Ghost: Episode 5
This series is moving way too fast. Things are being unraveled and revealed much sooner than I expected them to be, which is a good thing since it keeps to a fast pace and makes the ante high. But then it makes me wonder whether this series will fizzle out sooner or later. Right now it’s a cat and mouse game – but unfortunately the mouse doesn’t know all the parts to the cat’s trap. Yet.
Jo Hyun Min is now here! Decisions can now be made. With only 25 minutes left before the market opens, the council reevaluates their situation. The last Friday they had a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) – meaning a hacker had taken over several computers virtually (turning them into “zombie computers”), and prevented users from accessing a particular website or network, causing a “server overload.” It is potentially crippling as the hacker can use this opportunity to commit other cyber crimes. Now the hackers have threatened a second attack if Sekang Securities doesn’t send money to their account by 9AM.
The Security Team Leader assures Hyun Min that they have prepared for a potential DDOS attack, but Woo Hyun doesn’t think that’s enough. If the hackers are threatening to shut down the Home Trading System, that’s far more crippling than just a DDOS attack that prevents people from reaching the site. Everyone else is confident that their hardware and servers are tightly secured, but Woo Hyun points out that there are human beings who are making sure that hardware is secure.
Hypothetically, the server manager is supposed to hold the ID and password that controls all the servers a secret. But the server’s subcontractors have to do monthly checkups on the servers, and they’ll require the password. The server manager is supposed to enter the ID and password at odd hours of the day, so instead of doing so, he might just give the log in information to the subcontractor. That subcontractor may not be the same person each time, so they’ll pass on that log in information to the next one. At a certain point, dozens of people could know the ID and password.
And hypothetically, if the server manager were diligent and never shared the log in information, other employees could still bring in a virus that will infect all the computers at the company. All they need to do is download a file that has the virus code, carry it in a USB, and insert that USB into the company computers.
Woo Hyun’s hypothetical situations are disconcerting to say the least, so Hyun Min asks what he thinks they should do. A little cockily, Woo Hyun believes the whole thing is a bluff. If these hackers could only do a DDOS attack last Friday, then they probably don’t have the capability to bring down an entire trading system.
Hyun Min asks one of his directors, Director Moon, to hand over the hacker’s account number. And then, in front of everyone, he tears it up. They’ll just have to wait and see now! Wow his faith in Woo Hyun is so high. Even Hyuk Joo is a little astonished by what just happened.
The minutes and the seconds tick by, and I would have fired that annoying git who has to do a second-by-second countdown. Finally it’s 9AM. The trading numbers and graphs load… and everything works perfectly. There’s been no attack!
Hyun Min thanks Woo Hyun for his work, and then comments on the recent accident. “I don’t think you’ve fully recovered yet,” he notes, “since you don’t seem to remember me.” Uh-oh… Woo Hyun is slightly alarmed – is he supposed to know Hyun Min?!
Now everything is revealed to us – perhaps not a moment too soon. As Hyun Min fills up his office air with “The Phantom of the Opera,” we see what happened the night Hyo Jung died. As she tried to write an email to the news agency about the Phantom file, Hyun Min had tweeted under her account that “she” wanted to die. Then he pushed her out the window, and deleted her email. Woo Hyun had discovered this when he knocked on his door, and Hyun Min readily confessed to killing Hyo Jung.
Hyun Min was also the other man in the Phantom video file who handed over the poisoned alcoholic drink to the victim with Woo Hyun. As it seems like they’re close, there’s no way Woo Hyun would have given up Hyun Min to the police. But Hyun Min finds it strange that Woo Hyun treated him as if they had met for the first time. Director Moon – who’s in on this whole shenanigans too! – posits that the temporary amnesia is due to post-traumatic stress disorder, but Hyun Min doesn’t think so…
Back at the bureau, a leggy, beautiful actress in shades walks out of the cyber crimes office. She’s the actress Kang Seo Ra, who’s been recently enveloped in a sex tape scandal. Tae Gyun is starstruck when he passes her in the hallways, and runs excitedly to get confirmation from Young Suk that it really was her. Kang Seo Ra was just photoshopped in the sex tape, right? She never would have done that, right? Young Suk rolls his eyes, disinterested – it’s not like Kang Seo Ra is pretty or anything, since he thinks Kang Mi is prettier.
