Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Cell Phones In Shadowrun
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
Pages: 1, 2, 3
sk8bcn
ok, whatever the edition, is there any reference about how works a cell phone in Shadowrun.

IRL, each phone has a number associated to it. The police triangulates whether a phone from suspects was on/near a crime location. It helps them a lot to investigate.

Now we're in shadowrun. If I am 100% findable with a cell phone (cyberware or normal one) I find it a bit contrary to the shadowy aspect of the game, extraterritoriality and so on.

Any books which describes that aspect?

Any opinion?
DrZaius
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ May 13 2014, 11:33 AM) *
ok, whatever the edition, is there any reference about how works a cell phone in Shadowrun.

IRL, each phone has a number associated to it. The police triangulates whether a phone from suspects was on/near a crime location. It helps them a lot to investigate.

Now we're in shadowrun. If I am 100% findable with a cell phone (cyberware or normal one) I find it a bit contrary to the shadowy aspect of the game, extraterritoriality and so on.

Any books which describes that aspect?

Any opinion?


Technically, "cell phones" are now Commlinks, which are basically just super smartphones. You have a commcode (which is associated with a SIN) whereby people can contact you. My guess would be that in the shadowy world of the future, various proxies, VOIP, and other matrix related shenanigans prevent the police from tracking you down immediately. There is a "Trace User" matrix action (in 5th edition), but requires MARKS on the target's commlink to operate. So, that's probably how they'd go about it. Normally though, I'd say you're fine.

Our team has been purchasing "burner" commlinks for limited communications, which I feel is a good way to simulate the concept. The game can fall apart quickly if you note how cheap millimeter wave scanners are to install in every building that could conceivably be attacked by Shadowrunners.
Sengir
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ May 13 2014, 06:33 PM) *
IRL, each phone has a number associated to it. The police triangulates whether a phone from suspects was on/near a crime location.

Usually, it's a lot less targeted wink.gif


QUOTE
Any opinion?

Well, here are two animations from politicians who put the "it's just metadata" concept to the test:
http://www.zeit.de/datenschutz/malte-spitz-vorratsdaten
http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/digital/vorratsd...ttli-1.18291061

With the technology available in the 2070s, Runners, their associates, and their associates' associates would realistically be FUBARed. Some books have brought up the balkanisation of police responsibility and that corps enviously guard the data they have, but in the end it comes down to suspension of disbelief wink.gif
DWC
Don't forget that the law requires that you be broadcasting your SIN in pretty much any area with any appreciable law enforcement. Due to the way the new matrix works, the police can in fact trace any user effectively instantly (2 actions, one to hack a functionally defenseless commlink and one to trace it, for a grand total of about a second) unless the person being tracked is using a cyberdeck that costs more than a single family home.

I'd agree that if your GM really decides to combine 2075 tech with the wireless matrix and a little bit of thought, the game essentially becomes unplayable.
Curator
the fiction mentions plenty of people 'calling' and exchanging numbers to contact each other. voice, video or text, they always mention the line being secure. or they're really cryptic with the message. they never explain how to set one up though, but they always seem to have access to one.

since everything when out and about is wireless, you can assume everything is done through towers and satellites although communicating over radio waves is still possible and i'm sure a dial up connection is still feasible for only messaging.

and just like IRL you can easily block your number, change or mask your IP, create a bogus account for a few uses or rely on some sort of unpopular unmonitored form of messaging.

although i'm sure just like now how a US marshall's average hunt went from 6-10 days to less then 2 days in the last 15 years do to ease of tracking someone, i'm sure in SR if you're being actively hunted by a government or AAA corp, that any communicating that can trace your voice, visual, or any equipment you regularly use will get a high response strike team dropped on them in the appropriate time

but i'm sure you can just use your commlink. or buy a phone i'm sure they're available for whatever under 50nuyen. most runne3rs don't live in the nicest areas so lone star or whoever don't patrol them. if you do you need a pretty good cover story and/or fake sin.

plus alot of people make money off selling and digging for information, so you can't really leave a paper trail. especially if you make an enemy or two. move often and such, don't be blatant. it all reflects your street cred, notoriety and if people would or wouldn't mess with you.
Sengir
QUOTE (DrZaius @ May 13 2014, 06:50 PM) *
Our team has been purchasing "burner" commlinks for limited communications, which I feel is a good way to simulate the concept.

