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Dark End of the Spectrum
Dark End of the Spectrum
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Anthony gives an overview of the book:

DARK END OF SPECTRUM will make you think twice before turning on your cell phone or PDA! DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is a frighteningly plausible and headline ripping tale of the real threats that loom in cyberspace and beyond with a Michael Crichton realism. DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is a thriller that will connect with everyone with a cell phone, PDA or wireless device. When a group of digital terrorists known as ICER take over the US power grid and the cell phone network, they give the government an ultimatum - bomb the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan with nuclear weapons to put an end to Al-Quada or they will start downing commercial airliners. When the government refuses, ICER destroys most of the downed aircraft in airports all over the country. When ICER sends a pulse that will kill most people on the East Coast, only security expert Dan Riker can stop them,...
Read full overview »

DARK END OF SPECTRUM will make you think twice before turning on your cell phone or PDA!

DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is a frighteningly plausible and headline ripping tale of the real threats that loom in cyberspace and beyond with a Michael Crichton realism.

DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is a thriller that will connect with everyone with a cell phone, PDA or wireless device.

When a group of digital terrorists known as ICER take over the US power grid and the cell phone network, they give the government an ultimatum - bomb the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan with nuclear weapons to put an end to Al-Quada or they will start downing commercial airliners. When the government refuses, ICER destroys most of the downed aircraft in airports all over the country. When ICER sends a pulse that will kill most people on the East Coast, only security expert Dan Riker can stop them, but ICER has kidnapped Dan's family.
Will Dan save his family or will millions die?
Be the first to read this eye-opening thriller on the Kindle!
The eBook version is now available at http://www.lulu.com/content/3515824 if you don't own a Kindle
The paperback version will be released in the fall of 2008.

Read an excerpt »

He never thought it would come to this. His index finger poised over the enter key of his laptop, his hand wavering, his mind swirling with a dozen scenarios. John Bastille had lost his wife, his dream, his house, everything. Now he was fighting back, but deep down he knew it was wrong. It went against everything he believed. He wavered one last time, deciding, not deciding and then pushed his finger down. The screen flashed blue and it was done. He thought about his two toddler boys and what they would think of him when it was over, when years later he was older and useless or maybe dead. He threw the computer down and swore. The screen went black, but it was too late – the program was streaming into the Internet and what John didn’t know was that in a few days a lot of people would die.

Nancy Foster stared at the five new emails she received this morning while sipping a cup of Earl Gray tea. The tea gave her a warm cozy feeling reminding her of her grandmother who she often shared a cup with on Sunday afternoons. The tea intoxicated her with past and not so past memories of her mother’s mother - memories that flowed like a river ever changing into one pleasant thought and another until three men entered the lobby. Their shoes clapped on the marbled floor like a herd of horses and dissolved her thoughts like a breeze scatters a wisp of smoke. Two were young either Korean or Filipino, and the third was taller and middle-aged, a kindly next-door neighbor type. They spoke among themselves and pretended not to notice her.

“Excuse me, gentlemen. May I help you?” she got out as the men walked closer. A feeling of dread filled her chest as the men passed her desk oblivious to her requests. Call it intuition, a sixth sense or just plain common sense, but Nancy knew something wasn’t right about the three strangers. They continued their conversation and walked towards the elevators.

It was her first job after graduating as a communications major from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last year, and now she was working for a communications company – Inviscom Wireless – at their national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. She had tried for months to get into the company in the product-planning department, but always received the polite rejection letters saying they had found a candidate that would better suit their needs and encouraged her to continue to seek additional employment opportunities with the company. When she saw the receptionist position posted on Inviscom’s web site, she applied for the entry-level job hoping it would lead to bigger and better things down the road. She was hired because she “fit” perfectly into the company’s image – young, attractive and up on the latest goings on, according to the Human Resources manager who was assigned to acclimate her into Inviscom's corporate culture.

She put her cup down spilling some of the tea on the dark mahogany desk and moved her tall, slender figure from the crescent shaped reception desk. The men stood in front of the elevator doors.

Her A-type personality took over completely.

“Gentlemen! Excuse me!”

The doors opened and the men vanished. She quickly slammed her hand on the call button, but the doors ignored her. She went back to her desk and snatched the phone.

“Hello this is Sergeant Lopez. Can I help you?”

“Hi Hector? This is Nancy at reception; three men just went up the elevator and didn’t sign in. I couldn’t stop them. I don’t know where they are headed.”

“Were there two Chinese guys?”

“Well, yeah, I think so. How did you know that?”

“Mr. Grayson is bringing in two computer experts to test the security of our systems. He probably didn’t think he had to check in,” Lopez explained.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. I only got twenty emails reminding me about it.”

