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Shadows over Baltimore

Using Hacking Skill

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Using Hacking Skill

Aside from directly breaking into systems, there are many other potential uses for Hacking skill. When you are directly interacting with a device, make Hacking Tests using Hacking skill + Logic. If you are utilizing a hacking program, makes tests using Hacking skill + program rating. Following are a few specific Matrix actions that call for Hacking skill.


Crash Program/OS

You can attack active programs that don’t fight back in cybercombat (like IC or sprites do) with a Crash action. Want to disable a combat drone’s targeting program? Crash its Gunnery autosoft. Want to force a node to shut down? Crash its OS.


 To crash a particular program or device OS, make a Hacking + Attack (Firewall + System, 1 Combat Turn) Extended Test. When you reach the threshold, the target program crashes. Attempting to crash a node’s OS will automatically trigger an alert. Some programs that crash may automatically restart. If an OS crashes, the entire device shuts down and undergoes a reboot. Any users accessing the device are logged off and all active programs shut down. Rebooting takes a number of full Combat Turns equal to the System rating.


Personas, IC, agents, and sprites may not be crashed—they must be defeated in cybercombat. Some IC programs will attempt to crash a hacker’s programs rather than engaging in cybercombat.


Disarm Data Bomb

In order to disarm a Data Bomb program you must first have detected the bomb (see Matrix Perception. Once detected, the Data Bomb can be defused. Defusing is an Opposed Test pitting Hacking + Defuse vs. the Data Bomb Rating x 2. If you succeed, the Data Bomb is defused and the file or device may be ac cessed. If you fail, the Data Bomb activates, inflicting Rating boxes of Matrix damage. Depending upon its settings, the Data Bomb may also trigger an alert and/or destroy the file it was protecting.


Once defused, a Data Bomb program is inactive and no longer protects the file/device until it is restored.


Intercept Traffic

In order to intercept traffic between any two nodes or users, you must first have access to a node that the traffic passes through. For example, to intercept a comcall between a Mr. Johnson and his lackey, you either need to compromise one of their commlinks or gain access to the Matrix nodes that the comcall passes through (which could be a challenge unto itself ). Note that this action only applies to traffic passing through a wired medium; for wireless traffic, see Intercepting WirelessSignal. The gamemaster may also require you to succeed in a Computer + Browse Test to locate the traffic flow you seek to intercept.


To eavesdrop, make a Hacking + Sniffer Test. The hits you score are the thresholds for anyone to detect your tap with a Matrix Perception Test. Taps of this nature are difficult to detect. In order for someone to detect interception of his wired traffic, he must make a Matrix Perception Test in the specific node on which the Sniffer program is running.


Intercepted communications can be copied,/recorded without any additional tests. If the hacker wishes to block some parts of the traffic or add in his own, he must make a successful Computer + Edit Test (see Edit, p. 218). If the hacker wants to insert faked traffic, so that it looks like it comes from one party or the other, he must beat the recipient in an Opposed Test between his Sniffer + Hacking and the target’s Firewall + System.


Note that some communications may be encrypted. In this case, a Decrypt action is necessary to capture and decode the traffic.


Redirect Trace

A Redirect action comes in handy when someone is attempting to trace your originating node. By redirecting, you send a flurry of spoofed signals out in the hope of confusing the Track program. Each net hit scored on an

Opposed Hacking + Spoof vs. Computer + Track (System + Track if launched by a node) add 1 to the trace’s threshold. Note that you can only Redirect a trace in progress. You may take multiple Redirect actions against the same trace.



Spoof Command

Use the Spoof Command action to transmit forged instructions to an agent or drone controlled by another user. In order to spoof orders, you must first complete a successful Matrix Perception Test on the persona you are impersonating in order to gain its access ID.


To spoof commands, you must beat the agent or drone in an Opposed Test between your Hacking + Spoof and the target’s Pilot + Firewall. If successful, the target drone or agent believes the orders came from its controlling persona. .


Spoofing the Datatrail

Most users are oblivious to invisible datatrail logging; hackers, however, prefer to eliminate such traces. Any hacker worth his name will either spoof his commlink’s access ID on a regular basis; this requires a Hacking skill + Spoof program (2) Test. Alternately, you can modify the hardware itself to supply a bogus code with a Hardware + Logic (2) Test. Note that eliminating the access ID entirely is not an option, as most nodes will refuse access to unidentified devices; access ID must be spoofed instead.


Hackers & Editing

Note that many hackers use their Edit program to eliminate any records of their tampering or illicit activity on a node. To do this, the hacker first needs to locate the node’s security logs (requiring a Data Search action), and then edit them to remove all traces of his activity. Depending on your account privileges, Edit may also be used to create, change, or delete accounts on a particular node.

Hackers are fond on making back doors (hidden accounts) into systems they have hacked this way, so they can get inside later with having to hack in again. Edit may also be used to alter subscription lists (see Linking and Subscribing). Use Hacking skill + Edit for unauthorized file tampering.

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