Peggy Carter, Agent of Resistance

Pt 49. Hacky Birthday Peggy….. with love, from Russia…..

Wakanda

[Palace Security Footage 04092017 1300 hrs local time]

Loc: Guest Quarters, Palace of King T’Challa, Wakanda

Steve: <scanning news sites, a DM pops up from an unknown user> “RedInTheLedger”? <checks bio> #MisfitToy, some #ASSEMBLING required, Alway picking up after my boys, #TheResistance” <chuckles, shaking his head in amusement> Way to be subtle Nat. <opens the message> 

Nat: Temp acct, just on for a quick min or two to drop you some news. Gen Ross is backing down, Accords should be lifted by this time next week. Fury will contact you when it’s safe to come home. He’s the only one in the Resistance besides me who knows who you are. That is, unless you’ve told MissUnionJack  😉

Steve: About time! I’ve been missing home a lot. As for Maggie, I still haven’t told her. I like talking to her a lot, but I don’t know how she’ll react. She’s got some sort of connection to Tony, AND she works for SHIELD. She doesn’t seem to mind that I didn’t sign the Accords, but that’s a big difference from finding out I’m….. me. Heck, I don’t even know if Maggie IS her real name.

Nat: Do you want me to do some digging on your new girlfriend? ‘Cause I can totally make time for a background check on a girl that makes you blush like you were last time I saw you.

Steve: <blushes, glares at the screen> She’s not my….. <twinge of curiosity> well, I mean, I know better than to try and stop you when you get an idea in your head…..<thinks better of it> but maybe that’s a thread that shouldn’t be pulled.

Nat: I’ll worry about threads, you just worry about coming home. Nick’s already got some assignments lined up for you.

Steve: I’m not going back to being his janitor. No more cleaning up botched missions, I want real assignments. Things that will help the Resistance and the country.

Nat: Ha! You’re all fired up! Is Captain America ready to lead the charge once more?

Steve: I gotta get into the fight. I’m tired of just watching, reading and hearing stories. Hard to do more than e-mails and phone calls when you’re basically in exile. Reminds me of reading the news during WW2, before I went through the procedure. I should be out there helping.

Nat: It’s about time! We could really use the help on a few things. I’ll explain once you’re back in NYC. You’ve still got that burner phone I gave you, right?

Steve: Yeah, you and Tony are the only ones with the number, probably why it never rings.

Nat: Ok, I’ll keep you in the loop on the accords -and anything I find out in my thread pulling. Gotta run, undercover work doesn’t give much time to socialize. Lol, not sure you’ll get this reference, but….  <a gif pops on screen> self destruct.gif

See you soon, Steve.

{SORRY, USER SCREENNAME RedInTheLedger DOES NOT EXIST}

Steve: <spins in his chair, excited, talking to himself> I gotta tell Maggie. I may be missing her birthday, but I’ll be able to make it up soon. <checks clock> It’s not even 5:30 her time, and it’s Sunday. Hopefully she’s sleeping in and enjoying. I’ll just drop her a quick note for when she wakes. <opens DM convo> Morning Birthday Lady! Wish I could be there to help you celebrate, but good news! Looks like the Accords will be lifted by this time next week! I’ll be home as soon as I can after. I’ll probably have to still deal with some red tape and a debriefing with Nick. After that though, I can really get to work helping you and the Resistance! Plus, I owe you a dance.😀

<ten minutes later a response pops up, but the user name has changed, instead of ‘MissUnionJack’ it now reads ‘Alice Porter’>

Hi user StarsAndStripes! You like to talk for the hot sexy times? Come here and see my pics! <an odd looking url link follows, along with a very provocative photo of a young woman in not much of a bikini>

Steve: <eyes wide, embarrassed and confused> Umm, Mags, is that you?

I will be Mags if you like the sexy. Talk to me here for hot times. <same url and picture follow>

Steve: <mumbling to himself> Crap! She’s been hacked. I gotta tell somebody! <takes a screen shot of the conversation, opens a new DM window to Mr. Spock> I’m getting strange messages from MissUnionJack. <sends screenshot> I think her account has been hacked. 

Mr. Spock: Indeed. All evidence supports that hypothesis. We are receiving similar reports about multiple Resistance accounts through the network. Do not open any links, even from trusted accounts until we have this under control. All affected accounts will be on lockdown while this matter is being resolved. 

