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About Cyphire

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  1. Watch "80s Tech" on Modern Marvels. Also, the evolution of/into true metal (speed/thrash, and what would become death in another decade, and paved the way for one more offshot - symphonic melodic speed metal). Not to mention 80s pop, and, well... CyberPunk. lol! Oh, and fall of the iron curtain. (always nice to see communism fail) Disagree. Data terms are fixed units. Smart Phones are really more mini-cyberdecks without the VR interface. (as cyberdecks are really just smaller, more portable desktops with a VR interface) Holes for effect, but more implied than anything. And it was about looking like a bum than it was about looking sexy. Look at how much more common g-string bikinis are now for girls. Or Bikini tops with pants and sandals (think "Christie" from Tekken). Likewise, look at the acceptance of sandals and shorts for guys. Or guys going shirtless. Or the increasing commonality of shorter bathing suits ("box cut" trunks, for example) and the return of g-strings for guys (it's actually a male garment stolen by women, but nevermind lol) and other more "risque" lingerie made FOR men who are straight (and not wanting to be cross dressers). Some of that may be more or less known depending on the cirles one travels in (or how horny and lecherous their girlfriends are), but it's happening. It's showing skin with a purpose. It co-incides with the popularity of men taking care of themselves in particular, and physical health overall for everyone. More people of both genders now want to have hard bodies or wear next to nothing at the beach and be as sexy as possible. It's awesome. And in a future setting, particular a near future setting, I can only see that being increased. I agree with the apocalypse comment. I think it is happening, it is just happening slower than any one can imagine. I can't really complain about the 00's being boring cause when you have an apocalyptic even each generation(and sure it may not be a true apocalypse but they make it out that way anyways) of course you are going to get jaded and boring. [qupote]And yes Cyber Command is sec/net. Cyber-command? Not familiar. I'm referring more to London, total video/audio surveilance with facial recognition and automated tracking and recording of any and every one. Scary $hit. Supplemented with micro UAVs and the trend we see of normal cops becomming in effect SWAT, it's downright terrifying. And the increase of fingerprint scanning for things and RFID.... absolutely terrifying in every way. Nah, it's only an advanced Harrier which is a strike jet. And then, only the Marine version of it will have that. To me, and A/V is a car or van that hovers and flies purely by hover thrust, not a Harrier or Helicopter. (The Moller Air car is closer to an AV, but that's still just a VTOL fixed wing, not quite the same) Gold looks good on darker skin. Silver looks better on lighter skin. Chrome in particular is a very tough material and very durable. It's why many high end guns have the throat of the barrel chromed (inside the reciever where it realyl won't be seen). But whether it's sterling silver, polished aluminum or steel, actual chrome, polished nickel, or even just a mirrored plastic finish, on the right things it looks great. On a cheap plastic water gun, it's stupid. But on a .44 Mac a polished stainless finish is awesome. On rims a polished aluminum or chrome finish is killer. On shades mirrored is the only way to go (unless you're going the blues route, then it needs to be some thick black frames, with the glass so dark, they won't even know your name (to turn a phrase)). Chains and rings, sterling. Some anodized finsihes could be good there too, and for bracelets as well, but that could be called a "chrome color" (like a maglite). It's all in how it's done and what it's on I guess.
