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OneTrikPony
I’ve been on hiatus from the internet for a while and it’s given me some time to think about some things. This is the first in an upcoming series of inane questions that I plan to post here. Thanks for your consideration.

Recently as I sat alone in my basement playing Shadowrun with myself I ran through a scenario of a hacker with all stats and programs at 5, hacking a Comlink with all stats and programs at 3. I though of it as two guys sitting in a moderately busy public area both within the signal range of each other both using AR. The targets Comlink is running in Hidden mode.

I started with Detecting wireless nodes (reference BBB pp. 225, also pp. 117)
I figure that in most scenarios the hacker knows who he looking to hack and so he knows what he’s looking for when trying to detect a hidden node. But, the book says (pp 225), “finding a particular node in a crowded area might be more difficult…?
This made me wonder;

If everything and the kitchen sink are wireless what area isn’t crowded? Most devices have signal 1 = 40 meters [130 ft.] range. Most devices, (the coffee maker, terminals, streetlights, Comlinks, soda machines, billboards) are passive but many are active and if all electronics are wireless matrix enabled you’d have to be standing within range of at least 100 nodes at any given time How do you determine node density and its effect?

I assume from the fact that you can search for hidden nodes that ‘ghosting’ is more than a matter of turning down your signal to 0. Since the book lists the test to locate a wireless node in a crowded area as Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 combat turn) I wanted an easy way to determine how hard it would be. Because it seems like a perception test I decided to use the Perception test table and came up with;

Use Perception test thresholds.
*Threshold 2 - Normal environment 50-100 Comlinks and 100-200 devices in range.
Example: Typical office, shopping center, industrial factory during normal operation.
*Threshold 3. - Crowded Environment, 100 – 300 Comlinks in range.
Example: Busy street or shopping center, crowded nightclub restaurant or convention center,
*Threshold 4 - Packed environment, more than 300 Comlinks, more than 400 devices in range.
Example: Spam zone, concert or large sporting event, political rally or demonstration.

Since scanning for a hidden node is harder it’s “an Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test? even when you know what your looking for I figure I’d add 1 to that threshold in a Crowded environment and 2 in a Packed environment. Note that the book does Not say that this is an Extended test. For the purposes of my scenario I called it a normal environment so my hacker used 10 die to make that threshold 4 and it took 2 turns for him to find the targets Comlink. I figure he rolled pretty lucky because he's onlyt got a 44% chance to hit that threshold

Now that he’d found it he would try to hack it on the fly (pp. 221) because this is a personal device it only has Admin account privileges (pp. 216; “Account Privileges? last paragraph) So my hacker with all stats at 5 would roll 10 die against a threshold of 9 to hack the target with all stats at 3. It took him 3 Passes to hack an exploit. This means that the target Comlink gets 3 rolls on 6 dice in an extended test with a threshold of 5. Because my hacker has stealth 5 running. I found that a Comlink with all stats at 3 has more than a 60% chance to detect a hacker with all stats and stealth at 5. Six out of ten times the hacker triggers an alert against a rating 3 device. Suddenly Hacking just became a lot harder than I thought. I know that probing is almost a sure thing but there are some pretty good tactical defenses against that. It depends on your ability to get the target to sit still (within your range) for three hours.

I’m not a mathlete. The 60% failure rate of my hacker is based on the excellent XL spreadsheet I snagged from Serbitar (Props dude biggrin.gif) Am I right about this?

At this point my mind took a Wild Jaunt through the jungles of Shadowrun weirdness. Up to this point I had been thinking in terms of AR. But what if my hacker were using VR? He’s hacking a Comlink not a Host so once he beats the threshold he’s Perceptually inside someone else’s Comlink. Which brought me to some really weird questions.

Normally a Comlink projects an Icon of the device’s Persona into the matrix. However, a Comlink is a matrix node so does a Comlink provide Virtual Dataspace for people who hack in?

If you hack someone else’s Comlink in VR What does it look like inside?

