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> Stealing cars, The mechanics of stealing a car?
Kyrel
post Jan 28 2014, 03:10 PM
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Guys. I need a bit of help.

Where, if anywhere, can I find some rules about how to actually steal/hotwire a car in SR4a?

I can't remember reading anything about it before, and my initial quick skims over the various vehicle and hacking rules don't seem to state anything specific, though I can be overlooking something. Last week I winged it as the GM, making it a question of breaking into a node (the car's computer), and then spoofing the car's ID with respect to the Grid. But is there anything specific about this somewhere that I simply can't remember or find?
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Stahlseele
post Jan 28 2014, 03:52 PM
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As of SR4, that's pretty much how i'd think it works.
In SR3, it was way more complicated, needing several skills.
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 04:04 PM
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Dunno, if there's really rules for this.
Hardware tests to beat the maglock / anti-theft, then as you described, hack the node.
For older models it can be as simple as a locksmith test.
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Stahlseele
post Jan 28 2014, 04:09 PM
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Under SR3 you had to do
Build/Repair Car
Build/Repair Electronics
Then Computer(Decker-Stuff)
Then Car
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 04:10 PM
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Prime example for clunkiness of system.
Although, to be fair, SR4 isn't much less of a roll orgy, since maglocks are beaten with extended tests.
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nezumi
post Jan 28 2014, 04:29 PM
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I don't see that as being clunky. It's real life. Stealing a modern, RFID-locked car takes some serious work. SR cars are even more locked down. The fact is, stealing cars in the future won't be as easy as "hey, I'm a decker, look at me!"
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 04:31 PM
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Yes. When I want real life, I'll get real life, thanks very much.
I don't need micromanagement like that in a game that's supposed to be fun (as opposed to work). But that's neither here nor there, and tastes differ, and so on.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Jan 28 2014, 04:40 PM
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QUOTE (Kyrel @ Jan 28 2014, 10:10 AM) *
Guys. I need a bit of help.

Where, if anywhere, can I find some rules about how to actually steal/hotwire a car in SR4a?

I can't remember reading anything about it before, and my initial quick skims over the various vehicle and hacking rules don't seem to state anything specific, though I can be overlooking something. Last week I winged it as the GM, making it a question of breaking into a node (the car's computer), and then spoofing the car's ID with respect to the Grid. But is there anything specific about this somewhere that I simply can't remember or find?


That's pretty much it to hack anything that isn't a Rigger's own ride. Have the group Hacker/Technomancer attack the car's node, which is going to be pretty much autosuccessful even if you go straight for hacking an admin account on the fly, since cars have really low device ratings. Once you own the node, you own the car if there isn't anybody inside to contest it, and even if there is, you probably own the car (though he's probably going to be freaking out and calling Knight Errant on his commlink,) you'll just need to get rid him of him.

Keeping the car is going to be a royal pain in the ass, though. You want to get it completely off the Matrix as soon as possible, which means you want to be ready to drive it into a fat-bodied truck lined with a faraday mesh to completely kill the signals. Shut it down and physically disconnect all the power sources you can find. Ideally, you also have a faraday cage garage to do your Nefarious Deeds to the poor innocent car to.

Remember VIN numbers? Those things are still around, and it would be hilarious (for the cops) if you zapped all the high-tech antitheft deterrents only to get tripped up by literally the oldest car tracking system known to metahumanity. Then you've got to get to the RFID tags - you know, those pesky ones they've actually molded the frame around? Good luck with that, though I'd point out that technically speaking, RFID chips are Devices too, and can be hacked. Make sure you get them all, though - you will want to invest in the manufacturing plans for the model you have, so you can get the damn stealthed ones, too. You may have to pull or hire a Run to get those, but it will be worth it, because nothing makes the cops suspect your ride is nicked more than the broadcasting RFIDs telling them one story and the stealthed ones telling them another when queried.

And of course, don't forget the car's poor widdle node. Nuke that sumbitch back to the factory defaults - or rip it out and replace it entirely if your budget permits. There's no telling what kind of sneaky backdoors the original owner installed, like maybe calling home when the car is in MSR with any two nodes where one of their MFID numbers is Prime and the other corresponds to the Fibonacci Sequence or whatever. On the other hand, feel free to install sneaky backdoors of your own - no, you can't steal your own stolen car back, the guy you're selling to will get suspicious the third time you sell him the same car, but you can always sell that backdoor information anonymously on ShadowSEA or whatever for a few extra nuyen.