  2. Intereting, I had just made a thread like this in the general forum, not having looked in here. First off, I find it distressing to see things like "crap-tastci 80s stuff". In the first place, 80s is NOT crap-tastic in anyway. Secondly, there really isn't anything like that present. Only stuff we have, stuff that is still a projection, and stuff that never panned out. (can't call a data-term "80s stuff" as it never existed then, and is based on inventions of the 60s/70s and just never panned out with the way things developed - though an odd sort of idea too, it's gotta be a given that network access would grow through buisness offices and home users, and with ubiquitous cell phones long before it happened and even wireless cyberdeck access, how could they not simply go with ubiquitous access, wired or wirelss. I mean, they kinda did with the cyberdecks, but then added the equivalent of a internet payphone anyway, but I digress) "Pre-CP" is a good way to look at it. And yet, so much of what we have is equal to or beyond what is in RTG's setting. But some of the bigger stuff is still missing or in it's infancy. It's a weird mix. I find it very hard to envisage such an "undeground" in boring reality. Yes, we have some of the stuff (corporate head hunting, and fighting, etc), but not enough to make things interesting. We do (unfortunately) have the beginnings of a sec-net and total tracking/surveillance of the populace that would make V for Vendetta look like a nice thought, but it's not here, so if you jump to that you have to move forward, and, what kind of RP fun could be had in a setting like that (on-going I mean). We're still missing the AVs and TRUE, functional and commonplace man/machine interface (cyber/bio/etc), not to mention the attitude. The attitude NEVER struck me as 80s or 90s. 80s was all about getting more and being more futuristic. 90s was all about lib-tard hippy peace-nik trash. 00s was just boring (apathetic since we just got newer shinier versions of stuff we already had or could see coming a mile away). You almost need an apocalypse of some kind to get it to work, and I'd see style as being a projection of what we see around us now - both genders showing more and more skin more often, both genders now interested in looking hot and stylish, sex more and more open and prevalent etc. Not going back to combat boots, jeans and trench coats to sweat your ass off, hide your body (and look insecure about it in the process) and be a walking target for security and punks. Arms, legs and feet would be exposed as often as possible and at times mid-riffs, even entire upper bodies, and surprisingly common, no clothing at all (in specific areas). Combine that with killer chrome (shades, jewelry, gear, etc) and even possibly outlandish makeup (or hair or tattoos or "tech" clothing, or what-have-you). And I'm rambling..... Basically, I see this as either not CP yet, or a dissapointing pre-step of it. Not actually there (when one looks at vital tech that is missing), yet close enough that it makes it hard to play the game. It's actually making me more open to V3 now, as horrid a thought as that is. lol
  3. I know there is at least one bit of artwork that shows t-shirt screens (or more? been a while since I dug through the source material), but perhaps clothing is the wrong place to look - at least right now... http://www.concept-phones.com/?s=bracelet+phone When I found this old thread, I immediately thought of a phone concept I'd seen that was a bracelet and a phone. That isn't the one I thought of, but it's the same basic idea. And quite cool. There's a lot of other concepts along the same lines too. Oh, and in the realm of flexible displays, remember the guide from the Hitchhiker's movie? How it folded up like a book, but when open was one long screen? That was way cool. Another idea for something like this would be clam-shell phones that open up into mini-tablets.
  4. Pardon the thread necro. I've been re-lurking here a bit and digging through this sub-forum and found this thread I made back in 2007. When I saw that article, I was stoked. As I said, I've been waiting for holographic storage to come to market ever since I first heard about it in the early 90s on the old Discovery Channel show "The Next Step" ( <- not the crystal storage segment, but still a cool clip with show intro, great blast from the past). To finally see a hint that it was happening was awesome. Of course, in the ensuing years, I got side-tracked by day to day life and forgot all about this. Last week, I was watching Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy movie with a friend, and when Zaphod whipped out the red cube with the video about Deep Thought, I made much the same comment about how I'm still waiting for it and really would like to see it. Then I find this. lol So I decided to do some digging. It's not mainstream, that's for sure. But it looks like the company did get off the ground and get some products out. However, their website ( http://www.inphase-tech.com/defaultedcd.html?tnn=1 ) does not appear to have been updated since 2007, and the places they claim you can buy their products don't seem to make any mention of them at all. A bit disappointed. Seems magnetic media simply won't die. It's like Jason (Vorhees), every time you think it's going to die, it comes back stronger than before. InPhase was talking about 1.6TB per cartridge by 2010. LTO5 was released in 2010 and holds 1.5TB native per tape. In a physical form factor that originally was 100MB native. And of course I've heard the demise of hard drives heralded several times already. (though SSDs are finally gaining some traction, I think it will be a LONG time before spinning media goes away) ::: sigh ::: Maybe someday I'll have my data crystals. :/
  5. Cyphire

    Suzuki Kizashi 3

    Heh, the . I was wrong about my previous comment, I found the 5th Gear segment, the Gallardo just BARELY lost (by a fraction of a second) to the bike. But a Mucielago LP640 would be a different matter, I'm sure. And that Atom smoked t he bike (by 4 seconds), and yet still came in just behind an Enzo on the lap board. I do know what you mean though. In many ways, it's the ultimate form of transport (a bike). An engine, with just enough wheels and gear to control and move it (and you), and nothing more. On a logical level, it appeals greatly to me. But the very thing that makes it so appealing makes it utterly impractical. Wind, rain, snow, cold.... we get all of that around here. And then if you do ride it on a warm day, all suited up, you sweat your ass off when you reach your destination, and are very limited in terms of style (because of your bike suit). But honestly, when it comes to performance and such... the ability to slide between traffic doesn't really come into play. And cars can and do offer that electric response to all control input - brakes that want to detach your retinas, throttle that wants to snap your neck, and steering that wants to rip your face off. We have a back road here that is like a mini-Nürburgring (windy, bumpy, and treacherous) and my car soaks it up with aplomb, responds instantly to my commands, and gives an incredible rush. I'd never take a bike through there at speed. The bumps would launch you into a stone wall, tree line, or into the rocky creek.