In VR, can you take your own persona into your Comlink? If you can; what does your PAN look like?
(I think mine would look like my house. I’d have a room for my cyber eyes where I could look out at the meat world. I’d have a room for my datajack were I could sit and download p0rn. I’d have a room for my car and each of my drones. It would be just like my house with more rooms and better furniture. biggrin.gif)

For that mater what does it look like if you VR hack someone’s Smartgun link? And why would such a device even spend any processing power to provide a virtual dataspace?

It gets weirder; If a hacker hacks your Comlink but triggers an alarm you are alerted. Can you then take a simple action to switch to VR to conduct Cyber Combat with the intruder inside your own Comlink?

If any of this is true, do you realize that when you hack a Technomancer your mind is actually inside his brain? If his persona is off in the matrix somewhere does that mean that he’s not home?

Sitting alone in my basement I’m thinking that sometimes Shadowrun is just silly. If I were playing a face to face game some of this stuff would really annoy me and I would be thinking that the rules are too arbitrary, their implications in the setting can really make playing the game a pain in the ass.

Has anyone yet tackled delineating the differences between Devices, Comlinks and Hosts?

hobgoblin
im guessing, based on pre-SR4 knowledge, that the default design of VR is still around (what was it called again? UMD?). as in, the VR will default back to that when a system do not provide custom graphics (or sculpting as i think its known).

and this the comlink should know by heart so no need to download anything from the node its connecting to.

so, entering the VR space of a smartlink would just show a room (or rooms) stuffed with geometric shapes that allow you to control the functions of said smartlink. if i was to go by SR1-2 mapping that would be something like a slave, a cpu and a san.

also, you have a icon in every node (the matrix part of anything connected directly to the matrix imo) you connected to, be it AR or VR. so it would not take any action to jump to your home node if anyone happens to visit it.

one interesting thought is that connections are not a two way street. even if your connected to someones comlink based node, that does not mean that they are connected to your node.
WearzManySkins
One Trick,

I believe what you have said is fairly accurate but to me the numbers of commlinks etc that you have mentioned are off by at least a factor of 10, ie ten times more than you have said, it could be a factor of 100 also.

I work in "controlled" wireless environment, the number of wireless in one area can be staggering, in a Shadowrun uncontrolled environment.......<shakes head in wonder and amazement>
hobgoblin
hmm, point there. take the number of mobile phones today and it should give some sort of guesstimate (and that didnt trigger the spell check?!) of the number of wireless devices active in a area.

hell, if joe wageslave use wireless pan rather then skinlink and have glasses and gloves, thats 3 devices pr person present at least...

err, it just dawned on me that the best way to envision AR is to think of a market area in your average mmorpg eek.gif
OneTrikPony
Hobgoblin
QUOTE
im guessing, based on pre-SR4 knowledge, that the default design of VR is still around (what was it called again? UMD?). as in, the VR will default back to that when a system do not provide custom graphics (or sculpting as i think its known).


Ahhhh. I completely forgot about UMS! (Universal Matrix Symbology) This is something I understood in SR3. I don’t know why I’m not getting it in SR4.

Basically; you jack into your Comlink and it projects your consciousness to another node. That means that the other node tells your Comlink what you perceive and your Comlink makes you perceive it. In the case of a node that has no customized sculpture the node simply tells your Comlink “UMS? and your Comlink makes you perceive a simple—maybe cartoonish—three dimensional space, possibly with some sound effects. All of your actions take place in your Comlink which then commands the node to respond in accord with your actions. This is right because your persona impacts the system loads of your Comlink. Your machine provides processing power to run your programs and node simply responds. (as opposed to an Agent which is actually loaded on the node and uses the node’s resources to run.) So your thoughts happen inside your head, your intent is carried out inside your Comlink and the results happen on the node you have accessed. When you target a persona in cybercombat it means that you send a viral attack to a node that both personas have accessed and that node simply passes the attack on to the Comlink of the icon you have targeted.