Tae Gyun: *picks up a piece of paper from Young Suk’s desk* Isn’t this Kang Seo Ra’s autograph?
Young Suk: Oh… I got that autograph for my son.
Tae Gyun: Oh. Your son’s name is “Detective Han”?
Kaedejun: Busted!!! Sucker!!!
Woo Hyun arrives at the office and immediately does a search on Hyun Min and Sekang Securities in the database, but nothing shows up. Even Kang Mi has never heard of him, but she doesn’t think tracking down Hyun Min is a priority right now. What’s more important is that Hyuk Joo has found evidence that it was Woo Hyun who hacked into Jung So Eun’s computer with the Hades virus.
Sang Woo enters Hyuk Joo’s office with an update. While no authorized computer within the police department hacked into Jung So Eun’s computer, it’s possible someone used a different computer within the building still. On top of that, he managed to locate a CCTV file that recorded Woo Hyun entering the evidence room around the time that the hacking had begun.
Oooooh – this is seriously good evidence.
Hyuk Joo heads into the evidence room to look for anything that could have been used. Sang Woo claims to have already checked and found nothing, but Hyuk Joo locates Hades’ laptop. This could have been used, no? They take the laptop to Eung Jin, requesting that he search the log records and see if the hacker used that computer to break into Jung So Eun’s computer.
Eung Jin is absolutely skeptical. When the laptop first came in, they tried to do a full hard drive scan but couldn’t because the entire drive was password protected. 1 point for Woo Hyun! Sang Woo: “You couldn’t access this laptop? I thought you had a doctorate degree!” Hahah – true that, my friend! But Eung Jin dismisses it entirely; only if it were Hades himself could that computer be used to hack in to Shin Hyo Jeong’s computer. Well that’s an idea…
During an overview meeting on the DDOS attack on Sekang Securities, Young Suk reveals that the hackers all seem to have originated from Hong Kong, which means the hackers might be Dae Young group. That rings a bell for Woo Hyun (since he is a hacker at heart). Dae Young group has all the best and brightest hackers, and so taking down a trading system would have been a piece of cake for them. And yet they didn’t do so.
Everyone’s amazed at Woo Hyun’s expansive knowledge on hackers. Young Suk also adds that the leader of Dae Young, Professor Dam Sa Myung, and his second-in-command Wang Ji Wi, both disappeared from Hong Kong a week ago. A picture of Wang Ji Wi comes onscreen, and he’s with… Vans Man! They’re all connected!! But only Kang Mi and Woo Hyun see the importance of this detail.
Tae Gyun bursts into the room with new intel – as he was investigating Kang Seo Ra’s sex tape, he found the virus used to create zombie computers that then launched the DDOS attack on Sekang. Dae Young group must have created that video and inserted that code within it. Then, because so many people downloaded that video to watch – including employees within Sekang – plenty of zombie computers were created.
Woo Hyun is ready to hunt down the root person and location of where that video was first spread. (Yep – Hyuk Joo is gonna have a hard time tying a leash around Woo Hyun the Lone Wolf.) Step one: download the video. Step two: locate the IP addresses where the original upload occurred. Though Kang Mi wants to track down Vans Man, Woo Hyun wants to catch Dae Young first. He knows that the uploaders are probably just part-time workers who are getting paid cents just to do this upload for Dae Young, so he plans to track them down, which will lead him to Dae Young, which will then lead him to Vans Man.
He prints out the list of IP addresses where the uploads occurred, most of which are at various PC cafes. Suddenly, the both of them hear moaning. The video started playing on Woo Hyun’s screen! UHHH… Kang Mi tries to find something else to focus on, and then Woo Hyun realizes he ought to close that video. Ya think? Awkward!
The first PC cafe shows that the part-timer had uploaded the video while checking baseball stats; it indicates that their suspect part-timer is a baseball fan. Woo Hyun is still puzzled over why Dae Young would only freeze Sekang’s website for a few seconds if they had the ability to control thousands of zombie computers and could paralyze the country’s network. He thinks they have another agenda.
Another agenda they must have… as Vans Man is busy breaking into a Mr. Noh Shin Il’s home… Hmm…
Hyuk Joo heads over to the old “True Story” building to see if he can fish up some more details on Park Ki Young and Kim Woo Hyun. The office looks to have been untouched since Ki Young had left it; half-read books with business card-bookmarks litter the tables, and calendars with sticky notes left in the month of May from the previous year.
