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Saint Hallow
I am currently in a decent SR4 group, and I am playing a mystic adept. We've been lacking a Hacker and so we've never really dealt too much with the tech/matrix/AR aspect of the game too much. We recently got a new player who's a hacker and drone expert. Now that we are opening this new portion to the game, I was wondering how good the rest of the team should keep up with out tech gear? The street samurai, weapons specialist, and I have been using the standard commlinks with stock OS for our communication needs as well as for controlling out vision aids and such. If we want to take advantage of the tactical software and other stuff, should we get upgrades?

Basically, what gear and what ratings should the non-hackers get so they aren't totally useless when trying to work to a hacker when running?
MortVent
Best you can afford really for everyone

You want that firewall up there to prevent hacks against your team, and run better encryption of your communications, etc.

A hacker can help out a bit on the software side, and work on the hardware (but still costs nuyen)
Saint Sithney
Basic security: (total cost 5000 [500 Pirated])
Firewall 6
Analyze 6 (with the Ergonomic option and enough Optimization to run on your Link at full rating)
Encryption 6 (same as Analyze)

Moderate security: (total cost 9400 [940 Pirated])
Spoof 5-6 (same options as before)
Agent 3 (ought to do) - Have the agent constantly running a Redirect Trace action. So that's 8-9 dice thrown 3 times a CT to stop someone from tracing your IDs.

Heavy security: (Highly variable)
2ndary buffer comlink wired as a gateway to your primary link. All the security of the primary link plus-
Murder IC - Something viscous to tear into any intruder while they try and get through the wall to your prime link.
Karoline
A huge massive firewall is going to be a really good thing. After that a high response and system to run high quality encrypt programs is good. Other than that, make sure to all your gear is meshed into a single node and slaved to your commlink (otherwise it takes up tons of subscriptions). If you're running wireless communications then it might be a good idea to slave your commlinks to the hacker's commlink. That way anyone that wants to mess with you has to first break into the hacker's commlink first. The downside is that once they are in the hacker's commlink, they have free access to everyone else's commlink. On the up side, it means only the hacker needs a really secure commlink instead of everyone in the group.
Saint Sithney
Well, one of the good things about Pirated softs is that you put the same copy on the whole team's setup, and patch them all with the same patches.

And there's no reason that just because something is slaved, it can't also be firewalled to hell so as to spot irregular actions.
Karoline
QUOTE (Saint Sithney @ Jul 25 2010, 09:18 PM) *
Well, one of the good things about Pirated softs is that you put the same copy on the whole team's setup, and patch them all with the same patches.

And there's no reason that just because something is slaved, it can't also be firewalled to hell so as to spot irregular actions.


I'm not so sure about that. The slaved device only accepts commands from the master device, so it follows that the slaved device will accept commands from the master device. If you control the master device, you can send whatever commands you want down the chain. If you firewalled off the master device from giving commands, then the commlink wouldn't be able to do anything, because it can only accept commands from something that is being disallowed from giving commands.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jul 25 2010, 07:47 PM) *
I'm not so sure about that. The slaved device only accepts commands from the master device, so it follows that the slaved device will accept commands from the master device. If you control the master device, you can send whatever commands you want down the chain. If you firewalled off the master device from giving commands, then the commlink wouldn't be able to do anything, because it can only accept commands from something that is being disallowed from giving commands.


But a slaved device does not care about its firewall in comparison to the Master... the Firewall is for hacking attempts, not legitimate user interfacing (And if you have control of the Master somehow (or have the Master Access ID), then you are now a legitimate user (or a user with legitimate access through a successful Spoof Command))... You could have a firewall 10 on the slave node, and your Master will still be able to communicate.

Then again, maybe I am reading your post incorrectly as well, it is past my bedtime... wobble.gif
Karoline
QUOTE (Tymeaus Jalynsfein @ Jul 25 2010, 09:54 PM) *
Then again, maybe I am reading your post incorrectly as well, it is past my bedtime... wobble.gif


Just a bit. I'm saying if someone takes control of the master (Creates a 'legitimate' account) then they'll have control of the slave. The slave can have a firewall, but it can't be used against a legitimate account from the Master.

Bottom line is that we're in agreement biggrin.gif
Saint Sithney
Yeah, but you can have actions restricted even from Admin access. For example, why would the team's Hacker need to switch the firing mode on the Sam's rifle or eject the mag? I guess that could be a good response to the Control Thoughts problem.. But generally, you could keep Admin permissions off for the regular sabotage actions.

Then, once you've been breached, they've got access, but they'd still have to crash a program or the node with old-fashion attacks since they don't have the permission to just turn them off.

Also, Firewall is important to help protect against Spoofed commands.
Udoshi
Welcome to the matrix! Be warned, Unwired is full of headaches, and I really recommend adopting it slowly. That being said, some of the 'how the matrix works' sections are really, really convenient or essential for clarifiying core book crap, so i'll be trying to point out where the rules i'm talking about come from.