My Brain==intent==>My Comlink==Attack==>Host node==Attack==>Your Comlink==(black IC attack)==>Your Brain

Cool. But it still seems freaky to me that if you hack a Technomancer his brain directly tells your mind what you perceive. And If you attack him from his Brain node your directly telling his brain to give itself a good mental kick in the nuts.

WearzManySkins thanks for posting.
QUOTE
I believe what you have said is fairly accurate but to me the numbers of commlinks etc that you have mentioned are off by at least a factor of 10, ie ten times more than you have said, it could be a factor of 100 also.


cool.gif how big a slice of the spectrum does that kind of device density use in RL? I think a bluetooth pan uses 2.42ghz – 2.8ghz and it can only connect 8 devices right?
Aaron
Here's my 2¥.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
Since scanning for a hidden node is harder it’s “an Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test? even when you know what your looking for I figure I’d add 1 to that threshold in a Crowded environment and 2 in a Packed environment.

If it was me, I'd impose a penalty to the dice, rather than increasing the threshold. As you said, it's like Perception, and in Perception interference and distractions are dice pool penalties.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
Note that the book does Not say that this is an Extended test.

That is correct. If you know where the hidden node is supposed to be (e.g. "coming from that commlink in that guy's lap" or "on that charging street sam"), it's just a straight roll.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
Now that he’d found it he would try to hack it on the fly [ ... ] Suddenly Hacking just became a lot harder than I thought. I know that probing is almost a sure thing but there are some pretty good tactical defenses against that. It depends on your ability to get the target to sit still (within your range) for three hours.

Yep, pretty much. It's a lot like breaking and entering. If you break in by ramming the garage door with a dump truck, you might get noticed. At least, there's a better chance of being noticed than if you take the time to case the joint and find the good entry points.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
I’m not a mathlete. The 60% failure rate of my hacker is based on the excellent XL spreadsheet I snagged from Serbitar (Props dude biggrin.gif) Am I right about this?

Yes and no. You're right; there's a 60% (or so) chance that you'll be noticed, but you've still gotten into the node. The ancients pass down their wisdom: a dump truck is less sneaky than a ninja.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
Normally a Comlink projects an Icon of the device’s Persona into the matrix. However, a Comlink is a matrix node so does a Comlink provide Virtual Dataspace for people who hack in?

There is a distinction between a persona (and its representation, the icon), and a commlink. Sure, your persona uses your commlink's attributes, but it is distinct from a device. The persona is the interface, whereas the device is the virtual space.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
If you hack someone else’s Comlink in VR What does it look like inside?

Whatever they want it to look like. Kinda like desktop images are today. Alternatively, if you successfully use a Reality Filter, it will look like anything you want it to look like, to you anyway.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
In VR, can you take your own persona into your Comlink? If you can; what does your PAN look like?

Sure and see above. I believe the VR look of your commlink is a function of the OS.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
For that mater what does it look like if you VR hack someone’s Smartgun link? And why would such a device even spend any processing power to provide a virtual dataspace?

Probably whatever the user wants it to look like. If it was me, it would just be a floating block with displays on it, but then I've always been a functionalist.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
It gets weirder; If a hacker hacks your Comlink but triggers an alarm you are alerted. Can you then take a simple action to switch to VR to conduct Cyber Combat with the intruder inside your own Comlink?

Yep. Most folks would just reboot their commlink, but I can see the appeal of going in and beating the living crap out of an intruder. Especially with that +4 Firewall bonus one receives for the alarm. Plus, if you can Blackout them into unconsciousness, you can Trace their location and keep the fun going.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
If any of this is true, do you realize that when you hack a Technomancer your mind is actually inside his brain? If his persona is off in the matrix somewhere does that mean that he’s not home?

The rules don't state it explicitly, but I think that it implies that while a technomancer has a (living) persona, she or he is not a device per se. I believe this because the rules only talk about a technomancer's persona, and also explicitly mentions that the technomancer may not store data without some external storage device.

QUOTE (OneTrikPony)
Has anyone yet tackled delineating the differences between Devices, Comlinks and Hosts?

