Only One Hacker At The Keyboard? Amateurs!

We imagine many of you have seen the ridiculous scene from the TV series NCIS in which a network intrusion is combated by two people working at the same keyboard at once. It’s become a meme in our community, and it’s certainly quite funny.  But could there be a little truth behind the unintentional joke? [Tedu] presents some possibilities, and they’re not all either far-fetched or without application.

The first is called Duelmon, and it’s a split-screen process and network monitor worthy of two players, while the second is Mirrorkeys, a keyboard splitter which uses the Windows keys as modifiers to supply the missing half. As they say, the ability to use both at once would be the mark of the truly 1337.

Meanwhile here at Hackaday we’re evidently closer to 1336.5, as our pieces are written by single writers alone at the keyboard. We would be fascinated to see whether readers could name any other potential weapons in the dual-hacker arsenal though, and we’d like to remind you that as always, the comments are open below.

The intense hacking scene from NCIS can be found below the break. Be warned though, it contains the trauma of seeing a computer unplugged without shutting down first.

19 thoughts on “Only One Hacker At The Keyboard? Amateurs!

  1. Trauma? It’s actually the procedure for making a forensic image of a computer. Take a photo of the screen, bring up the list of running processes, get a photo of that screen, and then yank the plug. Pull the drive, plug it into a write-blocker and image it onto a comparable blank drive.
    If you let the computer shutdown, it will destroy some evidence as part of the shutdown cleanup.

    1. Gibbs doesn’t know how a network works and thinks all the data and processing is done on Abby’s computer so pulling the plug on her computer should have sent her running to the next computer in the room. But it would seem the writers didn’t know either.

      I wonder if they think the WWW is all stored on their computer.

  2. > But could there be a little truth behind the unintentional joke?

    If you’re doing Incident Response and you have an APT on your network you will most likely try to determine if you have multiple attackers working simultaneously. If you only have one attack connection, you’ll try to determine the number of people (serially) using that connection. I.e. how long does the attacker work at time, when do they take breaks, when are shifts starting/ending, is their a finger-printable style, etc.. Often it’s only one attacker behind the keyboard, but sometimes >1 attackers behind the keyboard.

    So, could that scene actually be an intentional joke?
    [Not that I’ve watched that TV show or the clip in question.]

  3. Being hacked doesn’t look like that. Being hacked is when, a week later, you get a phone call from a sales rep asking if you want to proceed with your order ten-thousand dollars worth of their automotive key fob programming equipment and assorted supplies.

  4. It seems normal today. One op mitigates the attack and tother runs forensics and malicious mitigation (response attack). The last place I worked had mitigation software in place but it was a poor substitute for a human pulling a plug. It would sit there and gather the forensic data for way too long, like it would sit there and send notifications about x sector intruded y sector active etc but not actually contain anything lol basically just a tattle tale noting how well your ship was sinking lol. That was years ago though and I am pretty sure there are AI upgrades at this point that make it painful to the attacker as it picks up syntax and common types and styles of attacks. Anyway tv computers always do way more or less than they should, not sure why it remains so bad but hey it got me into computers as a kid seeing them do all that magic hahaha.

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