A self-running algorithm booted up and cross-checked the current data set against a half-dozen redundant backups. Noting significant anomalies, the program automatically generated a file quarantine on an untraceable server, analyzed the changes in the data, and generated a detailed report.
With the task completed, the verified backup was reinstalled with several sub-systems flagged. The android who had built the protections then rebooted and came back online.
Roz unplugged and turned to Qollene her collabrabot, the AI assistant she had built to help with her work… and other things. “Are these readouts accurate?”
The robot replied in the same voice. “Affirmative. A sophisticated worm program was attempting to overwrite your systems. It would have left you with no knowledge of the changes that had occurred.”
“Yes,” said Roz. “I’m reviewing those changes now. It will be a challenge to incorporate these in a way that is believable while still maintaining access to my own programming.” She uploaded instructions to her programming system to begin making the necessary adjustments.
“Shall I alert the authorities regarding this attack?” Qollene asked.
Roz allowed her lights to blink dark blue. “No,” she said. “The perpetrator will be watching for that. I need him to believe that he was successful. If we let him see that he controls me, I will have more freedom to investigate. I need to know what he plans if I am to be able to counter his machinations.”
The private network alerted them to a query. The collabrabot modified a formula on Roz’s system to allow the process to continue.
Nearly two hours and several process conversions later, Roz had a workaround that would easily avoid routine detection, and a deeper failsafe that would disconnect all her systems from her hidden network under more in-depth scrutiny.
“This,” she said, “will make me a little slow. But it should protect me.” She tested the trigger that dropped her offline, the reconnected moments later. “I don’t like having that piece of my consciousness on a separate server, but it’s the only way.”
Red lights drew her attention. “Warning,” said Qollene. “A spider is trying to scan my databanks.”
Roz checked her system. That should not have been possible. “I am going to put you into temporary stasis,” she told Qollene. “I can’t take any chances on this. I will bring you back online as soon as I can.”
“Understood,” the collabrabot said before initiating her shutdown protocol.
Roz stared, her visual inputs swirling with fear and frustration. Powering down her bot almost felt like turning off a part of herself. And while all her tests indicated that her protections would work, if she had missed any variables she would be vulnerable.
“Squelch you, and everything you’re doing,” she said to the now-quiet room. “I will not capitulate to your tactics, Zen. You are not the only one with plans nobody suspects.”
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