This week’s episode of CSI: Cyber is called “CMND:\Crash”, which is — just guessing here — hacker-speak for “Command: Crash.” Looks like this week, the Cyber gang is gonna take on some guy commanding things to crash.
The episode opens with some backstory. Avery Ryan explains how back when she was a psychologist, she got hacked. One of her patients ended up dead because of the hacking. It sounds very sad. Hacking seems bad.
Hackers are everywhere, Ryan tells us, “just a keystroke away.” Don’t believe her? Maybe this graphic will convince you.
Still not convinced? How about now?
Maybe laying it on a little thick there, CSI.
Our mystery of the week begins at a theme park in Richmond, Virginia, where a hacker has decided to kill people by hacking a roller coaster with his cell phone. (Reminder: It can happen to you …)
It’s time to rally the troops and solve this devastating roller-coaster cybercrime. Agent Ryan decides that the easiest way to wake up Agent Nelson (Bow Wow) is by hacking his car alarm.
“It took all of five minutes to crack your vehicle passcode and load the app that allowed me to remotely take control of your car,” Ryan boasts.
Nelson makes his “no, that’s absurd” face.
Over at the Cyber Threat Operations Center, the agents analyze the coaster’s schematics. “Somebody breached the roller coaster’s computer,” Ryan deduces, “and compromised the code.”
Her boss continues the thought: “… Making that computer an accomplice to murder.” Can you arrest a computer for murder? The answer, according to CSI: Cyber, is “probably.”
It turns out that the coaster’s computer never even detected a crash. The hacker had to have gotten into the ride’s control computer and tampered with it. Like this:
This is what hacking actually looks like.
Krumitz discovers that an extra motherboard was slipped into the coaster’s computer. He explains this to Agent Ryan — the person who literally runs the FBI’s cybercrime unit — by using his sandwich as a metaphor.
“So I always order a Large and Tasty from the sub shop around the corner, with bacon. But the Large and Tasty doesn’t come with bacon — something you’d only know if you were familiar with the menu. The bacon is disguised because it looks like part of the sandwich. That extra panel looks exactly like the other six.”
These are the best cybercrime investigators in the world! Using sandwiches to demonstrate how a computer bay works!! This show is amazing.
Krumitz continues: “Ready for the scariest part? A single-board computer like this can be found anywhere online for about 50 bucks.” Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttt????????
Again, Krumitz: “It’s so easy, a 9-year old could use it.” WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTT?????? Baby hackers, they could be everywhere.
Ryan figures out, based on Bluetooth signal radius, that their hacker is “turned on by gore. Or as we like to say, gore porn.”
Her boss makes his “I fully understand what you’re saying” face.
Ryan tells Bow Wow to go undercover on a deep web gore-porn forum to help find the culprit. Here are the usernames that he tries to sign up with: KillerEyes81 (already taken!), Catastrophic41 (also taken!), and Naughty99 (not taken!).
The team baits the hacker (username: Otto. Just “Otto”) into committing another crime. “Tell the hacker, ‘I’m incredibly aroused by your promise of a spectacle,’” says Oscar winner Patricia Arquette with a straight face. Bow Wow complies.
They get booted from the forum, which somehow causes the FBI computer to blue-screen (???), but not before finding out that the hacker is targeting the Boston subway system. The team races to stop a rapidly accelerating train.
A lot of nonsense happens, but long story short, Agent Mundo manages to stop the runaway train controlled by an elite hacker by poking at a computer chip with a wire hanger.
Otto is arrested, the day is saved, Krumitz steals Bow Wow’s girlfriend (??????), everyone goes home. Just another day at the FBI.
The moral of the story is that computers can — and almost certainly will — kill you. Computers are everywhere, and they are plotting your demise. So ends another thrilling episode of CSI: Cyber.