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> Spoof, trojans and the unplug virus, Disabling smartguns and cyberware
hobgoblin
post Jul 20 2010, 04:56 PM
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i keep hunting for ways to give the hacker something to do in a fight, besides being a spotter for incoming trouble.

and one idea that came to mind is the unplug virus. This especially as it can be delivered by way of a trojan. And said trojan can be virtually anything.

so it got me thinking, the hacker readies a trojan that looks like some kind of update or urgent message or something. Then at time of break in, he sneaks a matrix perception glance at the security node so to have a access id to spoof. Then when trouble shows up, he uses spoof to trigger a download of the trojan readied earlier, that then infects the target with the unplug virus.

the only potential problem with the virus is the typical problem i have with hacking during combat, and thats the time aspect. The virus have a extended test with a time between roll of 1 minute. Thats far to long for a combat scenario. So i was thinking, how about a combat variant, maybe unplug+, that cuts the time between tests down to 1 round.

its just to bad that a agent or cybercombat cant be used to infect a node with unplug, as it would make for a nice weapon against AR using hackers that one cant touch with black attacks. Sure, one can force a node to crash, but that puts the hacker out of the game for only the number of rounds it takes to get the node back up and running, and then he is right back.
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czarcasm
post Jul 20 2010, 09:56 PM
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Have you ever looked at Frank Trollman's house rules for the matrix? He came up with lots of good ways to make hackers more useful -- in and out of combat.

See http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?show...amp;hl=trollman
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Jaid
post Jul 21 2010, 12:30 AM
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frank's rules go a bit beyond most house rules, he rewrote the entire matrix rule set.

if that's an option, and you like his rewrite, no problem. if that isn't an option, or you don't like the rewrite, then have you considered having the trojan download *before* the fight and remain dormant until it receives a signal from you? if it looks like something that should be downloaded anyways by the security, then you don't have to worry about the guards going all crazy over the download (assuming it even shows up to them, the system might not even bother letting them know it's downloading).

then, when the fight starts, you can just use a simple action to issue a command, and the virus is no longer dormant. of course, that means you still have the rest of the combat to look for things to do, but if you're playing a hacker there's no reason you can't be prepared to at least spray suppressing fire at your enemies. or manage a few recon drones, or work on manipulating the environment (taking over the facility's security cameras, turrets, doors, etc).
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 01:33 AM
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Indeed. Virus insertion is a great slow-hack option. Hack-on-the-Fly is just one (often last-ditch) way to do things. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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hobgoblin
post Jul 21 2010, 03:28 AM
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QUOTE (czarcasm @ Jul 20 2010, 11:56 PM) *
Have you ever looked at Frank Trollman's house rules for the matrix? He came up with lots of good ways to make hackers more useful -- in and out of combat.

See http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?show...amp;hl=trollman

thanks but no thanks.
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BobChuck
post Jul 21 2010, 12:45 PM
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Hacker is like Face; they are very useful, but generally speaking, there is almost nothing that Hacker/Face skills can contribute. Both archetypes have actions that are either isolated (VR) or operate on minute intervals, so there's not a whole lot either can do within their primary focus.

Of course, building a character with several secondary focuses is easy and generally encouraged by the rules, and there are several low-cost options. Has the Hacker looked into the First Aid skill? Or picking up flash-paks, smoke grenades, etc and throwing them? Or basic rigging with a doberman or roto-drone?

Besides, do you really want to play a game where the building you are sneaking into can detect your cyberware and turn it off within a few seconds? It goes both ways.
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 02:35 PM
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Uh, what? In 2070, there's almost nothing the Hacker *can't* do. From your explanation, I guess you meant 'in combat'?
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Belvidere
post Jul 21 2010, 02:39 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 21 2010, 10:35 AM) *
Uh, what? In 2070, there's almost nothing the Hacker *can't* do. From your explanation, I guess you meant 'in combat'?


