell us if anyone tries to use Tor or attempts any kind of hack.” explained the second man.

“There are a lot of cafés, hotels and restaurants in the UK so you can’t do all of them.” asked the first man.

“Agreed. We have a few hundred devices around London and they have yielded a few potentials.” said the second man.

“Like ?” asked the first man.

“There is a young lad called Greg who has worked on the computers used in cars so he could be useful for the car-hack we’re working on.” said the second man.

“OK.” said the first man.

The two men changed the subject and the Rolls-Royce continued on it’s journey.

Chapter One from the book

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Chapter 1 – Problem

“That greedy bitch !” said one of the men sitting in the back of a black Rolls-Royce Ghost speeding along the M2 towards London, “That greedy, gold-digging tart !” he continued.

“I told you what she was like. ” replied the second man, “I told you to get a prenup and here we are !”

“Prenups don’t always work, especially in the UK” retorted the first man.

The Rolls-Royce sped past Chatham and the two men continued. “You used to be quite into her !” said the second man.

“I was at first. Young women do have a certain beauty and energy about them that can be very intoxicating to old guys like us.” said the first man.

“They sure do.” the second man agreed “how much is she getting ?”

“Half ! my lawyers don’t have a bloody clue ! … what really pisses me off is that I create the wealth and that brain-dead barbie doll just turns it into a mountain of designer clothes. I bloody hate that stupid bitch now, I wish she would just disappear out of my life ! what can I do ?”

The second man had an idea but it was so horrific he kept it to himself.

“Should I get different lawyers ? would that help ?” asked the first man in frustration.

“Probably not.” replied the second man.

“I should have let the stupid bitch die five years ago, it would have been so easy.” said the first man.

“What happened five years ago ?” asked the second man.

“We were in Spain, long story short, she drank herself into a coma, I came in just in time, saw her on her back about to drown in her own vomit … and like an idiot I rolled her on to her side and called an ambulance, what a wasted opportunity !!” said the first man with a disappointed tone.

The second man weighed up the pros and cons of telling the first man about his idea, “Just suppose you had another opportunity ?”

“Opportunity ??” exclaimed the first man.

“Yes, for her to disappear and you blameless” said the second man.

The first man slowly turned his head to the second man. “You mean … it would solve a lot of problems … but could it be traced back to me ?”

“There are ways to do this … I need to think … but if you’re having this problem others must be too.” said the second man “The legal system is becoming decidedly anti-male so this ‘service’ could be become very lucrative.”

“You evil git ! are you seriously suggesting we setup http://www.bump-off-my-wife.com ?” said the first man.

“No, nothing quite as obvious as that, ” replied the second man ” but yes !”

“OK, lets just sort my problem first !” said the first man “Who do you know that might be useful ?”

“I’ll check when I get back but I know some guys who have been hacking car computer systems.” replied the second man.

“What can you achieve by hacking car systems ?” asked the first man.

“Those guys invited me to a demo a while back and it made me very nervous.” said the second man.

“So … how does that help me ?” asked the first man.

“You’ll see.” said the second man.

The two men sat in silence as the Rolls-Royce sped to London.

Brief introduction

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The Wife Disposal Service is a story about two very wealthy men who create a service to dispose of wives who are planning to divorce their husbands saving them millions. As they are operating way outside the law they need to set things up very carefully so they don’t get caught. In the book they are simply referred as the “First Man” and the “Second Man”. They can often be found riding in a Rolls-Royce Ghost or on a luxury cruiser.

They start by recruiting Deborah ‘Debz’ Foster (ex MI5) as a liaison between them and the various units that do the hacking and the hits. She has many jobs but these are the most important :-

1. Ensure the activities of the hackers and field-ops can’t be connected to each other and, most importantly, the two men. To that end she develops various protocols that every member has to follow.

2. Recruit members into each unit. Hackers who will write state-of-the-art malware, hack servers and provide various technical services. Field-ops (ex army or special forces) will do the reconnaissance and the hits. Engineers will design, build and maintain the various gadgets that help the others avoid the police.

The various units operate and are similar to ASUs (Active Service Units – used by special forces and terrorists) in that they are totally self-contained and know nothing of the other units. This is done so that if a unit is captured by the police they wont be able to betray the others.

Even though there are many units only two units are mentioned in the book, Unit 5 gets most of the attention and Unit 4 makes a brief appearance. The other units are either disbanded or captured.

More details here