Just as an example: Corpsec has picked up the commcode of your throwaway link during a run. Go through the the service providers data store to find the first time it was turned on. Find all commlinks which were in the same area at that time. Correlate that data with the owner's activity during the time of the intrusion and after the throwaway was discarded. Check if any name that comes up was tagged during a similar run. Check bank, travel, and phone data, for suspicious patterns (large cash deposits, dropping off the grid from time to time...).

...that's what can be done today. Sure, in SR the MSP might say "get lost, we're extraterritorial". Or just as likely, the MSP belongs to the same corp which was hit, and has a bunch of dedicated SKs crunching away at its traffic data 24/7. Also, if your team can do data searches and crack corporate hosts in search of information, so can the opposition.
Tanegar
QUOTE (DWC @ May 13 2014, 01:05 PM) *
I'd agree that if your GM really decides to combine 2075 tech with the wireless matrix and a little bit of thought, the game essentially becomes unplayable.

Shadowrun 5: The "We Really Didn't Think This Through" Edition.
Sengir
QUOTE (Tanegar @ May 13 2014, 09:44 PM) *
Shadowrun 5: The "We Really Didn't Think This Through" Edition.

This problem has nothing to do with editions.
RHat
QUOTE (Sengir @ May 13 2014, 01:50 PM) *
This problem has nothing to do with editions.


Hell, I seem to recall here about this being an issue before wireless was a thing in SR.

The game's answer to most of those issues now, though, is "there's too damn much data to deal with in any effective fashion, especially if you don't specifically know what you're looking for", combined with balkanization to make much of the data inaccessible. And while the corp COULD crack into the host to get at the data, it's rather unlikely that they would unless you did something truly special to piss them off. Plus the fact that the wireless Matrix is a mesh netqork does change the dynamics of this sort of thing considerably.
Curator
yea you should be in the clear with communicating unless someone is looking or you throw out a bunch of red flags. but that's why you run in the shadows lol. to many to look at makes it easier to slip through the cracks
SpellBinder
QUOTE (RHat @ May 13 2014, 01:56 PM) *
Hell, I seem to recall here about this being an issue before wireless was a thing in SR.

The game's answer to most of those issues now, though, is "there's too damn much data to deal with in any effective fashion, especially if you don't specifically know what you're looking for", combined with balkanization to make much of the data inaccessible. And while the corp COULD crack into the host to get at the data, it's rather unlikely that they would unless you did something truly special to piss them off. Plus the fact that the wireless Matrix is a mesh netqork does change the dynamics of this sort of thing considerably.
I think it was someone in this forum that posted the line, "Big Brother's got ADHD and is on sensory overload" when it came to the amount of surveillance and the likelihood of actually being caught.
hermit
The best source for how cellphones work and what they can and cannot do is SR3's Matrix, which covers the tiopic in detail and basically says SR cellphones work like cellphones today.

SR, however, has no cells anymore, but commlinks. Commlinks are, as stated, better smartphones, as they allow virtual reality internet. In all other respects, though, they're like modern smartphones: overrated devices which people spend far too mkuch time with despite them being security black holes. However, unlike in real life, not every commlink activity done anywhere is being recorded.

QUOTE
I think it was someone in this forum that posted the line, "Big Brother's got ADHD and is on sensory overload" when it came to the amount of surveillance and the likelihood of actually being caught.

You know jack shit about modern algorithms. No offense intended. But there are indeed algorithms to handle that amount of data and filter out the interesting bits.
RHat
QUOTE (hermit @ May 13 2014, 03:16 PM) *
You know jack shit about modern algorithms. No offense intended. But there are indeed algorithms to handle that amount of data and filter out the interesting bits.


Care to name any?

