Nowhere Man: Science: Virtual Hacking

Tom in Virtual Trouble Q: How do you look at a file you can’t open and you can’t fetch?

A: You don’t try.

Virtual hacking is a method of file access which requires the hacker to send his consciousness into a data storage area. The advantage to this is that by making a one-way connection, in theory no one will know the file has been read as long as he does not try to take it with him. He can bypass firewalls installed on secured data storage areas because they are generally designed to keep information in, not to keep it out. In this way a hacker can enter, read the file while actually in the database, then leave.

The person attempting to access the file needs to be well-versed enough in VR navigation to make his way into and out of the system in the way his brain presents the data to him. His consciousness sorts the data and his brain interprets it into familiar patterns such as rooms, ladders and files. He has to believe in the surroundings enough to be able to navigate them. Someone who doesn’t believe the virtual realm is real may have a difficult time climbing a ladder if that’s the way a data pathway is interpreted in his brain.

The unfortunate side effect of this is that virtual reality is virtually real, meaning the person who is most able to navigate is also the person who will be most susceptible to program glitches and sudden changes. Because he believes it’s real, the VR hacker’s consciousness can be deleted along with files if he finds himself trapped in a database while it is being erased.

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