He hears someone approaching and quickly hides near the door, which I think is kind of useless. But he does manage to surprise Seung Yoon, who’s come in looking for her own things. He asks is she knows Park Ki Young’s password to his computer; she does, as they shared computers. But Seung Yoon is smart – why should she just freely give out information to a detective who has no warrant? She’ll only tell him something if he gives her something in return.
Hyuk Joo: I hate girls who play games, especially such a small one like you. Seriously…
Seung Yoon: I can’t stand ugly guys.
Hyuk Joo: I’m ugly!?
BWAHAHA – touche, gal!
For the password, Seung Yoon wants information on Kim Woo Hyun. Hyuk Joo’s suddenly interested – does someone else aside from him think Woo Hyun is odd too? She wants to know whether it’s true that Shin Hyo Jung’s real killer is alive or not, and how Woo Hyun knew her name the first time they met. Hyuk Joo readily admits that he’s investigating “something” within the bureau, and if it becomes a scoop he’ll tell her first. She then tells him the password Ki Young used on his computer was “SINCE1999.”
Off he goes to Eung Jin, and he prods him to take out Hades’ laptop. Hurry, hurry! Eung Jin stares at Hyuk Joo blankly – so what’s the password? Hyuk Joo spells it out for him. Eung Jin: “You sure about that?” Hyuk Joo: “Just do it!” Eung Jin enters it in.
Bwahahah! I can practically feel Eung Jin rolling his eyes over how ridiculous Hyuk Joo is.
Woo Hyun and Kang Mi work all throughout the night tracking down one PC cafe after another. All the locations are luckily in the same neighborhood, so it’s likely that the suspect part-timer lives nearby. Kang Mi gets up to move to the next location, but then a kid in a baseball cap and jacket enters the cafe.
No way – he can’t possibly be that obvious…
But obvious he is! As soon as he hears one of the workers refer to Kang Mi as a detective, he makes a run for it. They run through back alleyways and through the busy streets, before the suspect (whom I’m nicknaming Baseball Kid) escapes into another PC cafe. He hurriedly tells the owner to not tell anyone he’s there, and then runs into the bathroom before Kang Mi can spot him.
Baseball Kid himself is shocked that a woman as pretty as she would be a detective. Looks can be deceiving fella, and the person in the bathroom thinks so too. Baseball Kid turns around… it’s Woo Hyun, whipping out the handcuffs!
Vans Man contacts Wang Ji Wi after he completes his break-in, checking in to make sure that everything is set. He reminds him that the attack must look like a DDOS attack, which means they’re definitely planning something bigger. Behind Wang Ji Wi, a small group of hackers are busy working in their small office. One of them gets a ping from Baseball Kid, asking for an advance on his pay.
Of course, Baseball Kid is working under the orders of Woo Hyun and Kang Mi, as part of his job was to never contact Dae Young first. He’s a little nervous about what his contact at Dae Young would do, but he keeps feeding a sob story to his contact about why he needs the money. All Woo Hyun needs is a reply from Dae Young’s side so that he can locate them… and finally the contact replies! He requests for whatever Baseball Kid has done with the viral video, and Woo Hyun quickly jumps in to send a different kind of file.
The contact at Dae Young clicks the file open… and Woo Hyun is in! His file had a viral code that allowed him to turn on the webcam and take a snapshot.
Dam Sa Myung is also in that office, and he immediately notices the web cam light turned on. He slams the computer closed and tells everyone to pack up – they’ve been compromised!
The photo slowly downloads for Woo Hyun and Kang Mi to see. Behind Baseball Kid’s contact is Wang Ji Wi and Dam Sa Myung. To have both heads present in one room must mean that their planned attack is going to be big. Woo Hyun also notices there is a white board behind them with the words “D-Day, June 12, 9:00.” It’s a little unclear, but that means they’re planning a bigger attack today, in just under three hours.
Yikes. But the good news is, Dae Young group is in Korea; a Korean billboard advertisement in the background confirms as much.
After pulling an all-nighter, Tae Gyun notices that the virus embedded in the Kang Seo Ra sex tape has the date and time of the DDOS attack. Instead of the date and time being last Friday, when the first attack occurred, it’s now June 12 at 9AM. Young Suk notifies his superiors, including Director Jun. It’s time to get every single expert, bureau, and agency involved.
