White Rabbit (whte_rbt.obj) was a command code intended to be used to access a backdoor into InGen‘s Jurassic Park computer system, made to appear as an .obj file. It was created by said system’s chief programmer, Dennis T. Nedry, for the purpose of bypassing authentication checkpoints to turn off the Park’s security systems while leaving little to no trace of his actions. Because only Nedry was aware of the code’s existence, its functions may not be entirely known to us.
White Rabbit is sometimes referred to as a “deep-coded virus.” However, it is unknown if White Rabbit was capable of propagating itself onto other computer systems (such as, for example, the Site B system, which was not a part of the Jurassic Park system). This means that, depending on whether it could do so, it may not technically have been a virus.
Its name is taken from the White Rabbit character in the novel Alice in Wonderland, who is responsible for leading the protagonist into the titular fantasy world. The code would permit Nedry to enter the computer system (Wonderland, in this analogy) through a secret backdoor (the “rabbit hole”). In the Jurassic Park network, the systems administration area referred to itself as “Nedryland.”
The primary function of whte_rbt.obj was to shut down security systems, but specifics are not known exactly. This is because Nedry turned off keystroke logging in the Jurassic Park computer system before he activated it, making himself as a user essentially invisible to the computer’s tracking protocols. This would allow Nedry to shut down any Jurassic Park security technologies that were in any way linked to the computer system, which included virtually all of them. He mainly focused on the electrified fencing, security cameras, telephones, and electronic door locks. Other non-security programs, such as the Jurassic Park tour program, were also deactivated; this may have been a side effect or a means to make the shutdowns appear random rather than targeted toward security. All the affected programs were deactivated on a timer, meaning that the shutdown would occur at a predetermined time after Nedry initiated the program. This allowed him to reach a given security checkpoint right as it was deactivated, maximizing the time he had available.
During this act of sabotage, the liquid nitrogen delivery system to the Visitors’ Centre cold storage area was damaged as well. As Nedry did not have time to do this manually while removing preserved embryos from the laboratory, it is sometimes assumed that White Rabbit was somehow related to the pipes being severed. There are currently no solid hypotheses linking the two, and the relation between them is mostly based on the timing of the damage.
Three failed attempts to access parts of the Jurassic Park system would lock out the user with an infinite loop of text reading “YOU DIDN’T SAY THE MAGIC WORD!” As only Nedry knew the proper password, this would prevent other InGen programmers and engineers from turning on systems he had deactivated. This infinite loop would be accompanied by a .gif of Dennis Nedry admonishing the user. These effects may not have been a part of the backdoor itself, but rather additional security methods implemented by Nedry; were they found by his coworkers, they could be easily explained as anti-hacking measures intended to protect the Jurassic Park computer network from unauthorized use. In fact, it may have started this way, and only later turned into a means to keep White Rabbit’s effects active as long as Nedry needed.
Dennis T. Nedry was the chief programmer at Jurassic Park, a de-extinction tourist attraction built and operated by InGen on the island of Isla Nublar. By 1993, Nedry had come to believe that he was unappreciated and underpaid and became resentful of his employers. Through unknown means, he came in contact with Lewis Dodgson, an employee at InGen’s corporate rival BioSyn. Nedry conspired with Dodgson to steal trade secrets from InGen in the form of preserved dinosaur embryos. To accomplish this, Nedry coded the whte_rbt.obj command, planning out his heist.
Nedry executed whte_rbt.obj on June 11, 1993. This date was chosen because the Park would be running on a skeleton crew for the weekend, and an endorsement tour would be occupying most of his employers’ attention. The non-essential staff would be traveling to the mainland by boat from the East Dock at 7pm, and among them would be Dodgson’s two agents, Miles Chadwick and Nima Cruz; Nedry would deliver the stolen goods to them. Once this was done successfully, he would return to the control room, restoring the security systems and hopefully avoiding suspicion. His coworkers were led to believe that the computers were compiling and that this might cause some systems to turn off.
Inclement weather forced the ship to leave dock earlier than expected, and Nedry therefore executed the command earlier than he had planned. He believed he had 18 minutes to get the embryos, reach the dock, and return to “fix” the “problem” before his coworkers became suspicious. With the program executed and the intended security systems shut down, he was able to obtain the embryos and make for the East Dock. He never reached his destination; after crashing his jeep in the storm, he was attacked and killed by an escaped animal.
On the morning of June 12, the Park’s chief engineer Ray Arnold discovered White Rabbit and determined that it was the source of the trouble. However, with Nedry’s keystrokes hidden, Arnold could not determine what pathways Nedry had used to shut the systems down, and was furthermore locked out by Nedry’s security measures after several attempts to access the systems. To restore the systems to normal function, Arnold shut down all the power to the Park and turned it on again. The reset eliminated White Rabbit but also tripped the breakers, leaving Arnold with no option but to go to the maintenance shed and manually reset them. Shutting down all of the power deactivated the fences of the Velociraptor pen, which Nedry had specifically kept running; the animals escaped and killed Arnold before he could reach the breakers. One of the tour group members, Dr. Ellie Sattler, finished the job successfully. This restored some technologies, such as the electric fences, to function.
This effectively ended White Rabbit, but some security systems were not yet activated. Full function was restored in the later morning of June 12 by another tour group member, Lex Murphy, who was able to navigate the Park’s user interface and turn on the electronic door locks, phone lines, and other technologies that had still remained off after the reset. This returned the Park’s internal system function to the way it had been before Nedry executed White Rabbit. By this time, however, structural damage and losses to the Park were so extensive that the entire venture had to be abandoned.