Help me get a feel for hacking

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Fishmonger Fishmonger's picture
Help me get a feel for hacking

My 2e campaign is one session old so far and I'd like to get a better feel for hacking. In particular, the party is infiltrating a mysterious base and I'm wondering what a typical security setup would be. Right now I have the following facts and questions:

  • The Mesh in the base is a local one. It's far from anything else and the base is basically a Faraday cage.

  • The doors are hardwired, so they can't be hacked through the Mesh and need to be messed with physically. The same with sensors; since the base is permanent this would be fairly simple to set up when they built the place.

  • Would pretty much everything (cameras, doors, terminals) only be hardwired or would they communicate through the Mesh as well?

  • Can the hacker easily find the main server on the Mesh? I'm guessing that in a reasonably secure base the main server wouldn't have an obvious Mesh ID. Would there just be a mess of Mesh IDs to blindly sort through or would there be a way of figuring out the main server's ID (possibly by looking at how much traffic is being sent through a single ID -- the server has to be the busiest thing around)?

  • Would a private Mesh in a secret base have a VPN? I guess this depends on how paranoid the setup is.

Here's the main question that I have, as I can see this sort of situation happening fairly often. The party surprised a couple of case morphs in a lab and didn't want them to send out a distress call over their Mesh inserts. What's the best way to do this? Jamming signals (p263) would be one way but as it's in the System Subversion section it looks like it the system would need to be hacked to do this (correct me if I'm wrong!). In the Espionage & Security Tech section (p340-341) there are prisoner masks, but that would require more time than the prisoners would need to send out a signal. A ripper device wouldn't help, as Mesh inserts aren't motes and it would burn out all the PCs' minor devices as well. Would immediately shooting the targets with jammer ammo (p211) be the best way of dealing with this? What other options would there be?

Decimator Decimator's picture
Fishmonger wrote:The doors

Fishmonger wrote:
  • The doors are hardwired, so they can't be hacked through the Mesh and need to be messed with physically. The same with sensors; since the base is permanent this would be fairly simple to set up when they built the place.
  • Hardwired and isolated mean different things. How do the inhabitants open the doors?

    Fishmonger wrote:
  • Would pretty much everything (cameras, doors, terminals) only be hardwired or would they communicate through the Mesh as well?
  • Again, hardwired doesn't mean isolated. How do the inhabitants access these devices?

    Fishmonger wrote:
  • Can the hacker easily find the main server on the Mesh? I'm guessing that in a reasonably secure base the main server wouldn't have an obvious Mesh ID. Would there just be a mess of Mesh IDs to blindly sort through or would there be a way of figuring out the main server's ID (possibly by looking at how much traffic is being sent through a single ID -- the server has to be the busiest thing around)?
  • You can find the server either by accessing a device connecting to it(and being a standard user would be enough, you won't need special rights to see connections) or you can passively watch traffic and have a pretty good idea.

    Fishmonger wrote:
  • Would a private Mesh in a secret base have a VPN? I guess this depends on how paranoid the setup is.
  • What do you think VPNs do?

    Fishmonger wrote:
    Here's the main question that I have, as I can see this sort of situation happening fairly often. The party surprised a couple of case morphs in a lab and didn't want them to send out a distress call over their Mesh inserts. What's the best way to do this? Jamming signals (p263) would be one way but as it's in the System Subversion section it looks like it the system would need to be hacked to do this (correct me if I'm wrong!). In the Espionage & Security Tech section (p340-341) there are prisoner masks, but that would require more time than the prisoners would need to send out a signal. A ripper device wouldn't help, as Mesh inserts aren't motes and it would burn out all the PCs' minor devices as well. Would immediately shooting the targets with jammer ammo (p211) be the best way of dealing with this? What other options would there be?

    The best option is to plan ahead and disable their mesh inserts. Second best is to surprise them with prisoner hoods before they can call for help. Jamming of any sort is a poor third option, because jamming works by drowning out the wirelss signals so no communication is possible. This has the side effect of screaming "I'M HERE" to the entire local mesh.

    Fishmonger Fishmonger's picture
    Thanks for the insights,

    Thanks for the insights, Decimator.

    Decimator wrote:
    Hardwired and isolated mean different things. How do the inhabitants open the doors?
    I guess either Mesh control or some other sort of key (loosely defined, several are mentioned in the book) both have flaws in that the Mesh can be hacked but the hardware can be physically messed with too.

    Decimator wrote:
    What do you think VPNs do?
    In-game they give a -30 to sniffing attempts, so I guess it would be a matter of how paranoid the base is. I suppose everything on a local Mesh could be on a VPN; it just felt odd to have the entire set of devices on a VPN rather than a subset, but there's no reason it can't be set up that way.

    Decimator wrote:
    The best option is to plan ahead and disable their mesh inserts. Second best is to surprise them with prisoner hoods before they can call for help. Jamming of any sort is a poor third option, because jamming works by drowning out the wirelss signals so no communication is possible. This has the side effect of screaming "I'M HERE" to the entire local mesh.
    True enough. It makes for tougher infiltrations if every time you unexpectedly bump into someone they can get a warning out before you can do anything about it. I guess it's a good idea to hack the server first and keep a lid on this.
    Decimator Decimator's picture
    Fishmonger wrote:Thanks for

    Fishmonger wrote:
    Thanks for the insights, Decimator.
    Decimator wrote:
    Hardwired and isolated mean different things. How do the inhabitants open the doors?
    I guess either Mesh control or some other sort of key (loosely defined, several are mentioned in the book) both have flaws in that the Mesh can be hacked but the hardware can be physically messed with too.

    Yep, so however they open the doors is an infilitrator's avenue of attack.

    Fishmonger wrote:
    Decimator wrote:
    What do you think VPNs do?
    In-game they give a -30 to sniffing attempts, so I guess it would be a matter of how paranoid the base is. I suppose everything on a local Mesh could be on a VPN; it just felt odd to have the entire set of devices on a VPN rather than a subset, but there's no reason it can't be set up that way.

    A secure network, if any wireless network can be called such, will be both encrypted and certificate-verified. Their devices will be authenticating against some authoritative server, rather than being able to simply connect to an open network. This can still be attacked, but it's not as simple as just breaking encryption on the network. A VPN is largely redundant under these conditions, and is typically used when routing private traffic over a public network.

    Fishmonger wrote:
    Decimator wrote:
    The best option is to plan ahead and disable their mesh inserts. Second best is to surprise them with prisoner hoods before they can call for help. Jamming of any sort is a poor third option, because jamming works by drowning out the wirelss signals so no communication is possible. This has the side effect of screaming "I'M HERE" to the entire local mesh.
    True enough. It makes for tougher infiltrations if every time you unexpectedly bump into someone they can get a warning out before you can do anything about it. I guess it's a good idea to hack the server first and keep a lid on this.

    You've just stumbled across the reason a high-vis vest and clipboard are better infiltration tools than a cloak and dagger.