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> Crashing/Taking a plane via the Matrix, My players posed the question
LurkerOutThere
post Feb 13 2010, 09:10 PM
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So my players know that a plane load of people out to get them is going to be landing at the local airport the next game day morning. They are now looking for how to deal with this issue and one of the players suggested using hacking to bring the plane down. Now I don't often say no to my players so i'm considering the possibilities.

So from a hacking standpoint I figured the Hacker would need to get very close to the plane itself in flight, a difficult if not impossible task. Alternatively they could use a Sat uplink to go up to the either the IntFAA cloud which would be a hack for the record books, from there they could go directly to the plane and then hack the plane. Alternatively they could go to the company that owns the plane and get in this way. Either way some difficult hacks and likely having to crash the pilot program before they could even think about doing anything fun. Any alerts or deviations would likely bring an immediate response from security hackers including air marshal cyber commandos.

Anyone else have any thoughts?
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Mordinvan
post Feb 13 2010, 09:22 PM
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QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Feb 13 2010, 02:10 PM) *
So my players know that a plane load of people out to get them is going to be landing at the local airport the next game day morning. They are now looking for how to deal with this issue and one of the players suggested using hacking to bring the plane down. Now I don't often say no to my players so i'm considering the possibilities.

So from a hacking standpoint I figured the Hacker would need to get very close to the plane itself in flight, a difficult if not impossible task. Alternatively they could use a Sat uplink to go up to the either the IntFAA cloud which would be a hack for the record books, from there they could go directly to the plane and then hack the plane. Alternatively they could go to the company that owns the plane and get in this way. Either way some difficult hacks and likely having to crash the pilot program before they could even think about doing anything fun. Any alerts or deviations would likely bring an immediate response from security hackers including air marshal cyber commandos.

Anyone else have any thoughts?



They'd need to hack the plane so it still thinks it's on course, and hack the relevent tracking stations so they think that too. I have no idea what their time frame for this little project is, but should be doable. The problem comes from, how big is the plane. If if a small single engine, they could likely get away with it. If its a large passenger liner then expect all hell to break lose if the plane goes down, cause every branch of the related regulatory agencies is going to screaming bloody murder to figure out what happened. To be honest, you could also crash the plane with a mage with a telescope, or a possession spirit aswell.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 14 2010, 01:59 AM
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How I would do it:

First, read up in Neuromancer on the raid on the Sense/Net building. Misdirection is key.

- Hack something in the plane to make it eject something (needn't be important), and cause some panic in the cockpit (needn't be extreme, but if it is, better. As long as outsiders can sense there's something wrong.)

- Hack an air defense listening post, and cause them to believe the plane is actually a disguised, hijacked Aztechnology bomber carrying toxic blood magic weaponized nanotech of DOOM, and needs to be shot down. ("Of course Aztechnology is denying everything. They always deny everything.")
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2010, 05:00 AM
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step van, modded with AA missiles (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

beyond that, it could be as simple as mordinvan suggests. Hack the system and mod inputs so that the pilot (live or electronic) things its higher then it really is. Still, thats most effective if its a night flight as the live pilot is then blind about visual clues.

heck, a real life airliner crashed in south america thanks to a blocked intake for the altimeter (it uses air pressure to measure height), resulting in the systems thinking they where alternately crazy low or crazy high. And with it being a night flight, the visual clues where basically gone.

hmm, maybe a combo of a instrument hack, and a air spirit to lay down a cloud bank and/or heavy fog to take out the visual element?
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hobgoblin
post Feb 14 2010, 05:02 AM
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QUOTE (Ascalaphus @ Feb 14 2010, 02:59 AM) *
- Hack an air defense listening post, and cause them to believe the plane is actually a disguised, hijacked Aztechnology bomber carrying toxic blood magic weaponized nanotech of DOOM, and needs to be shot down. ("Of course Aztechnology is denying everything. They always deny everything.")

iran, 1980s, bug in US air defense radar results in 747 being mistaken for iranian fighter jet (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)

i guess i have watched one to many episodes of national geographics air crash investigations.
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 14 2010, 09:02 AM
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There are a lot of those who make the argument that it wasn't a bug
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Ghremdal
post Feb 14 2010, 09:18 AM
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If the plane has a pilot, most likely the pilot is jumped into the plane. As I understand the rules, taking control of a plane then is impossible.
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Ophis
post Feb 14 2010, 10:59 AM
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QUOTE (Ghremdal @ Feb 14 2010, 09:18 AM) *
If the plane has a pilot, most likely the pilot is jumped into the plane. As I understand the rules, taking control of a plane then is impossible.