Steve: <worried> Do we know who is doing it or how? Will they be able to get their accounts back after? What can I do to help?

Mr. Spock: Perpetrators are unknown at this time, although Russia, HYDRA, and the Romulans are statistically most suspect. While account retrieval may be possible, there is not enough known at this time to determine if or how many accounts in the network are salvageable. As this seems to be the early stages of an attack, we are still gathering information. Your quick response in reporting a suspicious account is currently all the assistance you can provide. I must cut our conversation short, as there are more reports coming in. Spock Out.

Steve: <staring at the screen, feeling helpless> I wonder if she even knows. steve pondering.gif

New York City: The Tower

[AVENGERS TOWER SECURITY FILES: 04092017 0545 hrs local time]

Loc: Quarters of P. Carter, AVENGERS TOWER, Broadway & W 58th St, New York, NY

<Bedroom is pitch black, Peggy sleeping soundly, a man’s harsh voice suddenly breaks the silence of the room> CARTER! GET YOUR ASS UP! HYDRA’S NOT TAKING TIME FOR BEAUTY SLEEP AND NEITHER ARE YOU! THERE’S WORK TO BE DONE! <before the voice is half finished, Peggy is wide awake, her Walther PPK in hand, looking for the source>

Peggy: <alert but confused> What the bloody hell? Colonel Phillips?

APRIL: Sorry Boss, that was default alarm setting your elder self had for emergencies. You said nothing could roll you out faster than the sound of the Colonel, barking orders.

Peggy: <tucks the gun back under her pillow, blinks, rising from the bed> Indeed, I admit that was quite ingenious of me. Lights, please, April? < the room lights softly rise to a comfortable illumination level, Peg glances at the clock, quickly throwing on some clothes> What’s the emergency? 

APRIL: Widespread hack attack on the Resistance network. Reports started coming in about twenty minutes ago. Just a few accounts at first, but it’s spreading. Yours is among the ones compromised. 

Peggy: <slips into a pair of comfy boots and grabs a jacket> Crikey! Call the safe house, tell them I’m on my way. I know Anthony set up the office here, but this is something I need to be there for. Leave him a message as well, I know he’ll worry if he stops by and finds me out. 

APRIL: On it Boss. <Peg bolts out the front door>

New York: SHIELD Safehouse

[SHIELD IN HOUSE SURVEILLANCE FILES: 034092017 0600 hrs local time]

Loc: Operations Command, NYC SAFEHOUSE Madison/59st

<Ops is buzzing with activity, techs working furiously at computers, tracking the effects and spread of the attack, Nick Fury supervising it all, hovering over the shoulder of Agent Cameron Klein>

Nick: TALK TO ME PEOPLE! What are we looking at?

ezgif.com-add-text (69).gif

Klein: <turns from his screen to look up at Nick> Esper-Kyam Security System. There was a major zero-day security vulnerability identified within the program which allowed bad actors to extract data. These exploits appeared in the wild several days ago. We were tracking them, but the extent and severity were underestimated. Proof of concept went live 6-hours ago.

Nick: In ENGLISH, Klein!

Klein: Anti-virus monitoring and protection software company. There’s hidden code in the program. A keylogger that stole Twitter login info from thousands of users. 

Nick: WE don’t use it, Stark hand picked a team to upgrade our systems after the Triskelion fell. 

Klein: Our systems are safe, yes. There’s no way they can backtrack even though they’ve compromised some of our agents accounts. However, they’ve hacked into the Twitter accounts of a lot of regular Resistance members. The accounts were taken over and are being used against us in a number of different ways.

Nick: <impatiently> Such as?

Klein: It’s a multilayered attack. They appear to have used the first layer of compromised accounts to phish for more victims. Some accounts were flipped to spam bots, posting links to fake sites that would compromise more accounts. All sorts of faked links -instagram pics, porn sites, bogus news sites are just a few. Some of the other accounts they’ve compromised seem to still appear as Resistance, but are putting out disinformation that is being amplified by by the spam bots.

Nick: <scowls> Psyops is definitely part of both Russia and HYDRA’s playbooks. We need to be able to trace it back. I need an origin point, YESTERDAY.

Klein: They’re not really trying to cover their tracks, too busy flipping stolen accounts it seems. Access seems to be coming from a series of IP addresses in Kostroma Oblast, Russia. The pattern is consistent with Grizzly Steppe, specifically SloppyBear, though we’ve never seen an attack of this magnitude from them. 