Everyone gathers in the conference room for the emergency meeting, and Hyuk Joo gives his report to Chief Shin on the situation. Since the attack is so great, the target could be anything – financial institutions, Blue House, National Intelligence Service – but Director Jun has already made sure the affected institutions take precautionary measures.
Woo Hyun interrupts – the Dae Young team is in Korea. If it were a simple DDOS attack, they wouldn’t have come all the way to Korea for that and risk capture. Their presence suggests that they’re planning for something bigger. Hyuk Joo gets all caught up on wondering how Woo Hyun knows all this, wondering if Woo Hyun is doing some illegal hacking on his own. Dude – that is not the issue right now!! Director Jun puts an end on Hyuk Joo and Woo Hyun’s little tiff, and orders everyone to work on preventing the DDOS. Oh I see – so you’re going to disregard Woo Hyun’s advice.
Since no one wants to follow his advice, Woo Hyun decides to act independently again. He’s going to try and locate Dae Young’s offices based on that webcam photo. Kang Mi can either help him, or go help with DDOS prevention – which will be futile.
By process of elimination, Woo Hyun narrows down the possible locations based on how many of those particular billboards exist in Korea, and where they are in relation to highways and buildings. Meanwhile, the police bureau scramble to send the message to all institutions about the attack at 9AM. Even Hyun Min is notified of the attack, but he doesn’t seem particularly worried.
Hyuk Joo returns to the cyber team’s office, but doesn’t see Woo Hyun around. Alone, he goes into Woo Hyun’s office and looks around the desk. Something about the desk is strangely familiar – the way that the post-its are lined up on the calendar…the way that books are bookmarked by business cards…the way that the business cards are stacked right-side up and then upside down…
He logs in to Woo Hyun’s computer with the password, “SINCE1999.” Access granted.
OH CRAP! He’s just figured out that Woo Hyun is Ki Young! (Or wait, should I say that Ki Young is Woo Hyun?)
8:58. Woo Hyun locates the building Dae Young was at, and breaks into their offices. It’s been completely vacated, save for the furniture. He goes through the drawers and the trash, hoping to find some clue on their activities and current whereabouts.
8:59. The entire bureau waits anxiously as they watch the clock tick down the final seconds to 9:00AM. When the clock strikes 9, they glance at the Internet map of Korea. Everything seems to be in the clear. There’s no DDOS attack! Calls start coming in; the Blue House and the broadcasting companies report that everything is normal. People start wondering if the whole attack was a bluff, which can be a good thing, but also a bad thing.
But then, Young Suk gets a call. One of the banks got attacked. A team hurries out to help the bank resolve its problem when another call comes in – one more bank was just hit! And that’s when all the problems start coming in. Financial institutions are the victims this time from the DDOS attack, and the cyber team desperately tries to disconnect each zombie computer’s IP address in the hopes of stopping the DDOS attack.
Eung Jin is informed that Woo Hyun found the location of Dae Young’s hideout, but that they’re no longer to be found. Hyuk Joo snatches the hideout’s address away from Eung Jin’s grasp. Guess who’s going to the hideout to join Woo Hyun?!
Kang Mi is actually helping Woo Hyun with tracking down Dae Young’s activities. Woo Hyun’s found an address written in Chinese in the trash, and forwards it to her, thinking it might be another hiding place. Instead, the address brings her to Noh Shin Il’s home. Mrs. Noh thinks that Kang Mi is there to ask questions about the recent robbery at their place, even though she doesn’t know why a cyber crime investigator would get involved. All that was stolen were some of her jewelry.
Back at Dae Young’s office, Woo Hyun sees the whiteboard; it’s been erased, but the marker streaks are still visible by the sunlight. With a marker, he carefully traces the streaks. The date is June 12, but the time is actually 9:30AM. Looks like Dae Young had a decoy plan at 9:00, and the real plan set for 9:30AM…
He calls up Kang Mi, who’s still at Noh’s home. Dae Young was only using the DDOS attack as a diversion to keep the police busy. Their plan was to release Stuxnet – a virus that infects systems controlling and monitoring specific industrial processes. These processes can include water treatment, gas pipelines, electricity transmissions, etc. – any public and industrial works that all have a part in helping a country run smoothly. Woo Hyun even refers to an incident in Iran where the Stuxnet virus damaged the country’s nuclear program. The only way for this virus to spread is if they have access to the highest level of security for whatever their target is.