Agreed. Skillwires are a hacker's best friend, and his commlink is his wife. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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czarcasm
post Jul 21 2010, 02:45 PM
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Hobgoblin: Another possibility would be to have security employe drones much more often that they currently do in your campaign. Taking care of the drones would be the hacker's schtick.
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 02:49 PM
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Oh, SNAP, the commlink is hooking up with the skillwires! That bitch! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/frown.gif)
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Johnny B. Good
post Jul 21 2010, 03:10 PM
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QUOTE (Belvidere @ Jul 21 2010, 02:39 PM) *
Agreed. Skillwires are a hacker's best friend, and his commlink is his wife. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)


Honestly, I think skillsofts are waaaaay too expensive to be worth it.
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 03:29 PM
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Pirate them, duh. You're a hacker.
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Karoline
post Jul 21 2010, 03:40 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 21 2010, 11:29 AM) *
Pirate them, duh. You're a hacker.


Yeah, but with degradation they are expensive to maintain.
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Chance359
post Jul 21 2010, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE
Hack-on-the-Fly is just one (often last-ditch) way to do things.


So wait you mean to tell me I've been doing this wrong the whole time?
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 03:47 PM
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That's true: it's not like they're a null-cost. But, not prohibitive, depending on your group's karma-to-nuyen award ratio.

No, Hack-on-the-Fly is a perfectly good option. I just meant that it's not the only option. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) Burglars case the joint before the heist, right? You *could* just smash-n-grab, but you could also bribe the guard, sleep with the receptionist, pre-plant gear, etc.
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Udoshi
post Jul 21 2010, 04:25 PM
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QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jul 20 2010, 09:56 AM) *
i keep hunting for ways to give the hacker something to do in a fight, besides being a spotter for incoming trouble.
the only potential problem with the virus is the typical problem i have with hacking during combat, and thats the time aspect. The virus have a extended test with a time between roll of 1 minute. Thats far to long for a combat scenario. So i was thinking, how about a combat variant, maybe unplug+, that cuts the time between tests down to 1 round.



What are you guys smoking? I think you are thinking of the Corrupt program, which does indeed take a minute to delete stuff(but gets the backups)

Hackers can shove down peoples throats in combat. Its an entirely valid tactic for an AR-hacker. See Viral Warfare on unwired 121, and keep in mind that Viruses and Trojans are different types of programs.

Viruses are Hacking+Edit(virus ratingx2, 1 pass) test to force-feed someone your code.
Worms are special agents with the Replicate autosoft
Trojans can be installed manually with a Hacking+Edit(10, 1 pass) test if you already have access to a node. (page 123)
They're all Malware, but they have different rules for using each type.

So, uh. Yeah. Rules as written don't need any changing.
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hobgoblin
post Jul 21 2010, 04:35 PM
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no, i am talking about the unplug virus, page 122 of unwired.

the corrupt program is not able to take down the whole os of a device, but the unplug virus can.

and the infection test your referring to is to infect a program inside a node the hacker have already penetrated via some kind of hack. and even after infection there is still a need to run the program that got infected before the virus starts to do anything. and if you have hacked in anyways, it will be quicker to use a attack program to force a system crash (not that something like a smartgun will stay crashed for long as its low stats mean a quick reboot). What i am looking for is a fire and forget way of trying to take down the equipment of a enemy, basically the hacker equivalent of firing a pistol, or maybe even a stun/power-ball kind of mass gadget attack.

this without having to spend several passes hacking each individual target while the sammie or mage is busy laying down hurt.

but at the same time i dont want to deploy the nuclear option of replacing the whole rule set, unlike some former freelancer did...
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 05:51 PM
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Well, I would think a matrix powerball would be pretty unbalancing. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Belvidere
post Jul 21 2010, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 21 2010, 11:29 AM) *
Pirate them, duh. You're a hacker.


