Social Engineer - Chapter 10

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Today, 9:32am

It was time to explain what had happened next to the HTL executives. “So I’ve reached the limits of Colin Renshaw’s access,” Brody began. “At this point, I’m aware that an alert has gone off in a security control room somewhere. It’s likely they get quite a few each day from real staff inadvertently trying to gain access to the wrong doors. After all, the corridors in this building of yours all look the same to me.”

On the screen, he entered a Gents toilet. The video lowered to near ground level as Brody checked the three cubicles for the presence of feet.

The video cut to show a cleaner’s cupboard.

Brody had edited out the part of the video where he had stared at his reflection in the large mirror above the sinks, exhaling deeply and telling himself aloud to calm down, the adrenalin causing his hands to shake. If anyone had been in the corridor when he had failed to gain access to that last set of doors, it would have made them instantly more vigilant and very likely caused them to properly check his ID, resulting in a security alert. And, now that he had met Jacobsen in the flesh, Brody doubted that he would have survived such an encounter without it becoming physical. After all, he would have been caught red-handed trying to break into HTL’s most secure area. And explaining about a pentest sponsored by Moorcroft would probably have fallen on deaf ears, at least initially.

The cleaner’s cupboard had a mechanical combination lock with two vertical rows of seven buttons, labelled with numbers and letters, above a hexagonal handle. That meant many thousands of potential codes. His hand punched in a six-digit code and the door opened.

The off-screen Brody moved his mouse to pull up another audio file.

“Let me guess,” said Jacobsen. “You phoned the cleaning contract company we use and pretended to be a new cleaner.”

Brody clapped his hands, sardonically. “Well done, you’re getting the hang of this.” He didn’t bother to play the audio file.

The video cut to Brody in front of the mirror. This time he had replaced his Cisco cap with a plain grey one and had donned overalls. He’d located a trolley, carrying a mop and bucket, trays of cleaning materials and a large yellow sack.

He returned to the corridor, pushing the trolley. Slowly, he walked back in the direction of the double doors Colin Renshaw’s security pass had failed to open. The nearer he got, the slower he walked. Every couple of yards, the video panned around to check if anyone was coming the other way. But the corridor remained empty.

From the speakers, Brody’s voice clearly said, “Bugger,” and on the screen, he began to turn the trolley around. At the half-turn mark, the camera moved quickly to show one of the double doors opening. Someone was coming through from the other side. Quickly, he turned the trolley back and rushed the last few yards towards the opening door.

A man in a dark suit was walking through. The camera was pointed downwards, taking in the man’s shiny tan brogues as Brody avoided eye contact. In an Eastern European sounding accent, Brody’s voice said, “Would you mind?”

A second later the shiny shoes stepped back and the camera nodded thanks, briefly revealing the face of the helpful employee.

In the meeting room, Jacobsen leapt to his feet. “You’ve got to be fucking joking!” Brody flinched as Jacobsen violently flung his expensive pen down on the table but in Brody’s general direction. It instantly shattered, three pieces bouncing upwards — one heading straight for Brody’s face. Brody reacted quickly and snatched it out of the air. The other two pieces flew either side of him, one just missing Dr Moorcroft.

Onscreen, Jacobsen himself could clearly be seen, obligingly holding the door open. Brody pushed the trolley through. He mumbled an accented “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Jacobsen’s voice said from the speakers.

In the meeting room, Jacobsen slumped back in his chair.

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