  6. Cyphire

    Suzuki Kizashi 3

    5th Gear ran a sport bike against a car (think it was a Lambo of some kind), both piloted by professionals, and over-lapped the footage and the car won. Cars have more grip (4 traction patches vs 2, and each of the 4 are larger, means more braking and cornering force can be applied, and all the engines power can be used for acceleration [without flipping over]), are more stable, are safer, and are all weather capable. Personally, I think it's the sensation of speed that is what grabs you. It's a sense of connection and exposure that is unrivaled by any car. But in fact, the absolute performance potential is lower on a bike. A properly set up car will respond instantly to your commands and try to throw you around the cabin if you are too rough. And the lighter and smaller the car, the more agile it feels and the more connected you feel. I rode in a co-workers MX-5 and I had to describe it as a 4-wheel motorcycle. (But if I was to buy a small roadster it would be a Solstice GXP. Though personally I'm more at home in bigger cars - bigger cars with big V8s. lol)
  7. Cyphire

    Suzuki Kizashi 3

    Um.... you say that like it's a bad thing.
  8. As I've mentioned before, the VR aspect of the net will be there, and be important. A lot of "networking" goes on in bars and night clubs, as well as on MySpace and Facebook - combine them and have a virtual speak easy. Here netrunners will trade info on known bugs and exploits, new tools, new sites, trade files directly, and also play, chat and hang out, building reps. This aspect of a Netrunner should be similar to a Fixer's network. It has to be built and maintained. All characters can benefit (or suffer) from a rep, but Fixers and Netrunners almost need it. (the rare exception would be corporate IT geeks, they get the tools and info without having to go to the underground) One aspect of that would be nifty things like this - http://www.computerworld.com/action/articl...mp;pageNumber=1 Making the right connections could get you the info that such things are even possible, and then how to get the tools ya need to do it. Certain mega-high end security installations might have means of avoiding or defeating this potential hole, but most places probably would not bother. In fact, even the megas may not bother as it comes down to physical security.
  9. Houses and cities at sea? Reminded me of this - http://www.freedomship.com/
  10. De-Humidifiers. AC units do much the same thing. But I have to wonder about the wisdom of doing this though - it has to come from somewhere, and I know it's humidty, but that's my point, it's gonna dry out the air and have other effects - if taken to a mass scale that is.
  11. http://www.computerworld.com/action/articl...mp;pageNumber=1 (emphasis added) The quality may not be there just yet, and they may be $5G at the moment, but, if they are looking at $1G by 2012, we could probably be safe in assuming that the higher price point will bring with it higher quality. So the 0.1% or 0.2% quality of the highend machines might be in the $1000 range by 2020-ish (if not less cost). That rocks, I want one so freakin' bad. But it does raise some interesting questions - if the tech for metal RP'ing makes it to the home, along with the increase in quality - that could mean home-based weapon-smithing. I'm sure the socialists and fascists won't like that in the least. What would it do to the economy? Why buy something if you can just print it yourself? Sure, not everything would be possible, but a lot of things. The only saving grace would be that modern toys are electrionic. But figurines, models, dice, and almost anything mechanical could be made at home. Also wonder how it's going to re-shape the world of CP (2020).