Really, is there anything stopping you from pirating another more updated copy of the program once the one you have degrade to a point where you're unhappy with it? Like most people do with photoshop, windows, any other expensive prgram that you can update. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 06:06 PM
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Well, it's still expensive. You're paying 10% of the retail, so after 20 months, you've paid full retail. Personally, that's worth it for me. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Belvidere
post Jul 21 2010, 06:14 PM
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QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Jul 21 2010, 02:06 PM) *
Well, it's still expensive. You're paying 10% of the retail, so after 20 months, you've paid full retail. Personally, that's worth it for me. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


For almost any active skill... yes. Oh no! The Troll ganger's coming at me with a parking meter! -clicks on blades:6 autosoft and whips out a switchblade- "Bring it tiny!"
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 06:35 PM
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Indeed. "Tank, I need to fly a Huey." "I know Kung Fu." Awesome.
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Voran
post Jul 21 2010, 06:40 PM
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I do like the idea of pretending to be a newbie by leaving your smartlinks and weapons apparently accessible to outside hacking, but with nasty viruses and databombs and stuff lurking for anyone trying to hack it, all the while you're actually skinlinking or fiberconnecting to the gun. It shouldn't be too hard right? Your Smartgun is actually hidden or slavelinked, but you add a module that would seem like the smartgun access, since how easily could you tell the signal opening is coming from my gun, or that piece that kinda looks like a laser sight or conventional light on my gun?
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BobChuck
post Jul 21 2010, 06:57 PM
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The question, the real question, isn't "what can hackers do in combat", but "what are hacker type actions that could be theoretically be done in combat without breaking the game?" Answer that, and you know what hackers can do in combat.

Letting a hacker take out someone's cybernetics or turn off their guns or whatever is more-or-less within the hacker theme, but it's horribly horribly broken, and unfair to players with 'ware - now adepts get even more of an advantage, and hackers wind up needing a "counterhacking" skill that works like counterspelling.

Speaking generally: in combat, a character can deal damage, heal/prevent damage, apply bonuses to himself or others, apply penalties to enemies, remove bonuses from enemies, and remove penalties from allies.

So, of these options, what could hackers do that fits easily within the system, isn't overpowered, and doesn't create mechanical/setting/logical loopholes?

Deal damage? no, not really. If the hacker can get into their PAN and muck around enough to "create dangerous feedback", or the like, he can do far worse just as easily, which is game-breaking. Also, hacking a commlink is an extended action, so no-go in a fight.

Heal/Prevent damage? again, not really. I mean, yes, hackers do make very good medics, but if they are being medics then they aren't being hackers, which is the point. Preventing damage is also kinda iffy.

Grant bonuses to Allies? Well, he could try coordinating group actions, but that's more of Leader/Face thing, plus there's Tactsoft, which is really the same thing. Hackers can write such programs, sure, but there's not much in terms of real-time benefits they can provide.

Remove Penalties from Allies? to do this, an enemy hacker would first have to apply penalties, but in theory yes.

Remove Bonuses from Enemies? well, what are bonuses? Reach, Terrain, cybernetics/adept/magic, etc are all bonuses, and there's not much a hacker can do to those. But there's also tactsoft, smartlinks, and anything else that's coming in wireless - and yes, those are wireless.
If your shadowrunner is wearing gloves (for AR and to not leave fingerprints), your smartlink is wireless. Unless you've got a "laser ball" on your head and shoulders that constantly maintains laser-link with all teammates (and through walls no less), your tactsoft is wireless.
But so what, right? They are also encrypted, so it's not like an enemy hacker can break into them. Which is true - but they don't have to break in. They don't need to understand the signal, they just need to stop it. Basic Denial of Service attack. They take months to set up now, but that's for going after A-list websites. Shutting down a small cluster of wireless nodes seems like it would be easy.
It seems to me that figuring out what wavelength "that set of nodes" (group of enemy PANs)is broadcasting to each other on would be a fairly quick check, maybe 1 complex action. Flooding that bandwidth with noise is another complex action. After that they're down; enemy hacker has to switch the range of the tactsoft, and people would link up one at a time as their initiative came around. Smartlink is just boned; your team would of course operate on a different frequency.

Apply Penalties to Enemies? this is another thing hackers could do. For instance, point a "generate lots of AR spam" program at a wireless node (like someone's PAN) and fire. They can turn it off pretty easily, but not without opting out of AR altogether.
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Yerameyahu
post Jul 21 2010, 07:08 PM
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Well, things like hacking devices and ware *are* balanced by how slow it is. If it takes 2-3 Complex Actions, that's not abusive.
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