Meanwhile, Mr. Noh Shin Il heads off to work, going through intense security and giving up his cellphone before entering his workplace. And, of all places, he works at Daehan Electric Power Corporation.
Kang Mi notices a photo in the Noh’s living room. Mrs. Noh tells her that her husband works for the security team at Daehan Electric Power Corp. Oh great – so that’s why Vans Man was there. He broke in to their home, used Mr. Noh’s USB to load in the Stuxnet virus, and then staged a robbery.
Woo Hyun dashes off to the parking lot. If he’s hoping to catch Mr. Noh before it’s too late, he’s kinda too late. Mr. Noh inserts his USB drive into his work computer. In an instant, that virus infects the servers at Daehan Electric Power Corp. And just before Woo Hyun can enter his car, Hyuk Joo pulls him back! And slaps a handcuff on Woo Hyun’s wrist!
Hyuk Joo: “I’m taking you in as suspect in the Shin Hyo Jung case, Kim Woo Hyun. Or should I call you Park Ki Young?”
Hyuk Joo looks so freaking excited over this victory, while Woo Hyun’s eyes bug out. And I’m sitting here thinking what an idiot Hyuk Joo is. Korea could be decimated, and all you care about is Shin Hyo Jung’s killer?! Even Woo Hyun says as much, but Hyuk Joo just thinks those are all excuses for him to not get arrested right now.
But it’s not an excuse. Mr. Noh watches as the servers in his company start crashing, and the Stuxnet virus rapidly spreading. Pull out the USB!!! In the parking lot, the lights slowly go off. Seoul is plunged into darkness as the power plant loses its ability to control the electricity distribution throughout Korea. Traffic lights stop working, causing chaos on the streets. Surgeons lose their power mid-surgery. People are stranded in train stations and elevators. Yeah – this blackout is going to cause some serious problems…
So Detective Kwon Hyuk Joo – you still want to talk about the Shin Hyo Jung case?
I hate, hate, HATE Hyuk Joo. Which means, props to the writer for making him so hateful! He’s got the smarmiest expressions in all of mankind, but what makes him more frustrating is his controlling attitude. Now that he’s got the power, he isn’t afraid to use it against Woo Hyun. It’s annoying that he doesn’t trust Woo Hyun (since I’m naturally on our hero’s side), but I can see why he doesn’t like the fellow; his hatred for Woo Hyun has been built upon from the start of the series, so his motives are solid. Nevertheless, his bias against Woo Hyun is also giving him tunnel vision. He can’t see the bigger issue that they are facing because he’s so busy trying to pin down Woo Hyun. Dude – your job as the team leader of the Cyber Safety Department is to stop cyber crimes! Catch Woo Hyun on your free time, ‘kay?
I’m hoping that after this case, Hyuk Joo will trust Woo Hyun a little more when Woo Hyun says something bad will happen. I can understand why he doesn’t yet, but it was maddening for me to watch Hyuk Joo care more about the Shin Hyo Jung case and catching Hades than actually solving this national crisis.
As for Uhm Ki Joon, he was sorely underused in this episode, but I’ll be patient. As more pieces fall into place with each case, Woo Hyun will be even closer to discovering all the nasty skeletons Hyun Min has in his closet. Then Hyun Min would show up more in each episode, rather than just be the overseeing Evil Eye. I find him quite the villain: he’s got the benign face with a schoolboy haircut, and yet behind all that is a calculating mind with a cold heart, with a penchant for “The Phantom of the Opera” theme. (I do kinda wish he could get a new theme song…)
There are a lot of details in this drama that must have required a lot of research, and that makes me more impressed with the writer. Not only are there so many technical cyber hacking terms that I myself am learning as I watch, but she even makes references to the Iran incident where their nuclear facility really was hit with a Stuxnet virus. It helps ground the drama in the real world, and remind us that cyber hacking is a real threat. As a drama premise it sounds and feels fantastical – but it’s really not. And then there are also the minor details she plants early on so that its fruits will reveal itself later, such as Ki Young’s habits that then help Hyuk Joo clue in to Woo Hyun’s secret. The devil is in the details, but it sure is paying off.