In any case, it's a question not just of how much data there is, but the fact that you can't just get access to all of it at once, as well as a matter of just how much you need to know first before you can actually properly go looking. Really, it's one of those assumptions that has to be there for the game to work, which from what I'm led to understand isn't remotely something invented by the newer editions.

And besides that, there's the very, very important detail of false positives - just because you can, supposedly, filter out the interesting bits doesn't mean you've filtered out the RIGHT interesting bits.
SpellBinder
Offense taken, considering that there's still the [meta]human element in everything, even when examining the interesting bits that are filtered out.
tete
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ May 13 2014, 04:33 PM) *
IRL, each phone has a number associated to it. The police triangulates whether a phone from suspects was on/near a crime location. It helps them a lot to investigate.


That is not quite how it works in real life. Every phone devices has two unique numbers(carriers and manufactures may call these different names), you can track down any device talking to the towers based on these unique numbers.

On the algorithms your both right. Last estimate I heard was its roughly 3 years of cpu cycles to find something interesting on a given day on the internet with the new center in Utah. However thats all the traffic through the 13 root "servers". So if you were able to give it some logical filters by subnet (which moving to IP6 would make even easier) keywords etc, you could get it down to a trivial amount of data. But thats using an entire datacenter of computing power on one task. Your not going to waste that on the guy robbing the stuffer shack but maybe the guy who stole that new R&D piece of cyberware.
Jaid
I would expect that the amount of traffic is only going to increase as time goes on, though. in shadowrun, you can pretty much literally spend every waking minute doing one or more things online, and the interface allows for a lot more efficiency; you can probably put an entire sentence out there in less than a second with a datajack, and even for those without, I wouldn't be surprised to find that voice traffic is vastly more common than text in shadowrun (particularly considering we're told literacy is down). and voice is most likely a lot harder to sift through than text.
psychophipps
Of course, when the corps own the towers andhave the power and money of a country in their own right, they can tell the FCC "My balls, your chin"...

In tonight's news, Ares subsidiary Motorola reports they had a processing error that resulted in the unique identifying hardware not being installed in several models of their commlinks. A software patch allowing users to manually enter their carrier information for use of the commlinks has been updated to their matrix site. Despite the lapse, sales of their new "private" commlinks are brisk. In related news, their response to the FCC claiming that the lapse was purposeful was responded to by a junior VP stating at the press conference, "Umm...our bad."
hermit
QUOTE
In any case, it's a question not just of how much data there is, but the fact that you can't just get access to all of it at once, as well as a matter of just how much you need to know first before you can actually properly go looking. Really, it's one of those assumptions that has to be there for the game to work, which from what I'm led to understand isn't remotely something invented by the newer editions.

What to search for is the holy grail of big data procession. And in Shadowrun, the assumption always was that data fragmentation prevents meaningful data mining like certain real governments do.

QUOTE
And besides that, there's the very, very important detail of false positives - just because you can, supposedly, filter out the interesting bits doesn't mean you've filtered out the RIGHT interesting bits.

Sure. Lots of real people are killed each month because of this. Doesn't mean the process is all that unreliable (though, given how the CIA lied about torture effectiveness, one may well have doubts here).

QUOTE
I'd agree that if your GM really decides to combine 2075 tech with the wireless matrix and a little bit of thought, the game essentially becomes unplayable.

Yeah well. Ad that's not even getting to hat Spiders and demigods can do to you by bricking the hell out of you.
kzt
QUOTE (Sengir @ May 13 2014, 12:38 PM) *
Also, if your team can do data searches and crack corporate hosts in search of information, so can the opposition.

I suspect it's more off-the books back channel communication, from one security chief to another.
kzt
QUOTE (Jaid @ May 13 2014, 03:38 PM) *
I would expect that the amount of traffic is only going to increase as time goes on, though. in shadowrun, you can pretty much literally spend every waking minute doing one or more things online, and the interface allows for a lot more efficiency; you can probably put an entire sentence out there in less than a second with a datajack, and even for those without, I wouldn't be surprised to find that voice traffic is vastly more common than text in shadowrun (particularly considering we're told literacy is down). and voice is most likely a lot harder to sift through than text.