  12. Interesting read DS, thanks for the link. I can see the resemblence, but I think it's more a case of life imitating art unintentionally. RTG's model is more or less an implementation of Gibson, which seems to be loosely based on BBS's (how much he actually knew vs simply made up, I dunno). Either way though, the parallel is interesting food for thought. And one _could_ find a way to make that work, but there are a few problems. I mention this not to be argumentative, but because we're talking about realism in this thread. The MMO hacks are really little more than a combination of "gaming the game", playing with the network traffic, and running complex secondary programs that can interpret what's going on and send input signals back to the machine. Gaming the game is taking advantage of flaws, loopholes and other weaknesses in the games reality. An example I'm familiar with would be IL2 Sturmovik. (If this makes no sense to anyone, I apologize in advance lol) Trim (which is fine control of flight surfaces) was able to be mapped to a slider (basically an analog axis). This is realistic. However, the devs did not implement trim properly for many aircraft (due to the develepment history of the application, long story), part of which was the speed with which it reacted to analog input (particularly vs digital input). This lead to people mapping elevator trim to sliders and using that flaw to work around limitations placed on control stiffness at speed and to essentiall make "bat turns". Another example is when someone found that switching to manual prop pitch control and fiddling with it they could coax more speed out of a plane than could be had with it on auto (which is the realistic state in this case). Both are inherent flaws in the code. This is similar to buffer overruns, but the difference is they can be found by twiddling and playing. The macro process can work on a number of ways, if you know enough about the client and the network traffic, you could work from that and know what was going on and blindly send input signals. Or, you could just send blind input signals and in some cases that could work. Or, you could even pull the source code of the client apart and modify one to let you do much of what that guy talked about (like the auto Exp macro where it ran in circles and gained exp). IL2 has an output that was meant to be used to external (hardware or software) guages for simpit builders. It also accepted scripted inputs though, and you could create a feedback loop. This began being used for testing. Here again, it's a "hack" because you could eek max potential out of a plane for a specific thing by using a glorifed "macro" (although in practice it offered no advantage in combat). However, you were still limited to the internal flight models. Then one day someone with insider info eventually found a way to crack the encrypted .sfs files and manipulate them. Since network play had no file checking involved, and the host systems did not control everything for the client, the network efficient distributed computing model showed it's flaw. Here was a Matrix analog. Because the client controlled so much of what happened, extreme cheating was now possible. But in none of those cases, or in any MMO, are you getting access to real data, nor are you dealing with real security. They are games, and people are abusing the rules and other players to get ahead, but they are not actually cracking the system itself with any aim beyond manipulating the very same system (meaning focusing on the "VR" part and cheating in there, rather than using it to gain secret documents and such). Every company would have to agree to place their data on an unsecure system that they did not control in order for that EQ metaphor to work. If you are hacking a company, you want their internal data. Their FTP files are irrelevant, email maybe but that's more complex, and web stuff won't be vital. You need to either VPN through the firewall, gain access behind the firewall, or use a worm/trojan to remote control a machine inside the firewall and punch an outbound port through it for you to go back down. (however more and more firewalls are defaulting to total lockdown both ways and you have to manually open ports in each direction to prevent that very thing) Even being inside doesn't mean much. We have open communication on our network, anyone can pick up a DHCP address and ping servers and surf the net. But they still won't have access to network shares or devices because they are not logged on and granted a security token by the Domain Controllers. They could try to run a packet sniffer, but they won't get much. Switches are mini-routers that build a route table, learning which addresses are "on" which physical ports. So they hand off the data from one expressly to the one that needs it. Not like hubs which broadcast everthing. And then of course, aside from having to "be in the right place" so to speak, they'd also need to be on at the right time. But this involves our on-site physical security, so it's even less insecure than it might seem. And I could just as easily change that in any number of ways, making it impossible for a foriegn system to send or recieve packets inside my network. Here again, I'm not trying to teach people IT, or give lectures, or argue. I'm just talking about the state of things and where they are headed. The EQ paradigm could potentially happen across the net on a generic level, which is what I was talking about above, a "virtual representation" of what the internetwork itself. However, even if your "character" went to a companies giuld/storefront/whatever, you would still have all the same things in place, a firewall protecting servers, servers set up to be at least semi-sacrificial and containing data that, with the exception of email, would be non-vital (and to get email, you need account info of the person's you want to read - even a Domain Admin can't read other mail boxes without first changing the password of the account and then logging on as that account). So the VR wrapper won't buy or grant anything (in terms of gaining access to company secrets ala-Gibson-ian netrunning).
  13. Still on that emotional surge. If you had read what I wrote, I mentioned you as a point of reference in why I got to thinking about this. I t was NOT a jab at you. And the comments on the Matrix? Just like the comments on the RTG/Gibsonian model. About those and those alone, NOT you. Never said you were wrong for doing it your way.... which would be why I started a new thread rather than dive into yours, ya know? And for the record, my job is actually rather interesting. It's "boring" only when nothing is going on. But those times give me a chance to hang out here. lol Personally, I see a way to have the best of both worlds. I've acknowledged the sexiness of the VR model, AND I've acknowledged the cumbersome nature of the RTG rules, so I actually agree with you. And that's why I want the VR aspects, yet the simplicity, however I also crave realism, which I know not everybody does and that's fine. I just wanted to provide another method that is quick and easy, while also realistic at the same time.