“Okay, if you say so. They had awfully big briefcases.”

“Computers and stuff.”

Nancy dropped into her high back chair and swiveled around to face the flat screen monitor. She stared at her unread emails and tapped her manicured fingers on the desk. She opened a new email and began typing to Scott Jones, head of the IT department on the fifth floor about the three men who had just entered.

***

The elevator stopped on the fifth floor of the 20-story building and the three men casually walked out into the corridor continuing their feigned conversation and camaraderie. They entered a small empty conference room and closed the door. The Asian men quickly unzipped the large black briefcases and pulled out laptops, Ethernet cables, and an RF scanner. Within seconds, they had the computers connected to a live Ethernet port in the room that gave them access to Inviscom’s network. Seconds later they were installing software they would later use to control the cellular phone company’s computers.

“The HLR servers are not on this network,” said the Korean man staring into one of the four laptops on the conference table. “They’re in a computer room located in S700.”

“Okay. I’ll take care of it,” the middle-aged man said.

He picked up desk phone on the table. Nancy at reception swiveled in her chair.

“Hello, Inviscom Wireless. How may I direct your call?” she said.

“Hello. This is the CIO. I have two contractors who will be working with us for a few days and I need access for them.”

“One moment, please,” she said instantly recognizing the middle-aged man’s voice, a distinct Midwestern twang.

Nancy scattered sheets of papers looking for the company directory, a gray booklet that she kept nearby. She found it under a paper tray and opened it to the executive officer’s page. She ran her finger down the list until she found the CEO’s name. She picked up the phone and pressed the hold button again.

“Hello, Mr. Payton, I’ll connect you to the security department. They will help you get what you need,” she said, deliberately testing the man to see if he really was Mr. Grayson.

“Okay. Thank you.”

“Is there anything else you need?”

“Yes. By the way, my name is not Mr. Payton. He’s the CEO. I’m the CIO.”

“Oh, sorry for the mix up, sir. I’ll connect you now.”

Within minutes the three men had disconnected their equipment and headed for the security office on the first floor. A short woman with a round face and a large friendly smile met the men as they entered. Her baggy white starched shirt conflicted with her tight black pants, which highlighted her overweight abdomen. She asked them to press their hands onto a hand scanner and took their photos. The two men left the security office with freshly made access badges hanging from their belts. They met the middle-aged man in the corridor and took the elevator to the basement.

“That’s it,” the Korean man said. “I remember from the building layout.”

It was the only door with a hand print scanner next to the door jam. The Filipino man pushed his badge into the card reader and placed his right hand on the scanner. The door clicked open. The men stepped up six inches onto the raised floor, where miles of cables lay underneath and connected the Inviscom computers with the rest of the world. The Korean man quickly moved through the rows of refrigerator-sized servers and mainframes and stopped at one with a small plastic stick-on-label on top.

“Here it is,” the Korean man said grabbing hold of the sides.

The machine rolled forward easily. He dug in his jacket pocket and pulled out a four-inch long device the thickness of a cigar. He split the device open and clamped it around the optical cable snaking out the back. It matched the metal shielding on the rest of the cable perfectly.

“What’s that?” the middle-aged man asked.

“An optical tap. It’ll transmit data to us at the same speed it’s flowing in and out of the network. We can monitor all the cell phone calls in the country.”

“All the calls?”

“All the ones on this HLR. We have other teams infiltrating the others. My associate here is placing taps on all the optical cables coming in.”

“HLR?”

“Home Location Registry – the database containing all the information on the cell phones in this network. We’ll even know where they are located when they make a call.”

“Are you sure it’s undetectable?”

“They have no way to detect it. I checked. It’s virtually impossible and if they did, they wouldn’t be able to find it. We will be gathering information for a long time,” the Korean man said smiling.

“And we will be able to control the network?”

“Yeah, when we have most of the passwords in a few days,” the Korean man said.

“And the weapons?”

“It goes without saying. They are all one and the same.”

“Okay, are we done here?” the middle aged man said. “We’re exceeding our window.”

“I just have to make sure the taps are working and we’re history.”

The Korean man produced a PDA and tapped the screen. The door jam clicked and a tall slightly overweight man wearing a baggy white shirt and brown casual slacks rushed in.

“You’re not supposed to be in here without an escort! What are you doing and how did you get in?” the man said his puffy face turning red.

“Mr. Grayson hired us to conduct a security audit on your network,” The middle-aged man said. “And you are?”

“Scott Jones, head of IT and Mr. Grayson never mentioned any audit to me,” Jones said.

