And it was both the best and worst thing that happened to the network security world. When Jack was a kid, security commanded respect and a decent salary to boot. Every firm was petrified that some cracker would break into their system and do stuff and they were willing to pay for the expertise to keep them out or get rid of them once they got in. But once Everlock was developed, network security became a lot less urgent.
Sure, every firm needed a security department and the staff still needed all those skills, but the willingness to pay for it vaporized like so much hot air. And markets being what they were, that meant that a security job went from being a high end career to a uniformed job. Really, security departments went from being filled almost exclusively with jobs for coders to being primarily concerned with law and order.
Since no one had yet come up with an Everlock for physical world crime, the bulk of security personnel were the equivalents of the anachronistic beat cops and squad detectives. Jack’s group at Bellis was tiny in comparison to the field officers and they were treated according to their relative size. But Jack wasn’t terribly bitter. The bottom had fallen out of network security before she was even out of school, so she went into the field with her eyes open. She just wanted to be able to stick her hands in the guts of the system and get paid for the privilege.
There hadn’t been a lot of working with the guts lately, though, so Jack spent a lot of her time scanning the news and reading mail. She read about some firm trying a new system interface for its staff that used three dimensional motion for input. It sounded interesting and Jack was glad to see someone taking the risk, but the article made it sound like it wasn’t going to last. A firm in Europe had several servers disappear, a self-professed good guy cracker in Africa was building tools to determine the provenance of the programs being eaten by Everlock and someone had built a fully functioning physical keyboard out of lego. It was a typical news day, but between reading the news while glazing at the logs, it ate up enough of the morning that Jack felt it was late enough to get another hotter coffee from the break room.
She stood, refocussed, and walked toward the tiny enclave which housed the coffee pot and a small fridge. She poured a cup and tried to ignore Tony, one of the other day staff. He was just a class 3 and he liked to talk about old fashioned fashion and nothing else. It was ultra boring stuff at the best of times and Jack was convinced he knew she hated it but talked her ear off anyway. She tried to get her coffee without arousing him, but it was not to be.
“You’ll never guess what I just found on the boards,” Tony gushed as he practically teleported next to Jack. He didn’t wait for her to guess, but rather said, “A photo gallery of twentieth century Gucci shoes. All of them!” he practically squealed. Jack nearly threw he coffee at him, but said only “That’s nice, Tony. Back to work,” and walked back to her cube.
Tony was a character and Jack had to grudgingly admit that he added a little life to the office environment. His love of antiquated fashion went beyond websites and collectibles. He actually dressed as if he were from another era. His hairstyle and clothes looked like something out of an early first generation video show — short neat hair, white button up shirts, a flap of fabric hanging from his neck that he called a tie and eyeglasses. He even managed to find a way to make his regulation trousers seem old. Jack suspected he spent a lot of time at home with a fabric gun flattening pockets and tapering legs.
He wasn’t completely antiquated, though. Like most people, he had several implanted diodes in his face, fashionably placed at his eyebrow, nose, lips, ears and cheeks. Really, he was an entertaining enough fellow, it was just that his obsession was a little bit too over the top for Jack, especially before her second coffee of the day.
Back at her desk, Jack started paging through Gilles’ report from the night shift. Security officers were required to write up reports of their observations over the course of a shift and for the few times something did occur these reports were invaluable. Most of the time, though, the reports were either dull as the sky or read like the in-class messages of highschool students. Thankfully, the reports Gilles left fell soundly in the latter camp.