No problem. A commlink is a device. Things that are also devices include cameras, drones, blenders, vehicles, cyberarms, and pretty much anything else that can be hacked. A host is a device that is connected to a network (such as the Matrix).
odinson
QUOTE (OneTrikPony @ May 26 2007, 10:27 AM)
I assume from the fact that you can search for hidden nodes that ‘ghosting’ is more than a matter of turning down your signal to 0. Since the book lists the test to locate a wireless node in a crowded area as Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 combat turn) I wanted an easy way to determine how hard it would be. Because it seems like a perception test I decided to use the Perception test table and came up with;


Since scanning for a hidden node is harder it’s “an Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test? even when you know what your looking for I figure I’d add 1 to that threshold in a Crowded environment and 2 in a Packed environment. Note that the book does Not say that this is an Extended test. For the purposes of my scenario I called it a normal environment so my hacker used 10 die to make that threshold 4 and it took 2 turns for him to find the targets Comlink. I figure he rolled pretty lucky because he's onlyt got a 44% chance to hit that threshold

The book does say that it is an extended test. By listing the test as Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 combat turn), it is defined as an extended test as per notation for tests on pages56-58 of the BBB. You should have written "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4, 1 combat turn) Test" not "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test"
Aaron
QUOTE (odinson)
The book does say that it is an extended test. By listing the test as Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 combat turn), it is defined as an extended test as per notation for tests on pages56-58 of the BBB. You should have written "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4, 1 combat turn) Test" not "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test"

Double check page 225 in your hymnal, second paragraph under Detecting Wireless Nodes, second sentence.
fistandantilus4.0
QUOTE (OTP)
Recently as I sat alone in my basement playing Shadowrun with myself I ran through a scenario of a hacker with all stats and programs at 5


Ok, no one else is saying it, so as your friend, I feel it is my duty.

You need to get out of the house more. smile.gif
odinson
QUOTE (Aaron)
QUOTE (odinson @ May 26 2007, 02:16 PM)
The book does say that it is an extended test. By listing the test as Electronic Warfare + Scan (variable, 1 combat turn), it is defined as an extended test as per notation for tests on pages56-58 of the BBB. You should have written "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4, 1 combat turn) Test" not "Electronic Warfare + Scan (4) Test"

Double check page 225 in your hymnal, second paragraph under Detecting Wireless Nodes, second sentence.

You're right, sorry. I was just guessing based on what was originally posted. Thats weird though. You can make an Electronics Warfare + scan (4) test if you know what hidden node you're looking for, or you can find all hidden nodes in the area with an Electronic Warfare + Scan (15+, 1 combat turn). So if you did the extended test and found the hidden node do you still need to make an Electronics Warfare + scan (4) test? Or should that Electronics Warfare + scan (4) test be a Electronics Warfare + scan (4, 1 combat turn) test? I'd go with the latter since every other test for scanning for wireless nodes is an extended test. The threshold of 4 would be because you knew exactly what you were looking for, say the guy in the dark coats node so you have a much smaller area you are scanning than if you are just getting all hidden nodes within your range.
Aaron
Well, the Success Test is for when you know where the Hidden PAN is located, rather than just looking around to see if any are about. If one knows the location of a signal, it's a lot easier to find it.
odinson
Thats why I'd assume that it was supposed to be an extended test. You're still scanning like every other search for wireless node actions it's just in a more limited range.

Guess that unless it gets in the errata if you fail at the initial search for hidden node success test you can just make an extended test until you get it.
hobgoblin
heh, you people made me reread the text in question. and while i thought i had it understood, now im totally confused.

it may well be that even if you know there is a hidden node in front of you, actually finding it seems to require a non-extended, 4 success threshold, test.

and that the later text points to the extended test that talks about finding active or passive nodes in a crowded area, and at the same time giving a hint that those nodes should rarely have a threshold higher then 15...

ugh...
WearzManySkins
Does the current AR/VR system take into effect of having too many commlinks etc like in a Spam Zone, kinda like the effects of a smoke grenade on visual combat.

