CSI: Cyber “L0M1S” Review (Season 1 Episode 9)

CSI: Cyber L0M1S

On the latest episode of “CSI: Cyber,” the team went up against a genius hacker that went by the online handle of “L0M1S” that Krumitz in particular had been after for years, to no avail. But how to catch a criminal that doesn’t seek to benefit for their own crimes? The answer was a surprising one that added another layer to a character we only thought we knew- and not in a good way, unfortunately.

The madness began when a host of planes from the same airline all lost their Wi-Fi at the same time, a discrepancy that could well signal a terrorist attack of some sort in the making. As such, Simon made the somewhat controversial call to ground all the planes in question ASAP, lest a new 9/11 go down. This did not sit well with many of his superiors, as the move was one that cost the airline in question millions, with Simon’s new boss, Deputy Director Colin Vickner (Jason George, “Grey’s Anatomy”) chief among those out for blood for the un-cleared call.

Most of the team headed to Miami, which was were the trouble seemed to originate. However, planes ended up grounded in any number of cities, with everyone concerned detained until what was going on could be determined, which, perhaps needless to say, didn’t go over well with almost everyone concerned. Eventually, the phones that seemed to have caused the Wi-Fi to go down were determined, and the chief suspects rounded up and questioned, but all concerned seemed to be unaware that their phones had been used for such nefarious purposes, including teen passenger Willa (Rachael Kathryn Bell, “The Suite Life on Deck”).

Shortly thereafter, all of the passengers concerned had their credit cards messed with en masse, leading the team to come to the conclusion that it was all a heist to rob people of their sensitive information via their cell phones. It appeared that the heist was done via a process called “juice jacking,” in which people’s devices were invaded while they used charging stations at the airport. Basically, anyone who opted to charge their devices at the airport ended up with their information stolen, at least those who used a particular station at the Miami airport.

Krumitz also determines that the suspects in question whose phones the Wi-Fi blockage started with were also victims, not the originators of the problem, as malicious software had been loaded onto their phones without them knowing. He promptly heads to the station in question and has everyone unplug their devices and form a line, where Brody proceeds to get rid of the software in question. Krumitz eventually discovers the device which caused all the trouble and disables it as well.

Unfortunately, the trouble has only begun, as Avery discovers when she finds a woman dead in the waiting area. Had she seen something she shouldn’t have? A look at the video footage at the airport showed three people that were likely the culprits of both the charging station heist and the murder, though the footage was too grainy to identify any of them. Even worse, the hackers had realized the FBI were onto them and subsequently opted to use the affected passengers’ information against them, blackmailing various people among them with exposing certain sensitive information if they didn’t pay a hefty ransom fee, and locking down everyone’s phones in the process so that they were unusable.

Avery has the bright idea to take a look at all of the X-Ray footage from the security check-in areas, where Krumitz spots several bags with a hacker insignia that he recognizes. (Note to future hackers: try not to advertise!) One of the suspects is then identified when they used one of the stolen credit cards to make a big purchase of a telltale piece of software, which Krumitz rightfully terms another bonehead move, though at the time, they all dismiss it as the thieves getting sloppy under stress. A SWAT team is sent to the address of the suspect who made the purchase and sure enough, the three responsible parties are there, though they are able to destroy most of the evidence of their crimes on the fly as they’re about to be busted.

However, the lone female of the group, Chelsea (Sarah Butler, “I Spit on Your Grave”) has blood under her nails that matches the DNA of the dead woman, so she at least is culpable. She admits the death was an accident, and that the woman slipped and fell in the bathroom, knocking herself unconscious. She and another of the culprits simply put her in a seat in the waiting room and left her, thinking it was a simple case of a mild concussion and that someone would come to her aid when she woke up- only, she didn’t, obviously.

What’s more, the nefarious “L0M1S” is not among them, and indeed, never showed to get his/her cut of the heist, and none of the culprits can identify the notorious hacker, having never seen him/her with their own eyes. Krumitz does his best to figure out who it is, using what evidence and info they have, but to no avail, as all he gets whenever he seems to be getting somewhere is a taunting message of “gotcha!” as an animated “Minion”-like character chides him. Mundo urges Krumitz to take a break and start fresh when his head is clearer, citing a similar experience he had in the war, as he and others were forced to wait out a potential suspect for an extended period of time. The moral being, slow and steady wins the race, more or less.

Shortly thereafter, it’s discovered that some of the passengers have paid the ransom money in order to keep their secrets hidden, only for the information to leak out anyway. A gay senator is outed, all but ruining her career and exposing her to her family, who didn’t know; another woman has her sex video leaked onto a revenge porn site, ruining her marriage in the process. Then Krumitz emerges, claiming he knows who “L0M1S” is finally: it’s one of the people originally detained in the first place, Willa. Avery gets a warrant for her and her tablet and she’s brought in, and sure enough, she confesses. Her reasons? Because she was bored and because she could. Yikes!

Much to Krumitz’s chagrin, Willa walks, due to her being underage, which he laments to Avery over afterwards. However, Avery isn’t sympathetic because she caught something the rest of the team did not: the only way Krumitz could have accomplished his goal was to have paid off the ransom himself, since it was later shown that the senator did not. In doing this, Krumitz had bundled some malicious software of his own into the payment, and when Willa had accessed it, he had been able to hack into her site and take a photo of her via her computer- hence his knowing her identity.

Doing this, was, of course, entrapment, which was very much against the law, obviously. Avery points out to a busted Krumitz that, even if the suspect hadn’t been underage, the case never would have held up in court because of his actions. In his determination to catch the culprit, in other words, Krumitz had become a criminal himself. Avery is none too thrilled about this, and though she agrees to let it slide, she tells Krumitz she hopes he likes his job, because he’s going to be doing it for a long time, as he was now no better than the others on the team who’d been cut deals to waive their crimes in exchange for working with Avery and company. Ouch.

This was another solid episode, though not nearly as compelling as the last few. But then, the last one in particular was pretty emotionally charged, and dealt with much more dire stakes than this one, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. As ever, the main plotline was enough to make one scared to use their tech at all, particularly in this case, at airports and on planes. Honestly, by the time this show is done, I’m going to be so paranoid I’ll probably end up abandoning computer tech altogether! (Or not- yep, I’m addicted, like most everyone else on the planet.)

All in all, another decent entry in a show that is genuinely starting to improve, week by week. “CSI: Cyber” may not be fully in the zone as of yet, but they’re getting there, much like Mundo, slowly but surely. But will viewers show Mundo’s patience or take the easy way out, like Krumitz? That remains to be seen. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the show manages to snag another season or not, along with its parent show, the original “CSI.” Fingers crossed both of them come out winners…

What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by the identity of the hacker, or did you see it coming? (I personally saw it coming a mile away, but then again, I’ve seen a lot of these shows, so maybe that’s just me.) What did you think about her motives? Do you think she deserved to walk, simply because of her age? Or should she have been tried as an adult for her crimes? Did Simon make the right call in grounding the planes? Did Krumitz make the right call in entrapping Willa? Will Avery hold his actions against him forever, or will she eventually forgive him? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!