Nope. Moore's law works. Hardware and software techniques get incredibly powerful. Google is essentially one giant data center composed of at least hundreds of thousands of computers and insane amounts of disk storage. Call traffic analysis without the content can reveal a whole lot more then you'd think* & **. Translating voice to text is pretty common, not terribly computer intensive and will only get better over time. Plus with voice you can identify the speaker as they change comlinks.

In SR encryption can also be trivially broken, so you can't trust anything electronic. Is that really your fixer on the phone requesting a meet or a Red Samurai using a trivial software program to pretend to be your fixer? And since they have listened and watched the last 6 months of your calls he can pretend to be your fixer pretty darn well....

Anyhow, I'd agree that you should just handwave this stuff, as the reality is very complex and takes a lot of thinking and planning to avoid. It's more fun to not go there and assume that if the players are not doing obviously suicidal things that it works.

Some notes:

* Burner phones can be successfully attached, there was a couple of cases in Lebanon of rolling up spy networks that way.
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/20/wo...ia-spy-20111121
" Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, and Lebanon's internal security service have used software to analyze cellphone calling and location records to help them identify a network of alleged Israeli spies since 2007, according to several people familiar with the case. Dozens of people were arrested.

"In 2010, U.S. counterintelligence officials determined that the CIA's Lebanese agents could be traced the same way, the source said. But the station chief allegedly ignored the warning. "He said, 'The Lebanese are our friends. They wouldn't do that to us,' " the source said."

** There also some interesting tactics that can be used to spot them
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013...printing_5.html
Cain
Although this also requires suspension of disbelief, remember that node ranges aren't the same in 207x as cell phone towers are today. A tower can reach a cellphone a mile or so away, but some commlink nodes have a range of a few meters. That means signals need to hop from node to node fairly often. Since bouncing a signal off excess nodes is a time-honored trick to stymie tracing, the system architecture of the wireless matrix might actually make tracing a call more difficult.
kzt
If a call can reach you the network knows what radio to use to send to you. So that just means tracking a comlink is a lot more precise than tracking a cell phone.
RHat
QUOTE (kzt @ May 14 2014, 12:24 AM) *
If a call can reach you the network knows what radio to use to send to you. So that just means tracking a comlink is a lot more precise than tracking a cell phone.


No, it means that an individual device on the network with a specific piece of precise information can make a connection. It might be that a commlink listens for calls to its commcode, and that that is a vital piece of completing the connection.
Cain
QUOTE (kzt @ May 13 2014, 10:24 PM) *
If a call can reach you the network knows what radio to use to send to you. So that just means tracking a comlink is a lot more precise than tracking a cell phone.


Not really. Right now, as I understand things, cell phone towers send a locator signal to your phone, which then responds, and the three nearest ones pick up the call. Cell phone towers are pretty common in urban areas these days, but commlink nodes are a lot more common. So, while a bunch of nodes might send out the initial signal, the ones that actually respond will be very close by. As you move, different towers drop off and new ones pick up the call; normally this doesn't happen much unless you're driving (and if you're driving while calling, shame on you! wink.gif ) but if a node range is only a few meters, it can happen while you're walking through the mall. The call itself is bounced off more and more nodes to reach you, which would slow down a tracking attempt.

Granted, once you have tracked somebody, you can probably pinpoint their location to within a few inches instead of a few dozen meters, but that's not very different.
sk8bcn
ok I ll ask a few questions to go a step further:

IRL

-> Is Cain right? Is the pillar that emits to locate the phone (and get a response) OR is it the phone that emits which indicate to the pillar that he's here?
-> What's the device number point? Allow incoming calls or just locate the phone?
Cain
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ May 14 2014, 02:59 AM) *
ok I ll ask a few questions to go a step further:

IRL

-> Is Cain right? Is the pillar that emits to locate the phone (and get a response) OR is it the phone that emits which indicate to the pillar that he's here?
-> What's the device number point? Allow incoming calls or just locate the phone?

I poked around a bit on Wikipedia. Since that's not always the best source, I'll summarize.