Not true, you just need to "remove" the pilot.
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Makki
post Feb 14 2010, 11:02 AM
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Air Spirit's accident power?
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Orcus Blackweath...
post Feb 14 2010, 05:08 PM
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I have to go with AA missiles here myself. While I grant that a great Hack might work, we are talking major leagues here. A civilian plane has to come in low to land, if you can take out security, and get close with heavy weapons, it should be lightly armored. However, since the OP asked about hacking it, here is my take.

1) Find one of the ways in. The plane probably has a connection to someone, whether that connection allows control over the plane may be seen.
2) Hack into the plane. The plane is very valuable, I assume that it will have the best firewall money can buy, as well as a security spider.
3) Discover links to any important functions that can be crashed. Several good ideas were put forth, such as making the plane think it is higher, or shutting off the engines, etc... The GM needs to decide whether this is really possible. My take would be that the systems used to fly and land the plane are not connected to the matrix at all. If they are connected it will be slaved to a very tough node.
4) Crash the plane. IF it is decided that a rigger is flying for example, and you can steal his connection and crash the plane, or confuse him in some way, or any other idea for accomplishing the same task, you now need to over come all of the failsafes. I assume that if the OS crashes, that the pilot can manually land the plane, so whatever is done must disable the pilot, or must not act until the last instant to make the last minute salvation impossible.

So unless the hackers are world class, they are not likely to succeed. Beating local security to get you close enough to pump autocannon rounds or a hellfire should be much easier.
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 14 2010, 05:25 PM
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Ok first off thank you all for your responses a few thoughts on the matter here are my responses:

The plane itself is a privately chartered gulfstream equivalent. No live pilot will be present unless some kind of warning sign is raised. IF some sort of alarm is raised a telepresence rigger can drop in via satlink. The military force on board has both a hacker and rigger amonst their contingent so if they suspect trouble they will hack the plane and attempt to engage any intruders in cybercombat (although they themselves won't have the home field advantage). Also if the company becomes aware of an attempted hijacking or take down they will attempt to retake it with their own cyber assets and notify international/federal authorities and request they do the same.

Personally the idea of just casually hacking an air defense installation cracks me up. While i like to allow my players as much leeway as they can grab I would classify that as the sort of hack that even fastjack wouldn't try without a bit of planning and leg work, but YMMV.

Feel free to keep the suggestions coming, the players are based out of LA and their rep have been in the doghouse lately after some botched missions and employer betrayals so I may intimate to them that thye need to do something crazy to get it on the mend, something like a mid air plane hijacking.

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Falconer
post Feb 14 2010, 05:44 PM
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Mind you, a lot of this assumes a remote pilot rigger...

If the pilot is local and jumped in much harder. Comms methods such as satellite uplink limit your response severely for cyber combat.

Also, chances are very high that there's a manual control override.


Likely scenerio... you somehow sneak into the node... you get the rigger w/ blackice... he's not in hotsim... so you knock him out... an hour later he rewakes and assumes manual control. Pilot getting knocked out probably sends off all sorts of security alerts and the node gets flooded w/ virtual security. (forget just one spider, try the cyberspace equiv of full-fledged HTR team).

1. subvert the node... change it's security logins w/o the system noticing...
2. take out the pilot/autopilot
3. if manual control override, you need physical presence on plane... or you probably only have an hour (for really high sec systems... rigger may be in a valkyrie module meaning it offlines and administers first aid even faster).
4. be ready for the counter-hacker response... maybe even something subtle such as tracking your physical location and trail while holding you in cyber.


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Manunancy
post Feb 14 2010, 05:49 PM
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It seems very odd to me that there's nobody able to pilot the plane onboard - even a gulfstream equivalent is a costly piece of work. Add the strike team onboard and it gets a really expensive asset. I would also think that a corporate strike team makes prime target for mischief, and security will definitively be a concern. Flying the plane on it's autopilot isn't much of a concern when flying straight (most airliners today fly on autopilot for mos of the flight), but with a rigger onboard, I'd have him online for the takeoff and the landing. Or if nto a full fledged pilot someone with a decent skillwire and piloting software. Just as an insurance policy, since no matter how far piloting software has improved, a metahuman is still far better at assessing the unexpected and reacting propely.

The only reason to fly the thin on autopilot from before takeoff to after landing would be to keep the passengers from either knowing where they are or to prevent them from hijacking their own plane. Obviously neither applies there.

The most likely option would be to hack the air control to guide them into something inconvenient, like another plane, a hill or a tall building. Which still leaves the problem of onboard sensors and things like anticollision alarms, which are probably hardwired to prevent bugs and hacking.
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AndyZ
post Feb 15 2010, 11:06 PM
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I wonder if you could just Spoof the command that the plane is 21,000 feet (or the equivalent in meters) too high and needs to drop to compensate.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 16 2010, 12:54 AM
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1) Spoof some signals to the plane that it's been picked up by hostile enemy radar. The plane will probably automatically begin acting as if it's threatened.

