Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

I love Christmas, everyone’s preoccupied or in a good mood.
A focussed gent like me can make a fortune. Times have changed, though: used to be all I had to do was hang around and look a bit down and out. That’s become a good way to get spat at, beaten, or even set fire to. Not that my people don’t do it, but it takes numbers and money to have a trio of thumpers nearby, ready to deal with the weak people who like to bully. I prefer to keep static begging for sizing up a target. That way, any donations are a bonus.
As for what my grandad loved to call his ‘flexible friend’, it’s still good. Crowded cafes, a couple of sly fingermen and we’re pulling a few hundred an hour in contactless alone. Then the pickpockets go in. I’ve got a room full of techies nearby, just waiting for cards and that lovely new phone you haven’t quite got round to securing. Give them a few minutes and suddenly you’re online buying all sorts of stuff. Especially if we landed your card info.
If we can’t get the data from your phone, we’ll ask your car. Turns out that even if you’re cautious with your phone, there’s a good chance you didn’t bother with your motor.
Harald Bluetooth united the tribes of Denmark. His namesake will hook up with any old device. Like the ones we carry to get your info or give our black hat a way into your data life.
Always gives me a warm feeling, knowing that when you get home to report the misfortune, you’ll find the house empty too. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who have all their details on their phone, including their security and access keys.
Complacency will do for you.
Even with paying the teams, I’m making over five grand a week. Easy money from people who work like slaves for companies they hate and leave their money in banks they don’t trust.
Complacency. Always sure things will get better. Always sure it’ll be someone else who gets had. You keep right on thinking that. Makes my life much easier.
So, there you are, sitting in your ruined ‘smart’ home, waiting for someone to get you some sort of connectivity, when it occurs to you that at least no one was hurt. You might have lost your possessions and money, but everyone’s okay. You’ll get by. Just have to get over the upset so you can be strong for the kids when they come in.
Your son goes out with music so loud over his earbuds a building could collapse behind him and he wouldn’t notice. As all I want to do is walk up and taser him, he’s done. How do I know? Because you mentioned it while complaining to your wife using the phone you neglected to secure.
Your daughter won’t spot us coming, either. She’s out with friends and we’ll take them all when they call a rideshare. It’ll call some of my people, because we hacked her cloud via your parental monitoring link.
Kidnap for ransom is a waste of time. Why bother finding rich people when any teen will sell? Traffickers pay good money, and all they want is English speaking and fit. Depending on your kids ability to grasp a situation and adapt, they could live a good life. Good for a cherished pet, anyway. The alternative being they’ll help a lot of other people live their good lives.
Right, enough banter. Back to my little empire.
Merry Christmas.