A powered cell phone is in contact with the nearest towers; however, since constant communication would drain the battery very quickly. it just "checks in" every so often. As you move, it checks in with other towers, and switches as necessary. You probably wouldn't even notice it if you switched towers. In the meanwhile, the tower keeps tabs on the phone, and does most of the heavy lifting.

SR4.5/Sr5, however, runs on more of a wifi-calling model. As I understand it, this is more like a mobile ISP: the device logs into the internet from the location. So, you'd have to either know the device's hard-numbers, or wait for them to log into known data, like an email account.
Sengir
QUOTE (sk8bcn @ May 14 2014, 11:59 AM) *
-> Is Cain right? Is the pillar that emits to locate the phone (and get a response) OR is it the phone that emits which indicate to the pillar that he's here?

The phone has to be in constant contact with the cell tower, otherwise there would not be any incoming calls. Technically, this is done by dividing all the cell towers a provider has into "location areas" of several antennas covering a certain area. That area is known (because the providers are planning for optimum coverage), and gives a rough location of the phone.

When a call comes in, you current LA is notified and all base stations in the LA send a "paging subscriber #12345, please answer", your phone answers the page message which has the best reception, and the call goes through. A base station only covers a small area, in areas with lots of high-rises it may be no more than the looking down a single street. That is why you see a lot of circle segments in the links I posted upthread, those are the rough broadcasting areas of the antenna the phone was talking to at the time.

(Note that it does not take an incoming call to trigger this behavor. If you do anything which uses the network, it's basically the same procedure -- not just phone calls, but for example also if you have your phone checking for new mails/FB updates/Whatsapp messages every 15 minutes. And if the target neither receives calls nor does something on his own, law enforcement uses "silent SMS", which make your phone act to the network like a call comes in, but the user sees nothing)

QUOTE
-> What's the device number point? Allow incoming calls or just locate the phone?

To uniquely identify a handset/SIM card. A phone number is a bit like an IM screen name or your dumpshock account, it only identifies you for a single service the network offers


And since I'm already spreading technical enlightenment, there's a bit for tete, too wink.gif
QUOTE (tete @ May 13 2014, 11:30 PM) *
On the algorithms your both right. Last estimate I heard was its roughly 3 years of cpu cycles to find something interesting on a given day on the internet with the new center in Utah. However thats all the traffic through the 13 root "servers".

The 13 root servers are just for resolving domain names, no actual web traffic passes through them. Where a lot of traffic does go through are the internet backbones, and that's where the NSA's Utah porn repository gets its data from. Among other places.
kzt
QUOTE (Cain @ May 14 2014, 03:46 AM) *
SR4.5/Sr5, however, runs on more of a wifi-calling model. As I understand it, this is more like a mobile ISP: the device logs into the internet from the location. So, you'd have to either know the device's hard-numbers, or wait for them to log into known data, like an email account.

This is fine if you wish to only place calls. If you want to receive calls the incoming call has to know how to get to your phone, which essentially means that anyone with skills can find your phone.
RHat
QUOTE (kzt @ May 14 2014, 03:02 PM) *
This is fine if you wish to only place calls. If you want to receive calls the incoming call has to know how to get to your phone, which essentially means that anyone with skills can find your phone.


However, the way that works would neccesarily be different under the radically different network structure in SR.
kzt
QUOTE (RHat @ May 14 2014, 03:44 PM) *
However, the way that works would neccesarily be different under the radically different network structure in SR.

A frame is a frame. It doesn't matter if it's arcnet, netbios, or IPv8. It needs some sort of address for the destination and the equipment between the source and the destination needs to be able to get it to the destination. Given that video and voice calls go to hell with jitter or significant frame loss and that even consistent delays of over 150ms result in serious issues, it needs to do this consistently and rapidly from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world.

