“Cybercrime creeps in right under my nose when a cryptojacking scheme lands my boss, Pinkie, in jail.”
Gillian, Dark Energy heroine.
Cryptocurrency is one of the hottest investments. It’s digital money people use to buy goods and services. Bitcoin, Facebook’s Diem (originally Libra), and as many as 5,000 others are cryptocurrency varieties. People invest in cryptocurrencies like stocks or commodities. They also steal it. Cryptojacking is what I call digital pickpocketing.
Like anything related to money, cryptocurrencies attract criminals, especially when values shoot up (like they did recently) and tank (like they did about a year ago). Traders move it through exchanges where transactions untraceable. Cryptocurrency can be routed through these exchanges or other online wallets to launder millions of dollars. This virtual world is where dark energy creeps in; the dark side where cryptocurrency fits into Dark Energy: Return to Becker Circle.
In Dark Energy, Pinkie owns two bars typically packed with people likely to have cryptocurrency. Knowing this, vicious criminals pull Pinkie and other honest business owners into their cryptojacking scheme to cover their digital trail. But these criminals don’t know they’ll have to answer to Gillian. The FBI arrests Pinkie leaving Gillian to run the bars and prove her boss had nothing to do with the scam. She and Jon, the most talented musician on the bar’s stage and the perfect boyfriend, will not let her mentor and friend go down for something he didn’t do.
Read a short excerpt from Dark Energy to learn about cryptojacking during this telephone conversation between Gillian and her favorite Harvard accounting professor. Watch the trailer and find the songs Dark Energy by Brian Miller and Dark Energy .germans mix by Brian Miller and Bobby Hoke (lyrics for both by Addison Brae) on your favorite music retailer or streaming sites.
Practice safe cryptocurrency spending. Double encrypt.
Chapter 16 excerpt
Paper rustles during a longer than normal pause. I also remember Dr. Daran being my only professor who still carried paper around. Everyone else kept lecture notes on a tablet, but not him.
“Dammit, if I could only break the habit of printing important things thinking they’ll be easier to find in this paper mound on my desk.” More papers crinkle. “Found it. A CIA buddy forwarded a cybercrime alert a few weeks ago. It’s making me think. This reeks of theft. What’s the most common theft in bars?”
“I don’t know—food, bartenders over pouring drinks, servers scamming tips, customers walking tabs? I get it. Pinkie doesn’t put up with crap from anyone. If we do, employees are fired—or customers are banned.”
“Good, Gillian. Think bigger. Not the random employee or customer wanting to get ahead. Think about real criminals who steal for a living.”
I pause and stare at the concrete wall in front of me while I think. “Occasionally, people have had their wallets or purses stolen, especially when we’re packed during live music weekends.”
“Bingo. Pickpockets. Are these bars located in the suburbs or in the heart of Dallas?”
“Definitely in the middle of everything. Both bars are surrounded by high-rises—office buildings, apartments, condos. The new location I manage has tech startups and banks in office towers above and all around us. Could those servers have been stealing information?”
“You did listen in my classes. There are lots of ways to commit theft using computers. I’d put my bet on cryptojacking.”
“You taught us all about digital money—cryptocurrency and bitcoin—but cryptojacking?”
“It’s like digital pickpocketing on a much larger scale.”