Nick: How fast can we scramble a STRIKE team to take them down?

Klein: Not fast enough. We don’t have any teams close enough to get there in less than five hours. Conservative estimates show we’ll reach a tipping point in about three.

Nick: Tipping point?

Klein: The point where they have control of enough of the Network that we won’t be able to salvage it. They’ll be able to sow whatever disinfo they like, and blackball any legit accounts we still have that they can’t snag.

Nick: What CAN we do?

Klein: We’ve got our teams working both defense and retaliation. Messages are going out across the Network alerting all members of the Resistance to uninstall Esper-Kyam& switch to a verified secure software system, make sure they’re using two part account verification, reset passwords, report suspicious activity from possibly compromised accounts, and avoid ANY links from ANYONE for the time being. 

Nick: Ok, that covers defense, what about retaliation?

Klein: Agent Daisy Johnson, Lt. Commander Data and Barbara Gordon are working together through video conferencing, with a team to flood the IP addresses with malformed ping packets to perform denial of service attacks.  A continuous ping will cause buffer overflow at the target system and will cause the target system to crash. 

Peggy: <bursts into Ops> What in the world is going on?!

Nick: <looks at Peg, holds up a hand, she stops, waiting impatiently, he turns back to Klein> How long will that take?

Klein: It’s gonna depend on how many IPs they’re running off of. We could crash it in less than ten minutes if they were only running one. But we’ve already discovered upward of a hundred all working together on this attack. It could take hours.

Nick: You said we’ll reach tipping point in three. You’ve got two. Make it happen. Is there any way we can re-claim accounts we’ve lost?

Klein: We can lock them down, but it’s up to the users to re-claim them with a password reset. Every affected account will need to be scrubbed of content from, I’d say the last seventy-two hours just to be safe. 

Nick: Do it. We’ll worry about clean up later. If we can lock the affected accounts, it should slow the spread, right?

Klein: It will definitely buy our teams more time. <Nick nods> I’ve already got Tech Agent Moore working on lockdowns. We started by focusing on SHIELD accounts, but I’ll have him expand to the rest. <turns back to his computer, tying away while giving orders through his headset>

Nick: <turns back to Peggy> We’re under attack. Hackers are trying to take over the Resistance Network on Twitter. We’ve got our best people from all groups working on it from every angle we can.

Peggy: <alarmed> What can I do? I used to crack codes at Bletchley Park, perhaps I can help against these hacker people. Point me in a direction. <moves toward an unoccupied computer, Nick grabs her arm, shakes his head>

Nick: Sorry, Carter. Yours was one of the first accounts reported compromised, one of your early bird recruits contacted Mr. Spock after receiving suspicious messages from you. You’re on lockdown until we can stop this and scrub everything.

Peggy: <angrily> Fine, then give me a gun and tell me who to shoot! <Klein flinches at the idea, but continues his work> I can’t just stand by while all our work is undermined.

Nick: Sorry Peg, bullets won’t stop this. Without access to your account, you’re on the bench.

Peggy: <glaring, head cocked to the side> Bench? <looks around for a bench to sit on, sees none, shakes her head> Do I still have access to my e-mail? <Nick looks to Klein>

Klein: <focuses on screen, avoids looking up at Peggy> We’ve begun monitoring other social media sites as well to pre-empt anything similar, so far only Twitter accounts have been compromised.  Her email is still secure.

Peggy: <pulls out phone> APRIL!

APRIL: Here, Boss, been monitoring the situation. What do you need me to do?

Peggy: Send out an emergency bulletin to all the backup emails we have for every Indivisible group, every BlueWave campaign, and all of our regional room leaders. I want every one of them to make warnings and security precautions their pinned tweet. Those are some of our most important accounts, and we can’t have them being turned. 

Nick: We’ve already got warning messages going out, Carter.

Peggy: Yes, but every account that pins the warning spreads the word further, also, any account with it pinned is like a check mark for us. “This account is secure, move on to the next.”

Nick: <grins> That will save time identifying compromised accounts. Since it’s sent via email, instead of DM, the compromised accounts won’t get the alert. They’ll see the posts, but it will be too late for them to flip secured accounts.

 APRIL: Security warning sent out to all contacts, Boss. Anything else we can do?