Protip1: Don't carry an operating comlink when engaging in criminal activity. Particularly not your comlink.
Protip2: Don't call your contacts from a scene where you are planning on, are engaging in, or have just engaged in criminal activity. It's all very cute to call your fixer using the CEOs phone, but your fixer won't think it's funny in a few hours.
Protip3: Don't carry around a homing beacon while engaging in criminal activity. For example a Docwagon biomonitor that summons Docwagon to your location when you get seriously injured? Yeah, I'm talking about THAT homing beacon.
SpellBinder
Protip4: Pertaining to Protip1, if wireless is essential then install a spoof chip in everything that is wireless capable. Use said spoof chips to shuffle the access IDs of your entire PAN before and after engaging in criminal activity.
KarmaInferno
Currently when I text message someone, I receive the texts simutaneously on four different devices, but usually only one will be actually geographically near me.

Expand that to a paranoid runner. Remember that all communication in Shadowrun operates on a VOIP model rather than a cell model. How difficult would it be to locate someone who appears to be in dozens or even hundreds of places at once? With software repeaters scattered over the Matrix, hell, why not thousands or millions of locations? It's not like the comm software is necessarily tied to hardware anymore.

Even current day, how difficult is it to locate someone using VOIP? Serious question.


-k
JOButz
One thing that should be noted: most runners are connecting with the public grid. The free public grid, that applies -2 dice to matrix checks, which is cobbled together from free access points smattered everywhere. They could be the soycaf's free customer uplink or some amateur aficionado's 2070 equivalent to a HAM radio. Either way, you're getting your feed filtered through non-corporate controlled access points. To back track you to your meat body, someone would either have to mark your icon and use the trace user matrix action (the easy way) or hack each point on the public grid you routed through, find the access .log file, crack any protection on the file, then copy it, and search it to find your specific commlink info.

I just assume that I switch down to the public grid when I'm messaging anyone. No test necessary so no worries about the dice penalty.
fistandantilus4.0
QUOTE (hermit @ May 13 2014, 05:16 PM) *
You know jack shit about modern algorithms. No offense intended. But there are indeed algorithms to handle that amount of data and filter out the interesting bits.


I'm a little late to the party on this one, but seriously, throttle back there. You can't reasonably expect to say something offensive and then figure it's okay because you said "No Offense."
kzt
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ May 15 2014, 05:32 AM) *
Even current day, how difficult is it to locate someone using VOIP? Serious question.

It depends, are you trying to receive calls? I'll assume you are, because that is a lot easier.

Ok, the way it works is that you have a phone number that people call to connect to you. Phone numbers are issues or assigned to/by providers. Someone calls your phone number, the number routes the call to your provider. Somewhere in your provider's network there is a table that links your device ID to the phone number. Your providers network looks up your number, finds the ID, looks up another table to see if you are on the network and then routes the call to the tower or roaming partner that last claimed you.

If I was to have an admin subpoena (which does not require a judge to sign it) sent to your provider they will send me lots of info about you and where you have been and what numbers you have called and been called by. If I send the right kind of warrant (which requires - in theory - a lot more evidence of a crime) they will continually track you and send me real-time updates about where you are and who you talk to and the live calls if I provide the right connection for them to use.

Typical tower location is supposed to be 1-2 km to hundreds of meters. If I can get them to activate tracking features on your phone I can get a lot more accuracy. For example, I know my iPhone uses Wi-Fi APs is sees along with towers to refine accuracy, which seems to typically be within 50 meters in town, if they activate the GPS circuits (which uses a lot of power) you can get to a few meters.
Sengir
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ May 15 2014, 02:32 PM) *
Even current day, how difficult is it to locate someone using VOIP? Serious question.

VOIP device registers itself with the SIP server, SIP server therefore knows the IP address of the device. Once you have the IP address, tell the telco to turn over the identity of the subscriber (including billing address) who had this IP assigned at that time.


IIRC, retaining this data is technically not mandatory in the US, but if the provider does not retain the info, they get a National Security Letter forcing them to retain everything until the target makes their next call.

If it's a mobile internet connection it gets even better, since the user's current location can be determined the way I described above.
KarmaInferno
Okay, as I said, my text messages to and from show up on 4 devices simultaneously. (Verizon has an app that mirrors all your text messages across all devices the app is installed on.)

