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179 The Battle of Interne

 Xiao Luo took two eggs out of the fridge and fried them on a skillet. And breakfast was made.

He knew he couldn't deal with the Dragon Gang all by himself. He had to get help from somewhere.

The most potent and capable force in the Hua Nation was the government. That would mean leveraging on the government's resources was the most effective and straightforward way to combat and suppress underworld organizations like the Dragon Gang. Xiao Luo immediately browsed the official websites of police stations in every district in Jiangcheng. To his pleasant surprise, a small police substation in the Guangming District happened to be recruiting auxiliary police officers.

Age, education, background... Xiao Luo met all the requirements from the job description. He submitted his resume immediately and was ready to take on a new role.

After submitting his resume, Xiao Luo suddenly detected anomalies with certain activities on the internet. He launched his tor browser, typed in a series of codes, and entered the dark web. He stiffened when he realized the internet gateway and all major networks of Hua Nation were being subject to massive cyberattacks from several foreign hackers.

At the headquarters of the National Security Agency of Hua Nation, everyone was strenuously typing on their keyboards with unprecedented urgency. The clamor of hurried voices echoed across the large room incessantly. Everybody in the room was on edge.

"The southern internet battlefront is in a critical condition. Request for reinforcement." A distressed voice screamed out a cryptic warning.

This was a smokeless and borderless war. And the Hua Nation never lacked in enemies. The opposing states wouldn't dare to provoke Hua Nation in the open. Nonetheless, they had been building an army of black hat hackers to sabotage and attack the Hua Nation. With the pervasive adoption of the internet, the inherent risks of cyberattacks were always a thing waiting to happen. As soon as hostiles breached the network center and its gateways, the banking, transportation, national security, and all other infrastructure systems of Hua Nation would be compromised.

This would lead to a breakdown. The country could not run, its security would be compromised, ultimately leading to complete chaos. It was not hard to imagine: bank accounts suddenly being depleted, traffic lights switched randomly, and worst of all, unauthorized launching of missiles. The impact was devastating.

The unsuspecting population would continue with their daily lives, working hard for their tomorrows and persevering for their dreams, not realizing that a grave threat was looming...

The executives of the NSA looked overwhelmed and were breaking out in a cold sweat. They were swamped and reeling from the offensive.

All of a sudden, an excited shout pierced the air, "BaiLing's showed up!"

BaiLing?

On hearing that name, the head of NSA breathed a sigh of relief and was almost excited to tears. Who was BaiLing? No one knew, and the NSA only assigned a gender by virtue of name. She was a white hat hacker that went by the handle BaiLing. She surfaced unexpectedly three years ago and helped NSA fend off an attack by a foreign entity. For the past three years, whenever hostile powers from overseas launched attacks on Hua Nation, BaiLing had always shown up at the eleventh hour and beat them off. BaiLing was hailed as the protector of Hua Nation.

BaiLing's arrival signified doomsday for the attackers. This put the entire NSA back in an exalted mood.

...

...

Jiangcheng, Huaye University.

Bai Ling sat in the study room in the library. Her fingers were clicking away on the keyboards of the laptop in front of her. The corners of her lips lifted into a playful smile, a mischievous girl discovering something funny and exciting.

Her white fingers were like "little dragons dancing and serpents slithering. Sometimes they moved with overwhelming speed of a fierce tiger dashed down from the top of the mountain, yet sometimes they sauntered, meandering in a tranquil garden."

She had accessed the NSA, and their firewalls were quickly reconfigured to block the intrusions. Traffic was rerouted away from key nodes, malware identified and isolated, and this continued in a constant "cat-and-mouse" as she tried to stay a step ahead of the attackers.

"Bai Ling, what are you doing?"

Chu Yue took a peek. She craned her head over in curiosity, and all she saw was a screen full of codes, looking like DOS commands in the first few seconds when a computer boots up. As she kept typing, lines upon lines of codes filled her screen, as if being printed out by a printer.

"I'm just coding." Bai Ling turned her head and smiled at Chu Yue.

"Coding?"

Pursing her lips, Chu Yue was not entirely convinced. She said, "Alright. I will leave you to it. I'm going to continue cursing the pretentious d*ck."

She picked up the doll in front of her again, stuck a piece of paper with Xiao Luo's name on the doll's chest, then began to mumble in indignation, "Pretentious d*ck, I hope you can't find a girlfriend all your life. You will have a flat tire if you drive; your phone will ring loudly if you're in an important meeting; you will be stuck in a traffic jam if you're pressed for time. All the bad luck will keep pestering you..."

Bai Ling was at a loss whether to cry or to laugh at Chu Yue's curse. Ever since Xiao Luo left without saying goodbye, she found her best friend had been acting strangely. Besides shouting "pretentious d*ck" in her dreams from time to time, she had given up on her penchant for sweet things and occasionally would use a "voodoo" doll to put a jinx on Xiao Luo.

There was no way that she would believe Chu Yue did not like Xiao Luo!

But she couldn't be distracted now. The hostile forces were launching a massive cyberattack on Hua Nation, and the consequences would be dire if she didn't stay focused. "Looks like these guys have been well prepared this time!"

Bai Ling's expression turned grave. The blush on her cheeks made her look like a delicate porcelain doll.

She had rerouted a large portion of the attack to secondary firewalls within the NSA architecture, but the intrusions were overwhelming. She now deployed a library of tools and protocols that she had developed for remotely setting up virtual firewalls. As she now battled the black hats, she kept setting up these new firewalls, one after the other. Yet time and again, she was overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the attacks. As fast as she could set up firewalls, the intruders would breach them. She was one girl against a well-organized, concerted effort manned by an army of top-notched hackers. The NSA did not stand a chance, and unbelievably left it to her to withstand the offensive alone.

...

...

The headquarter of NSA.

The NSA experts were at their wits end. Their computers were compromised, and they were shut out of the battle. They could only monitor the situation helplessly.

These here were the elites in the field of information technology, yet they found no way to counter the massive cyberattacks. They were forced to depend on a mysterious master hacker, BaiLing, to defend Hua Nation's honor. It wasn't just embarrassing; it shameful!.

And yet, they were too busy to be ashamed of themselves. This virtual war was bearing upon the very foundation of the society and nation, and something had to be done. Under these grave circumstances, they did the only thing possible, they rooted for BaiLing in silence.

The situation, in reality, was turning a dark turn. The firewalls created by BaiLing were breached by wave after wave of relentless attacks across the entire network. The speed with which she could set up firewalls could not match their breaching speed of the intrusions. As this trend continued, it was only a matter of time before BaiLing would lose the rearguard action.

The nervous tension returned to the executives of the NSA. Even though BaiLing was not an employee of NSA, she was acknowledged as a computer genius. They couldn't think of anyone else capable of warding off this attack if BaiLing failed.

Was the eve of chaos upon them?

Many were now preparing for the worst. The very foundations of their society would be devastated. Life, as they knew, was soon cease to exist. Armageddon cometh!

...

...

Xiao Luo put down his unfinished drink and muttered to himself, "Let me help you guys!"

Before his voice even faded, his ten fingers were dancing on the keyboard as a pianist would, the piano. A string of codes was quickly sent into the dark virtual battlefield.