When dealing with the matrix, keep this bit of text in mind. It will save you headaches flipping through the matrix section and unwired trying to figure stuff out.
Response limits System (Core Book)
System limits Program Rating. (Core Book)
Firewall isn't limited by either. (FAQ)
Optimized(the program option) adds to effective system to determine what level of System the program can run on, to a certain limit. Optimized also works with Agents(agent pilot rating functions as system, which limits payload ratings) (unwired)
System determines your Processor Load. For every System(not sys+1), you lose 1 response(which doesn't bring down system, but does affect dice pools and initiative). (Core book)
The Ergonomic option lets you run up to Processor Load more Ergonomic options at once, which don't count against the running limit (basically, it lets you run Load more Ergonomic programs, but limits it so you can't run an infinite number) of them. (unwired)
If you don't have the right Skill for a matrix action, you Default at Program-1, not attribute. (Core book, attributes in the matrix. Clarified in FAQ)
Subscriptions over the Subscription Limit for a device count as Running Programs, and can lower your response through lag (unwired.)
If you do not have the right program for a matrix action, you cannot make that action. (core book, and clarified in FAQ)

Therefore: Max your firewall. Upgrade your commlink if you want to - response six chips are 8000Y/availability 16. They're not too hard to get in play. System/Firewall have ability ratings of -. If you have the cash, just buy em, and get your Common Use programs at a high rating.

Sidney has some good advice. To this I'll add: Encrypt, and most importantly, Stealth(because nodes can hide with firewall+stealth!). Stealth is important, is generally a negative dice pool modifier to matrix perception tests against you, and is something every runner should have.
Also, Review the analyze rules - it has an auto-render setting, which rolls your matrix perception against anything in a node(4a 228). Yes, the GM may roll in secret, but the idea is your program runs automatically, and picks up on any changes as it detects them.
If you're using an Agent to help secure your commlink/network, unwired has the Homeground autosoft. While it is expensive, because it is an autosoft, it can let an agent get decent dice pools to detect stuff entering your home node.(Analyze 6 + Homeground 4 + Agentrating is not bad at all.)
Remember that in order to Redirect Traces, you need to see the Icon running the trace, which may be problematic if its running stealth. (also unwired104, spotting traces). However, this is a good trick, because your agent has Spoof: in combat, a spoofed reboot command is a great way to mess with your enemy's junk. Do remember that Agents don't have the Electronic Warfare skill without the autosoft, and can't Scan for enemy nodes without it. Additionally, Spoof lets you change your Access ID without turning off your commlink and making a ten minute hardware test(More or less an IP address, and it -can- be traced back to you.)

Since you mentioned a tacnet, there's a few other things.
ECCM: Because it helps your tacnet from getting jammed into oblivion. Remember, if only one or two people get jammed off the net, its possible the network will not meet its minimum-member requirement, and stop working for everyone.
Since you mentioned sensors: If you don't have them already, glasses and earbuds with all the tricks ought to fullfil sensor requirements. (for your team with Cybereyes and the like, be warned that using them for sensor channels on the tacnet might be bad for you if the tacnet gets hacked. Running your Tacnet Channels on pieces of gear that aren't your cyberware is an extra layer of security, and a good standard practice.)
By the same token, you can help your hacker out by geting a HERF gun from unwired. Yes, its HERF. Yes, its an exotic weapon skill. Yes, its kind of stupid. Yes, its kind of expensive, but its the same cost as 5 emp grenades. The effects of EMP effects are heavily GM dependent, BUT - they lower Signal rating of devices by 3(remember, this has consequences on your range, and can possibly drop mutual signal range required for subscriptions). This is why you pair it with a jammer and your own ECCM program - if you find an enemy hacker or rigger, you emp them, hope they don't have Hardened gear, and if their ECCM program sucks, they'll be dumped out of VR, and your hacker doesn't have to waste time dealing with it. To explain: Jjammers automatically jam nodes with less Signal. ECCM adds its rating to your Signal, vs jammers. If that doesn't work, you can Jam On The Fly(unwired 105) with an Electronics Warfare test, which is an actually opposed skillcheck, not an automatic/no check comparison of ratings.
Another useful trick to have up your sleeve is to give your Agent a Medic and Attack program. If your hacker's in trouble, send it to help him out. Remember that the Matrix Condition Monitor gives dice pool penalties just like Stun or Physical - so having a babysitter bot that can shift dice pools around by a few dice in your primary hackers favor can be great.

For the non-hackers in your group, most of the things you're going to do to help out are going to be minor hardware tweaks. In general, securing your shit goes as follows:
High Firewall.
High Analyze.
Encrypt Everything. (This includes your grenade launcher. Grenades in shadowrun are wifi enabled.)
Databombs are good too.
Get an Agent to watch your back.
Always Run Stealth
Don't network stuff that doesn't need to be networked.
Skinlink Everything that doesn't need a wi-fi connection, and turn the wifi off, or use a fiberoptic cable. (accessory adapters are 50Y, and are compatable with all electronic devices. Fibercable is cheap, at 5Y/meter. Unw200)
If its Important, keep it in Hidden Mode(threshold 4 to Scan out). If its Really Important, get it a Nonstandard Wireless Link(unwired 196)

Ask your GM about Pirated Software. State Of The Art rolls are a -serious headache-, and 'free' programs for 1/10th the price may be seen as cheesy by some. If you're not using Unwired, or only parts of it, or are new to the matrix in general, don't bother with it. A smooth game is more important than playing Exactly By The Book, especially when everyone's learning the new mechanics, and avoiding rules frustration is a good thing.

I think thats it, but i have the nagging feeling that i missed something somewhere.
Laodicea
Jammers all around.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Karoline @ Jul 25 2010, 08:02 PM) *
Just a bit. I'm saying if someone takes control of the master (Creates a 'legitimate' account) then they'll have control of the slave. The slave can have a firewall, but it can't be used against a legitimate account from the Master.

Bottom line is that we're in agreement biggrin.gif



Yeah... looking at the post in the light of a new day, we are indeed in agreement... Sorry for the Confusion, it was a tiring day yesterday... wobble.gif
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