Can the system tell which device I'm actually reading the texts on?

For an additional layer of obscurity, could another app be written that takes the text messages and forwards them to other sets of devices? Creating a daisy chain web of proxy devices that may or may not be near me?

Extrapolating further, could VOIP packets be obscured in a similar fashion?



-k
RHat
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ May 16 2014, 03:28 AM) *
Extrapolating further, could VOIP packets be obscured in a similar fashion?


For that matter, is there any reason VOIP can't be routed over something like TOR to obscure the user?
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (RHat @ May 16 2014, 06:35 AM) *
For that matter, is there any reason VOIP can't be routed over something like TOR to obscure the user?


It could.
Which, if I recall correctly, there was something like this in SR4 on Unwired. You could go through a lot of nodes before doing what you wanted to do, which would give you -2 per node but would also give -2 per node to track you down.
AFB right now, but I don't think I'm too mistaken here.
Sengir
QUOTE (KarmaInferno @ May 16 2014, 11:28 AM) *
Okay, as I said, my text messages to and from show up on 4 devices simultaneously. (Verizon has an app that mirrors all your text messages across all devices the app is installed on.)

Can the system tell which device I'm actually reading the texts on?

Does it matter? Whether tracing one or four devices, the effort is trivial.


QUOTE
For an additional layer of obscurity, could another app be written that takes the text messages and forwards them to other sets of devices? Creating a daisy chain web of proxy devices that may or may not be near me?

Sure, but those proxies needs internet access, too. Who signed the contract for that, and from which account does the money go?
And of course you'd need an anonymous VOIP provider, too. Not much sense in going through 50 proxies just to access a VOIP account on your real name wink.gif


As for TOR, it's theoretically a possibility, although the latency from the rerouting would probably make it an irritating experience. Practically, the problem is that VOIP uses UDP (connectionless fire-and-forget transfer means lower latency), and TOR only routes TCP.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Brazilian_Shinobi @ May 16 2014, 05:51 AM) *
It could.
Which, if I recall correctly, there was something like this in SR4 on Unwired. You could go through a lot of nodes before doing what you wanted to do, which would give you -2 per node but would also give -2 per node to track you down.
AFB right now, but I don't think I'm too mistaken here.


Not Quite...

QUOTE (Unwired, Page 104)
A hacker can also route his connection through a proxy server as a means of hindering traces. This increases the threshold by +4 for Tracking Tests
for each proxy server used. The drawback, however, is that each proxy server reduces the hackerís Response by 1.
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (Sengir @ May 16 2014, 10:41 AM) *
Does it matter? Whether tracing one or four devices, the effort is trivial.


Well, it matters if you are pinging the target in 10 different locations and you only have, let's say 4 HTR teams to send and investigate.

And thanks for the clarification Tymeaus, I knew there was this option, just didn't remembered how it played.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
My Pleasure. smile.gif
Jaid
if you make a big enough splash, there may not be enough HTR teams in one company... but you can bet that, when necessary, contractors will be hired out (whether legitimately or through the shadows).

certainly, not even the megas are likely to keep 4 HTR teams ready to go at a moment's notice, but if it costs them 30,000 to call up an HTR team from lone star, and you're stealing a 200,000 nuyen mcguffin that represents a year of research (and is therefore probably worth millions of nuyen in research if not more), you can bet they'll be calling up those HTR teams beyond what they have on hand. also, while they may not have 4 at a moment's notice, it wouldn't surprise me if for a given region they have, say, 6 teams that are available but will be delayed by 10=15 minutes or something.

then there's the fact that after checking one location, each team can check another...

basically, shadowrun works because we want it to work, so we've decided that somehow or other it does, and we just need some vague justification why. which is fine, for most people; it's just a game. which works well enough for most people, at least.
Rubic
In 4th ed, the wireless is known to function as a Mesh Network, though probably more-accurately a MANET (Mobile Ad hoc NETwork) which we do have currently. This is not the most efficient method of wireless communications, but there are two conceits in SR4 and beyond that allow it to function sufficiently: Data size isn't generally an issue, and the previous Matrix crash made people hesitant to use the more-efficient non-mesh options.