Ie the noise pollution is so great that it degrades the ability to "discriminate" also known as selectivity, between the various sources of signals.

I see a continuing escalation between the Spam signal sources and those trying to "filter" out the Spam signals. Ie what works this week, may not work next week and beyond. That means "constant" updates/upgrades to softwares and hardwares.

But by the same token hiding in such Spam Zones, would be just to convenient for those wishing to remain below the detection threshold.
Aaron
I'm not sure if that was a question, but if it was, page 208 in your hymnal addresses it. Otherwise, it's not an issue (at least until Unwired ...).
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (Aaron)
I'm not sure if that was a question, but if it was, page 208 in your hymnal addresses it. Otherwise, it's not an issue (at least until Unwired ...).

Hmm so you are saying that extreme levels of comm link/spam activity is any where from Glare to Light Fog/Mist/Rain/Smoke from page 140 of the BBB.

Sorry but that does not cut the mustard.

From what I have read thru the RAW, there is no equivalent of electronic smoke etc. There used to be in the old versions of the Matrix from what I recall.

As an example you have 1000+ pieces of spam, getting past your filters. All of this at the same time, is it jamming not by the definition of same.

So using a DNI how many pieces of spam can you deal with in Matrix/AR turn?

In fact that is one form a Hacker type attack of todays technology. Putting the target on some mega spam sign up web pages.

We each have our view what is or is not an issue. frown.gif

And yes it was/is a poorly worded question. smile.gif
Nocturne
QUOTE (WearzManySkins)
From what I have read thru the RAW, there is no equivalent of electronic smoke etc. There used to be in the old versions of the Matrix from what I recall.

Spam zones are actually briefly treated in the RAW, p210. Like static zones, they can inflict penalties of -1 to -3 to all Matrix actions. I'd say that's the Matrix version of smoke.
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (Nocturne)
QUOTE (WearzManySkins @ May 26 2007, 06:59 PM)
From what I have read thru the RAW, there is no equivalent of electronic smoke etc. There used to be in the old versions of the Matrix from what I recall.

Spam zones are actually briefly treated in the RAW, p210. Like static zones, they can inflict penalties of -1 to -3 to all Matrix actions. I'd say that's the Matrix version of smoke.

Turn to page 140 of your BBB, look at the table labeled Ranged Combat Modifiers, go down the section labeled Visibility Table

A -1 to a -3 modifier is

Under Normal Vision

-1 Glare
-2 Light Fog/Mist/Rain/Smoke
-3 there is not direct comparision
-4 Heavy Fog/Mist/Rain/Smoke

So "your version" of Matrix smoke is equal to glare or light smoke. frown.gif
Meriss
Ow I thnk I just broke my brain.
Big D
Actually, the comparison to smoke isn't that far off.

You're talking about a myriad of invisible signals that your commlink is trying to deal with. Under "normal" circumstances, it simply ignores anything that doesn't come with the right header packets, but if you're out looking for somebody else, you have to drink from the fire hose. You're essentially opening yourself to "jamming" a la a DDOS from the natural environment.

And yeah, every device, including that smartlink, has an icon. It may be a pathetically simple default icon in most cases, but even a simple 1-line .bat file has a default icon today. It would just look really boring, unless your reality filter said otherwise.

And agree on the unhackable TMs. That's one of their advantages. They pay for those advantages through the nose, so it's not really a problem. Consider it as an icon that just simply has no access method; you can't log in. There's no protocol for it.
Aaron
QUOTE (WearzManySkins)
QUOTE (Aaron @ May 26 2007, 06:37 PM)
I'm not sure if that was a question, but if it was, page 208 in your hymnal addresses it. Otherwise, it's not an issue (at least until Unwired ...).

Hmm so you are saying that extreme levels of comm link/spam activity is any where from Glare to Light Fog/Mist/Rain/Smoke from page 140 of the BBB.

I'll bite. How did you get from my post to your conclusion about my post?
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