Peggy: <looks to Nick questioningly, he shakes his head, she sighs, shoulders slumped> It seems all we can do is watch and wait. 

<two hours pass in a frenzy of activity, a large monitor on one wall shows up to the moment stats – how many accounts compromised, secured, or locked, how many IPs still running and how many crashed>

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Klein: We’ve go them down to about a dozen IPs, but they’ve ramped up phishing efforts to take more accounts. All those Agent Carter contacted are secured, but they’ve taken some high profile accounts with large follower bases. 

Nick: <growls> Just HOW close are we? 

Klein: They’ve got control of about twenty-five percent of our accounts, and we’ve locked fifteen percent. Carter saved us another twenty percent, but I would say another five percent and we won’t be able to contain the damage.

Peggy: <has been pacing the entire time, alternating between studying the board and scowling over Klein’s shoulder> What if we shut the entire Network down?

Moore: <mumbles, chuckling> Have you tried turning it off and then turning it back on again? <Peggy turns to him, glaring, his eyes go wide, he shuts up and returns to his screen> 

Klein: That would be a last ditch solution. Locking down the entire Network even for an hour would result in widespread panic and chaos. <she winces at the thought, paces back to the board>

Moore: <leans over to Klein, whispers> I see what you mean about those Carter women, badass AND scary. Glad they’re on our side. <Klein hushes him as they get back to work>

<the numbers on the board continue to fluctuate, suddenly enemy IP’s drop by half, but compromised accounts reach twenty-eight percent, then drop back to twenty-seven as more are caught and locked down>

Nick: I want to be ready for full lockdown, people. If we can’t crash those last six, we shut down the Network. <gasps can be heard from around the room, as the clacking of keyboards intensifies>

<another IP falls, and another, while the accounts remain at twenty-seven percent, two more IPs drop from the board, but the accounts suddenly jump to twenty-nine percent>

Klein: <lips pursed, sweat at his brow, curses> Sonofabitch! They flipped BlueEagleNewsSquad, that account reaches over a million followers! <he keeps typing at a furious pace, the IP count drops to one>

Nick: That’s a major asset, they can flood Twitter with psyops disinfo. <sighs> Lock it down, ALL of it.

Peggy: <turns from the board> NO! <storms over to Nick> Do we, or do we not have the best minds in the world working for SHIELD?

Nick: We do, but sometimes, our best isn’t enough. We’ll regroup and find a way to start over. 

Peggy: We’re not giving up!

Nick: No one is giving up, we’re just <the last IP crashes, compromised accounts start dropping rapidly as they’re contained, and Nick’s next words are drowned out as cheers erupt from the entire room, Peggy smiles, Nick shakes his head, smiling> 

Peggy: <looks at him, still grinning> Yes, I know that could have gone the other way, but I had faith.

Nick: Faith, huh?

Peggy: <winks> Besides, I deserve a win for my birthday.

Nick: <smirks> Not bad for an old lady, what are you now? Ninety-eight, Ninety-nine?

Peggy: <scowls, laughing> I’m twenty-eight you wiseass. <turns serious> Now how long will it take to scrub and restore all the accounts? My teams are going to need me to help sort this all out.

Nick: To restore the full Network, it’s going to take a few days. They compromised nearly half our accounts. I’ll make sure yours is a priority. There’s nothing more you can do here. Go home, enjoy your day. 

Peggy: <tries to protest, Nick folds his arms across his chest and gives her a look, sighing, she turns and heads out the door, muttering> Hm, a whole day off, I’m not really sure what to do with myself.casualy fab

 

Author’s Note

From The Desk of Agent Margaret ‘Peggy’ Carter

This is an instance of art imitating life(with embellishments) Peggy Carter’s date of birth is April 9th 1921. On April 9th 2017, 5:23am EST The Twitter account @AgentCarter_SSR was hacked from an IP address in Kostroma Oblast. The account was given a makeover and ‘Alice Porter’ began posting sexbot spam. (No, no one received questionable DM’s luckily) The account was recovered and restored quickly, but it wasn’t the first, nor the last Resistance account to fall prey to hackers.

  • Always use two part verification for log ins!
  • If you receive odd looking links in DM’s DON’T click!
  • If you think an account has been hacked, report it to Twitter Support!

Keep Reading, Keep Resisting, &Stay Safe!

-Peggy

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