The mesh is designed to be able to isolate another Data Nuke and minimize the damage such a program can cause. It can also, potentially, obscure the source of the transmission. It does not rely as heavily on "towers" for transmission of data; there may be a few expected jumps between nodes and towers, and that Fairlight Caliban isn't necessarily going to just roll over when Saeder Krupp says they want to tromp through to find the source of a transmission that was relayed. While the Stuffer Shack will let Aztechnology into its records easily, the Barrens Garage is under no such compulsion, and the City of Seattle and the UCAS are still upset that the Azzies didn't want to cooperate with their investigation of a break-in to the naval base several months back, and so the "public" security cameras are undergoing maintenance right now, and are unavailable.

There's many reasons why a company would have access to certain information, and so many more reasons why somebody would simply want to DENY them access in perfectly legitimate and/or political ways. It works out fine for the conceit of the setting, even if it's only that Marco, a security guard at MIT&T, is trying to use the information wanted by Sonny, the Ares rep, as leverage to force him to go out on a date.
kzt
QUOTE (RHat @ May 16 2014, 02:35 AM) *
For that matter, is there any reason VOIP can't be routed over something like TOR to obscure the user?

Sure. In theory. Don't know of anyone who has tried it, but it should work if you set it up right. Not sure whether what you get at the far end will still be understandable, as voice and video calls don't like latency or especially jitter.

Of course, who runs the TOR servers you are using? Are you SURE? Who is paying the bandwidth bill every month, and why?
http://lwn.net/Articles/249388/

And in SRworld, I'd expect that running that kind of service would result in "issues", because the tools you would use to find the servers can be used by security services too. But I'm sure there really wouldn't be any issues with using the really reliable ones with great bandwidth that live in the Renraku data centers.
Brazilian_Shinobi
QUOTE (Jaid @ May 16 2014, 12:39 PM) *
if you make a big enough splash, there may not be enough HTR teams in one company... but you can bet that, when necessary, contractors will be hired out (whether legitimately or through the shadows).

certainly, not even the megas are likely to keep 4 HTR teams ready to go at a moment's notice, but if it costs them 30,000 to call up an HTR team from lone star, and you're stealing a 200,000 nuyen mcguffin that represents a year of research (and is therefore probably worth millions of nuyen in research if not more), you can bet they'll be calling up those HTR teams beyond what they have on hand. also, while they may not have 4 at a moment's notice, it wouldn't surprise me if for a given region they have, say, 6 teams that are available but will be delayed by 10=15 minutes or something.

then there's the fact that after checking one location, each team can check another...

basically, shadowrun works because we want it to work, so we've decided that somehow or other it does, and we just need some vague justification why. which is fine, for most people; it's just a game. which works well enough for most people, at least.


Sure, no problem, but 10-15 minutes to set up people might be more than enough time to bug out. And if you take the trouble of setting up the decoys far between, they will take time to investigate each place. And even if they do have a flying vehicle to transport people to avoud traffic they might still take time to ask for flight control authorization to fly from X to Y, even more so if the shortest way passes through extra-territorial air space that does not belong to them.

I agree, shadowrun as a setting lies on the edge of disbelief, but data balkanization, politics and all this stuff mentioned above by me and others can turn the setting away from illogical zone to improbable zone.
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
Well, Spies and Saboteurs, even today, can make a very good living if they take care. SO, I do not see it is impossible, but you DO need to take precautions, and minimize your signature whenever you can.
Sengir
QUOTE (kzt @ May 16 2014, 07:03 PM) *
Of course, who runs the TOR servers you are using? Are you SURE? Who is paying the bandwidth bill every month, and why?
http://lwn.net/Articles/249388/

Well, that problem is more one of user stupidity: Transmit important stuff in plain text, and everybody along the way can read it wink.gif
kzt
Not just that, it allows traffic analysis. You now know one end of the connection. This is useful and possibly, depending on what else you have, enough to provide a whole lot of information.

Remember too that in SR encryption doesn't work. So you can't really do tor in SR.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012