2) Send misinformation to local AA installations, which makes them conclude the plane is actually a disguised enemy (which is why it's acting kinda odd)
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DireRadiant
post Feb 16 2010, 12:56 AM
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Player "I want to hack the plane in flight."

1. GM decides if it is even possible, and if the PC even knows if it is possible.
2. Once GM decides it is possible, the GM sets threshold or difficulty and types of tests.
(Depending on how you want to do it, it could be a simple test, and extended tests, an opposed test, or various combinations as you desire to make your game fun for your group. This depends entirely on how much detail they want to put in. Some players like great detail and descriptions, some just want to roll the dice. Go with it.)
3. Perform the tests and determine the results.
4. Describe what happens. If the GM lacks some desire to describe it, let the player describe it! It's the future, if the mechanical tests were successful, as long as it's a passable description, whatever the player describes it as is perfectly fine. It works for failures too, the players can be incredibly creative for solutions and problems if they are engaged as part of the process of describing the game.

note that steps 3 and 4 can be repeated as needed for multi step tests.
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Caadium
post Feb 16 2010, 01:25 AM
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Slightly off-topic, but worth mentioning I think: These runners have enemies that have considerable resources. How will these enemies respond if the runners hit assets as large as a Prime team, their equipment, AND the private-jet they flew in on? If nothing else, even if the runners pulled the hack AND covered their tracks, those responsible for sending the team would probably have the leverage, and I'd even guess some evidence, to link the PCs to the crash. This evidence means they can then turn transportation authorities onto the hunt, making the PCs far more hunted than before.

If you've pissed people off, deal with it in a way that isn't going to create other enemies if possible. If you've got smart PCs (the characters themselves, not the players), this is something for them to think about.
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Jaid
post Feb 16 2010, 01:27 AM
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QUOTE (Falconer @ Feb 14 2010, 12:44 PM) *
Likely scenerio... you somehow sneak into the node... you get the rigger w/ blackice... he's not in hotsim... so you knock him out... an hour later he rewakes and assumes manual control. Pilot getting knocked out probably sends off all sorts of security alerts and the node gets flooded w/ virtual security. (forget just one spider, try the cyberspace equiv of full-fledged HTR team).


black IC can kill you even in coldsim. notice that blackout will never overflow, but no such limitation is placed on black hammer. so while it will only do stun damage, once you're beyond the stun track it can overflow into physical, and eventually kill the pilot, even if he is only in coldsim.

anyways, probably the easiest way i can think of is to just get yourself a nice cheap flying drone. for example, an ares heimdall. you could go for the kinetic kill solution (collisions in SR4 cause massive amounts of damage) which will probably work better than the warheads if you don't ignore the scatter rules (ie if you have the warhead ram, and then detonate the weapon...)

heck, if i wanted to be *really* mean, i'd give it "special equipment" of the vehicle electric shock strip that hits everyone inside for stun damage (arsenal page 106, zapper strip). add gecko tips if you want to be even more mean. however, that adds to cost a fair amount.
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 16 2010, 07:33 AM
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I'm going from the following framework which may clear up a few questions/concerns.

My opinion is that causing a plane to crash through purely hacking/ewarefare is difficult but not completely impossible at least for smaller planes. For larger commercial airliners it would be just pretty much impossible as there would be too much invested and too many security risks. A commercial airliner would likely have one (or two) rigger pilots and it's control system would only become matrix connected int he event of the pilots activating distress or flat line. However this is a smaller chartered jet the equivalent of a charter bus of the sky. As such it is assumed that the company has 40-50 of these up in the air at a time overseen by a team of riggers. Even then the hack requires either close proximity to the planes network (meaning a stealth capable airfcraft and a lot of skill with it) or hacking through a couple of core hosts that would give Norad's home node a pretty good run for it's money. Even then crashing the plane would be difficult as you'll be fighting the safety systems all the way down, taking control and stealing it is much easier by comparison but still very very difficult.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 16 2010, 11:11 AM
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To the "is this possible" question: yes, it's technology, it can always be broken somehow.

Determine how the plane works, how it's protected. Then, let the hacker figure out how he wants to break it. That's what being a hacker is all about.

It may happen that the player finds a way that bypasses the protections you came up with, but seems too obvious to really exist. In that case, tell the player so. You rule that it's protected against that anyway, but make a note to give the player karma for being really clever with his character.
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 17 2010, 02:26 AM
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Well thanks for the inputs all, it's fodder for thought. I'll know after this thursday's session. This will be a high paying run with high danger potential, almost the creshendo of the current arc, and the players will have the option to decline it entirely although there may be issues with that as well.