Alternatively, you can probably flog it fast and dirty for like, 5-10% of its full value to someone who will handle all of that and make it Not Your Problem.


And if you're thinking about your own rides... My advice would be to install manual controls override on everything, and to greatly uprate the vehicle's node by ripping the controller and installing a commlink in its place. Cars are hilariously vulnerable, and given that they're mobile, with a good hacker they can literally steal themselves, but an uprated node should interfere with any Nefarious Schemes others might have for your ride.
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Stahlseele
post Jan 28 2014, 04:56 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi @ Jan 28 2014, 05:29 PM) *
I don't see that as being clunky. It's real life. Stealing a modern, RFID-locked car takes some serious work. SR cars are even more locked down. The fact is, stealing cars in the future won't be as easy as "hey, I'm a decker, look at me!"

actually, yes, yes it is . .
if you get into the main node of the vehicle, you have the lock, the ignition, the steering, the fapping auto pilot and can tell it where to drive to . .
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Kyrel
post Jan 28 2014, 08:29 PM
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OK. What I'm hearing you guys saying is that there isn't really any hard and fast rules on how to hijack a car in SR4a, meaning that we are essentially down to GM decision and an attempt at common sense combined with workable game mechanics.

In your oppinions, would the following be reasonable assumptions concerning cars in SR4a:

1) The car has a node, like almost anything else in the SR world. If the engine is running, the car's primary node is operating, and then it ought to become a question of hacking the node, in order to take control of the Pilot and system, leaving just the problem of dealing with the driver and the cars Gridlink ID.

2) When a car is powered down and the engine is off, most parts of the computer is shut down as well, meaning that hacking the main computer is impossible.

3) Entry into the car, even when the primary computer is shut down, must still be possible. Hence the access control must either be based on a mechanical system or some form of electronical/software based independent or sub-system. Or maybe a combination of mechanical and electronical. "Realistically" the access system will have to be practical for people to deal with in their everyday lives. This means that they'll need some form of "key", or they will have to have the "key" build into some other item they carry on a daily basis, or based on their personal biometrics. Biometrics might be pretty secure, but it would probably be viewed as impractical, as it makes lending your car to a friend somewhat more difficult. For this reason I'd expect that the system would be based on either a set of paired RFID tags, or an ID code that can be broadcast from a comlink. Given how easy it is to hack a comlink in SR, an RFID system is probably most likely. To access a shut down car, you thus need to crack that RFID system. Successfully accessing the car might also turn on the primary node, allowing for engine control etc., and thus allowing for the hacking of the primary node. Easiest way to handle it with existing mechanics would thus be to use the rules for getting through Transponder-embedded keys (SR4a core p. 263) followed by either a hacking of the car's primary node, or alternatively using the mechanics for cracking open a maglock system using Hardware + Logic.

Anyone see any specific problems with this? Either from a mechanical or setting perspective.
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 08:36 PM
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Sounds reasonable enough.
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Stahlseele
post Jan 28 2014, 08:37 PM
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i see no reason why the main node of the car should shut down with the engine.
there'a a battery for a reason O.o
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 08:38 PM
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To avoid some punk with a commlink hacking it and driving away?
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Stahlseele
post Jan 28 2014, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 28 2014, 09:38 PM) *
To avoid some punk with a commlink hacking it and driving away?

that's what the firewall is there for.
it's wifi always online everything after all as of SR4 and especially since SR5.
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nezumi
post Jan 28 2014, 08:48 PM
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Note that Stahlseele is talking SR4 mechanics (which is what OP was asking about).

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Kyrel
post Jan 28 2014, 08:58 PM
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A question Stahlseele:

Why should the car node's wifi be turned on, if the vehicle is shut down?

There's no need for it, and it simply makes the system less secure. The Gridlink system might still be active, but that can operate as a separate system drawing power from either the Grid, or the car's battery, and the access system can do the same.
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 08:59 PM
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QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Jan 28 2014, 09:44 PM) *
that's what the firewall is there for.
it's wifi always online everything after all as of SR4 and especially since SR5.