“Maybe you were intentionally left out of the loop. We are testing for vulnerabilities.”

“I don’t think so. You all better come with me,” he said and pulled out a Blackberry.

The Filipino man quickly appeared and kicked the phone out of his hand with a precision aimed force that sent the PDA hurling towards the wall, where it hit and shattered into several pieces. He spun around, raised his leg like a jackknife, and thrust his right foot into Jones’ windpipe. Jones fell backward holding his neck gasping. The Filipino man knelt down next to Jones and looked into the fear in his eyes.

“You should have not come in here,” the Filipino man told him relishing the moment.

He pulled out a stun gun and stuck it against Jones’ neck. Jones writhed and bucked for several seconds, and then took one deep gasp and seemed to hold it for a few seconds. His body went limp and his eyes stared into the bright white florescent lights in the ceiling.

“You didn’t have to do that,” the middle-aged man said his face about to burst.

“He was going to tell,” the Filipino man replied. “I don’t like people who tell.”

The middle-age man shook his head and smirked.

“You stupid asshole!” he yelled. “We are supposed to be discreet about this now you’ll have the whole city putting a spotlight on this!”

“I don’t like people who tell,” the Filipino man said.

The middle-aged man reached into his jacket pocket – the other man did the same and they locked eyes. The older man knew he was no match for him and slithered his hand out of his jacket.

“Bring him over here behind the racks. Put him by the power conduits so it appears he was electrocuted.”

The Korean man walked over to the body and helped the Filipino man drag it next to the far side of the room. The middle-aged man watched them with emotionless eyes. He looked up and spotted an object in the corner of the room.

“Oh shit! What about the security cameras?”

“I turned them off,” the Korean man said struggling to pull the body behind the conduits. “Their security sucks. They don’t have anyone watching; they are just taping. Lucky for us.”

“Okay, let’s go,” the middle aged man said.

The Asian men packed the gear and three men walked out as casually as they had entered. The men were silent when they walked across the expansive lobby towards the double glass doors.

Nancy Foster immediately stood up her eyes riveting onto the three men.

“Excuse me gentlemen. Mr. Grayson you have to sign your guests in and out.”

“That’s okay. We’re in a hurry. I have to get them to the airport.”

‘It will only take a second,” Nancy insisted. “Didn’t they just get here? They’ll have to turn in their badges.”

“I said we were in a hurry!”

“But, Mr. Grayson, you are the one who developed this policy. Are you going to violate your own policy?”

The middle-aged man looked at the Asian men and then looked back at Nancy. She slowly moved her hand feeling under the edge of the desk until she found a small button attached to the underside. She pressed it.

“Listen young lady. Sometimes I have to violate my own policy to accommodate a customer. Now if you don’t mind, we will be leaving.”

As he turned to leave, a loud intermittent alarm went off and the doors made a rapid clicking sound. The Korean man pushed against the doors. The Filipino man reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a Glock 30 equipped with a silencer. He fired four rounds shattering the thick glass. The Korean man pushed himself through the door, kicking out the glass that remained. The middle-aged man followed and the Filipino man turned and aimed the gun at Nancy. She became a statue - their eyes locked like lasers. When two security guards rushed into the lobby his trained reaction was automatic, instinctive. He swung the gun towards them and fired. They dove onto the floor but not quick enough. Hector Lopez slammed onto the hard floor, the pain from the five-inch bloody hole in his calf nearly blinding all his senses. The other guard scrambled behind Nancy’s desk and lay there quivering like an epileptic. The gunman swung the gun towards Nancy, the bullet hit, and she tumbled over the chair and fell onto the floor like a limp rag. Her hand hit the cup of tea as she went down – the memory-laden liquid instantly disappearing into the dark carpet below. The black Mercedes had already pulled up to the front of the building and the back door swung open. The car seemed to swallow him and then it quickly melted into the morning rush hour traffic on Interstate 285.

anthony-s-policastro's picture

For years hackers have had the ability to take control of people; companies and even governments via their expertise with computers and the Internet. I have watched hackers evolve from curious whiz kids to extortionists and conspirators working for themselves, working as nefarious groups and working for organized crime.

I have always thought that one day they would be bold enough, confident enough and powerful enough to take control of one of our country’s major infrastructures such as air control, electricity or the Internet. This observation spawned DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM, a high tech thriller about a clandestine group who manage to hack into the nation’s power grid and cell phone network and hold the US hostage.

About Anthony

My writing career started when I was 11 years old and submitted a story to Reader's Digest. It was promptly rejected since Reader's Digest did not print fiction. My first lesson in writing - know your markets.

In my freshman year in college, I saw a help wanted sign in...

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