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Mordinvan
post Feb 17 2010, 10:14 AM
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QUOTE (LurkerOutThere @ Feb 16 2010, 07:26 PM) *
Well thanks for the inputs all, it's fodder for thought. I'll know after this thursday's session. This will be a high paying run with high danger potential, almost the creshendo of the current arc, and the players will have the option to decline it entirely although there may be issues with that as well.

Is the plane already in the air?

If not and the players are creative enough, they could get a rat biodrone, and introduce nano dissemblers onto the plane to take out the fuel and hydrolic lines in one of the wings, making the plane virtually uncontrollable.
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cndblank
post Feb 18 2010, 05:17 PM
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I always figured just like mirror canopy/windshield glass so that a mage can not target the pilot is standard, the rigger connection/pilot controls would be hardwired directly in to the hardware of the controls the aircraft and they would be unable to be wireless accessed to prevent remote hacking attempts.

All commands would come in from either the pilot's control/rigger connection or the dog brain. Any communication/matrix activity would be routed through the dog brain and the dog brain would be totally unable to over ride the pilot. The dog brain could act to prevent a stall, sound the alarm, but if the pilot continued it wouldn't be able to over ride the pilot. And there would be an emergency hardwired dog brain override to physically turn off the dog brain.

Software and hard ware for the control center/mechanism, the sensor package/wireless connection, and the dog brain would all be separate. The control center/mechanism would have elementary stabilization software likely hard coded in to it. It would also have no wireless connection at all. The dog brain would normally only be receiving wireless sensor data and messages and not be remote controllable unless an emergency Remote Control override was turned on. The emergency override would be a physical switch some one in the cockpit would have to flip and would have a cover on it.

This would be standard on every thing but the lightest personal aircraft.

It would be set up so that it was impossible to hack an aircraft unless some one either turned on the emergency remote control or physically modified the plane's controls. Even if the remote control was active, it would be though the dog brain which is unable to override the pilot. And they can always turn the dog brain off cutting the connection.

Perhaps rewiring the remote control override and setting it to turn on after so long in the air. You would also need to disable both the pilot's controls/rigger connection and the dog brain override. Likely all of this would be designed to be very hard to do with out taking the cockpit a part.

It would likely be easier to either rig a failure in the various parts of the craft like the rudder locking in to place or an engine suddenly going to max speed (which would also likely require overriding the fuel shut off). You could try to override the sensor data being provided but likely there are multiple systems there too (GPS, Beacons, matching radar to landmarks)

And of course, part of the flight check would be to run a full diagnostic on the aircraft to verify that both the control center/mechanism and the dog brain check out.

Not easy at all when they have had 50 years to come up with an aircraft that can not be remotely hacked.
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Brazilian_Shinob...
post Feb 18 2010, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE (Jaid @ Feb 15 2010, 10:27 PM) *
black IC can kill you even in coldsim. notice that blackout will never overflow, but no such limitation is placed on black hammer. so while it will only do stun damage, once you're beyond the stun track it can overflow into physical, and eventually kill the pilot, even if he is only in coldsim.

anyways, probably the easiest way i can think of is to just get yourself a nice cheap flying drone. for example, an ares heimdall. you could go for the kinetic kill solution (collisions in SR4 cause massive amounts of damage) which will probably work better than the warheads if you don't ignore the scatter rules (ie if you have the warhead ram, and then detonate the weapon...)

heck, if i wanted to be *really* mean, i'd give it "special equipment" of the vehicle electric shock strip that hits everyone inside for stun damage (arsenal page 106, zapper strip). add gecko tips if you want to be even more mean. however, that adds to cost a fair amount.


I agree with Jaid, either you get (bio)-drones to go kamikaze on the jets OR just take the airplane down with rockets, or even my favorite, ask a really connected and loyal contact to order a Thor Shot against the airplane and get the hell out of Dodge ASAP because you, your parents, your pet, your contact, your contact's parents and your contact's pet will be hunted down viciously.
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Mindwyrm
post Feb 18 2010, 11:57 PM
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Ok, I didn't see this mentioned anywhere.

I'm not sure about 4th ed. as I am just starting to look it over to consider running it.

But it todays world and tomorrows future, computer security for all types of Air Traffic Control, on large and small basis
are right up there with the Pentagon's. It MIGHT be possible to do in shadowrun, but i don't even want to start considering
the ice a runner would be facing.

It would probably be 100 times easier to break into the Control Tower and do it from there, and breaking into an airport.....
well, i'd move that to the top of the "Easiest Ways to Suicide" list

Don't say no to your runners. Just tell em what they're gonna face. I doubt Lone Star or Knight is gonna answer that call.
My runners would be facing the federal government responce teams.
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