And yet it's not.
It is easy enough to disable wi-fi in certain situations and often advisable. Even in SR5 (you'll only lose online bonuses, after all).
Wireless access is not per default on, if it's an open invitation to just have your wheels run off on their own. It is entirely reasonable to assume that cars do not stand around having their computers run, all day every day, and instead only boot up when a key is inserted or in the car's vicinity. Or, e.g., if you get physically inside and activate it, via a hardware check.

QUOTE
Note that Stahlseele is talking SR4 mechanics (which is what OP was asking about).

I'm aware, thanks. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 28 2014, 09:10 PM
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QUOTE (Kyrel @ Jan 28 2014, 01:58 PM) *
A question Stahlseele:

Why should the car node's wifi be turned on, if the vehicle is shut down?

There's no need for it, and it simply makes the system less secure. The Gridlink system might still be active, but that can operate as a separate system drawing power from either the Grid, or the car's battery, and the access system can do the same.


Kind of hard to remotely turn it on and have it drive to you if you cannot connect to it remotely. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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bannockburn
post Jan 28 2014, 09:14 PM
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That's a good point, actually, TJ, and one I hadn't thought about.
Which is kind of surprising, considering how often my characters do this.

Still, the option is there to turn the thing off, but it's probably not the norm.
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Kyrel
post Jan 28 2014, 09:17 PM
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QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jan 28 2014, 10:10 PM) *
Kind of hard to remotely turn it on and have it drive to you if you cannot connect to it remotely. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Arguably true. But are you supposed to be able to do that, as the setting is described? I honestly can't remember.

Assuming it is the intention, it still ought to be fairly simple to handle though. Add a passive sub-system that can turn on the primary node remotely, if provided the correctly encrypted activation signal. Game mechanically possible to spoof the system with the normal spoofing rules.
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 28 2014, 09:18 PM
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QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jan 28 2014, 02:14 PM) *
That's a good point, actually, TJ, and one I hadn't thought about.
Which is kind of surprising, considering how often my characters do this.

Still, the option is there to turn the thing off, but it's probably not the norm.


Here to Serve... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
My character's do that often too, when they actually own a vehicle. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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Tymeaus Jalynsfe...
post Jan 28 2014, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (Kyrel @ Jan 28 2014, 02:17 PM) *
Arguably true. But are you supposed to be able to do that, as the setting is described? I honestly can't remember.

Assuming it is the intention, it still ought to be fairly simple to handle though. Add a passive sub-system that can turn on the primary node remotely, if provided the correctly encrypted activation signal. Game mechanically possible to spoof the system with the normal spoofing rules.


Yes...
Yes... (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Which brings us back to Yes, Cars are Hackable", and that is truly all that is required to gain access. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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RHat
post Jan 28 2014, 10:55 PM
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QUOTE (Kyrel @ Jan 28 2014, 02:17 PM) *
Arguably true. But are you supposed to be able to do that, as the setting is described? I honestly can't remember.

Assuming it is the intention, it still ought to be fairly simple to handle though. Add a passive sub-system that can turn on the primary node remotely, if provided the correctly encrypted activation signal. Game mechanically possible to spoof the system with the normal spoofing rules.


Yeah, that's a pretty normal thing for people to be doing as I understand the setting - think modern remote starters with a even more convenience added on top.

It's the whole tradeoff between security and usability - and by default, cars in SR4 have a crapton of usability.
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ShadowDragon8685
post Jan 29 2014, 01:37 AM
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If you want real automotive security, you remove the battery from your car at night. That only works if it's a combustion-engine car, though, removing the kinds of batteries that drive an electric or an SR4 hybrid gas-electric engine is a no-go without an auto garage.
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nezumi
post Jan 29 2014, 03:20 PM
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That's a bit aggressive. While living overseas, most people would just remove one of the battery cables (to keep the car stationary, one friend removed the cable to the distributor cap. It's light enough to tuck into a purse or backpack -- which a battery is not. Sure, a hacker can still unlock your car, but that was available with the battery out still via the brick method. The hacker could program the car to be remote controlled once the driver gets back in, but then you have a driver in the car calling Lone Star.)
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