Saturday, March 29, 2008

Somebody paid me to hack password

I didn't know that I was totally lost within these past few weeks until someone special pinched me with her rightful words. Was I so lost? I think Yes. Last two days, it's been even more of the busiest day of the month and heck of a challenge for me.

There is one financial organization located on downtown which is just some 10 minutes walk away from my residence. There is one peculiar situation and mystery out there that I'm asked to solve. One of the employees of that company, ripped off the company, stole all the cash. She knew that 4 close-circuit Cameras are constantly monitoring her. How dare she did that? That was something first stroke in my head as soon as I was briefed the whole story upon reaching the scene. I asked what was my job and they wanted me to break the password of the software of those cameras which is responsible for recording all the footages. This is something smartest thing she had done. She changed the password and nobody has access to any video record footages and so. That's how the owner thought.

It took some 3 hours of a day to figure out all the system on how it worked. This was something new to my field and I'd never done that before but I like challenges and I took that as a challenge. First day I spent learning the system. So many things were whirling inside my mind. I was searching folders for videos but I couldn't find one. I checked the entire registry keys associated with the software itself to catch it's critical file informations and how it works. There were no video files within the software's installed folder. This had been a real irritation to me. The owner wanted me to break the password, so that he could access the software and see the footage of particular day back in past. Here his only motivation was to check videos. So, I was trying first effort to find the videos if it was saving somewhere in hard drive. Checked all the folders in and out, and there were some files damn encrypted. I knew that was something important and I didn't care breaking that. A little search on google told me that this piece of software saves video files in *.avi format. I didn't think of *.avi because it takes lots of space if saved on that format but my suspicion turned out to be truth. Those video files were just a few click away and I found them all. huhaa. Moreover, the files were saved in some 20070312114501.avi . Looks weird file naming, but it didn't take more than 15 seconds for me to figure that whole thing.

The file was saved by year,month,date,hour,min,sec standard. I asked owner which day he wanted to check videos of and I showed him how to do that. It was too much for his non-techie head. He just wanted that programs password to be broken so that he could check it by himself. whewww.. Okay. and I told him that the software needed to be uninstalled and reinstalled. He refused it first because the computer was ON since more than a 1 year(unbelievable, Windows XP could constantly run without crashing and acting as a server for more than a year??? wowww, ). I could see that because the screen was burnt out and so faded. To assure him, I called the Tech Support in Australia(the manufacturer of PC DVD 4 Net-system being used there) and he told me the same thing, reinstall everything to break the password. He told me there was no way to reset the password. After knowing all these things, I thought to backup all the videos first just in case. Did that, Uninstalled and re-installed the whole software. Run the program, set the softwares settings. Everything seemed working perfectly but somehow the program was not linking back to those old videos. Another moment of despair, damn.. Called the Tech Support and they told me that there was nothing to be worried about since the only solution was to reinstall and the index file got deleted. He told me it's normal. I described same thing to the owner. I could see frustration in his face. I told him to manually check the videos one by one. After a while, I handed over him the phone where the Tech Support at another end told him to check the video manually. That made me feel easy whatsoever.

The reason why he wanted those video clips so madly and badly is because he wanted to show it as a proof to court(actually he's asked to bring one) where he's filed a case against that girl. The video where he hopes he could find the girl doing some nasty stealing red-handed. Lets hope for so. I did analyzing for some hours and what I saw was even more astonishing. The owner wanted me to check videos from Feb 15 to March 20. Guess what, that gurl wasn't dumb, she deleted all footages from Feb 13 to Feb 22. Then, I was sure that the girl had planned this from the beginning and she knew what she was doing. Smart enough yeah, messed with password, then deleted all the video footages only of those days related. To the worst, she even credited all the money of clients to her own bank account. Gosh!!! I imagined, If I would have her to receive my cash, she would have credited it to her account and present me with just mere fake print-outs.. pheww.

These whole things look straight forward while writing but it took considerable amount of my time, almost 3 days. I wrote a note yesterday and left it at the owner's table(he left by the time I came to some conclusion) letting him know about how to view videos and also about missing video footages. When, he'll know this today, he'll gonna have a major headache of the month. He's to present the video footage by the next week on Monday. I really don't know what's his next step would be.

Actually, I got this project through my father's friend DADA and he wanted me to do this job and took it.

Right now, I'm in dilemma. That nasty girl had done whatever she thought was good. I could recover those datas with ease but the owner himself is very peculiar. And, I don't want to do this recovering data for same price. Moreover, I'm not even in a state to let him know that I could do the job of recovering. He'll suspect me and I don't want someone having suspicious look on me. Really screwed up owner and really awkward situation for me. If I do recovery, I've to charge way more. And, I somehow knew that owner is a little scrooge when it comes to money. So, I'm stopping and leave him at his own.

Today, If I'm called upon, I've to hit the place one more time. I already set up remote video facility. Anyone with the IP address and port can view the Live surveillance of the field. It's perfect and working. It's something he wanted so that he could watch from his home too. I'm proud of myself :) And this is to let him know after few days, after all court issues are over. Even if it's totally new concept for me, I now have a stern confidence that I can learn anything so quicker if it's related to tech stuff.

If you have read all this, thanks a lot for reading my rambling.


Sameer said...

Wow, interesting now you are doing forensic investigation also! That girl is very clever,
And done all the effort of her side……………………..
But now after your investigation you have done almost all, and you know that data was deleted and after data recovery you can get it.
When we delete any file form the hard disk our operating system removes only reference of that file from the file system. This reference contains the detail about file where was it on hard disk. At the same time when file was removing it marked as free space, so the old data didn’t move, it’s just not seen on the file system but physically be present on the hard disk until another data is created over the same physical area. After formatting also we can recover the data as on the process of formatting the disk just removes the whole file system but not the files. If we use tools or software they can recover the deleted data. I use GetDataBack tool this is effective to recover but all process take lot of time. Best of luck for all process and hope she will call you again and increase the bucks :) humm….

Prena said...

Talk to you soon.

vickie said...

wohoo after this post, I feel that you're very professional cracker LOL. I just want to voice out "I support the owner"!! "Curse that girl to be guilty on that court"! Don't worry don't think so much you got paid for this job. The girl wont find you in future lol

Anonymous said...

In any other place, what you did at the end might have potentially fallen under perjury.

But then again, having read a few Nepali blogs, I've realised they are a really daft people... except for, perhaps, a few thieving girls...

Navin said...

wow, sameer bro, I was giving a hint on my blog and you described it all with perfection. thanks for that..

Prena, I wish I could talk you all the time :)

Vickie, I wasn't involve on it at all. So, no problem at all. Thanks for your thoughtfulness though.

Anon, this is a blog and I was pouring down my internal feelings. That was my feelings and I wrote How I felt? So, will it be perjury to feel that way? common Anon, my feelings, It's my personal life, I'm not doing anything harm to anyone, It's their part and I did the part of my job. But after your comments, I'm not feeling good at all. and what do you mean by daft nepalese??

Binay said...

Dude, not cool man. After all that it bothered you to run a file recovery program in his computer?
You did apparently nothing for the owner. Instead, you even deleted the index of videos he'd been maintaining for a year. It just proved that you worked for money not for passion. Shame on you :P

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