  14. Destacado and I were talking and we strayed into netrunning, and he linked me to a thread by Cit X on making the net all Matrix. It pretty apparent that Cit X just wanted that thread to be about making that idea work, so I decided to start a new one, and toss my view out there for discussion. Before I start my rant/diatribe/novel, let me say that I am in IT. I am the CP equivalent of a SysOp, the anti-NetRunner. My official title is Network Administrator, but I really over see everyhing (including inbound security). First a note on the Matrix, since I mentioned it. It's impossible. The idea is that people are in a simulation they don't know is a simulation, so they are bound by the limits of said simulation, but those who know it's not real, can do whatever they can imagine. Anyone who's done online gaming knows that you can't base things off the client. Cheating runs rampant and clearly the machines want to keep people in check. So it would be a locked sim, with all rules and settings and variable being server-side. Meaning it's using a central reality and not basing things on the human brain - that's just an input device, nothing more. As such, it would be like any modern sim. You can know that you plane and virtual pilot aren't real, but if the code says you can only take 5 Gs before blacking out, or at 15 your plane loses it's wings, or that at 1000kmh (IAS) your plane loses important bits..... it's going to happen, no matter what you do with the controls. The Matrix would be no different at all. So the whole "mind over matter" explanation is bunk and everything falls on it's face, except for those who don't understand computers at all. Anyway.... Back to the point, that kinda goes along with this because the paradigms and metaphors and actions possible are all about understanding. The Gibson paradigm is HUGELY appealing. You almost want to _will_ it to work. And we can see that here even. The notion of rebel console jockeys, using ICE crackers to slowly meld with the system ICE and dodging attacks from said ICE and fightng back.... and the whole danger of brain death for screwing up, it gives an element of elite-ness to the character concept, and as computers are so integral to everything, the "netrunner" is almost required for good CP. (even if just occasionally present) However..... as much as we want it to work, it just can't, and won't. Gibson wrote Neuromancer on a typewriter and knew nothing about computers. And in that sense, it's downright amazing how much he got right and how much he influenced things. RTG's net is just an exention of that. And you can see the old BBS influence. Back then, you would wardial, find a computer, and since the software was fairly generic, you'd be faced with a logon prompt. It's easy to say "ok, if we _see_ everything virtually represented, then we don't have to wardial, and the logon is a 'codegate', get past that and you're in the system. If this was futuristic, it too would be VR inside", and so it goes. Trouble is, BBSs are all but extinct, and modern network security has gone way past that stage. You will almost never even see a logon prompt unless you have inside info, and then there are dozens of hurdles, but we'll get back to that. Let's assume the internet as it stands was VR. You would see servers, and only servers. They might be organized in cities and neighborhoods (or blocks), representing top level and sub-level domains (for example, the .com TLD and the microsoft sub-level domain), each sub-level (block or neighborhood) would have several servers - web, email, FTP, etc. All those servers would appear to be exposed. But they would only accept and respond to very specific data, because they are all behind firewalls. What you see would be a virutal representation OF a virtual representation. So you could ONLY request web pages from a web-server, for example, not ping it or try to access it's file system. The firewall would be invisible. If you threw a ping attack at the domain you might see from the results that there is a firewall present. Even possibly find it's IP. This would be like throwing sand and seeing an the hint of the wall by how the sand reacts, but it settles and you can't see it anymore again. (of course a properly configured one will be in stealth mode and not respond to anything at all, so even that metaphor would not work) And even though openings for published servers are still holes, they are holes that allow only certain types of traffic through that specific port. So for example, only HTTP traffic through port 80, and outboung ONLY to the server. If it's sensitive enough, it would even require authentication even to get that far. So in short, no code-gate or ICE breakers. The most you could do is try to find a firewall IP, then run known attacks and hope one sticks. Chances are it won't and more than likely you'll only crash it - if you manage anything at all. But let's assume for the sake of argument you find a good old logon prompt. Now what? Here again, there is no way to "attack" this. It will accept ONLY alpha-numerics. And you will need at least a username, and password. (it may be set up to require a domain which could either be a drop down, or require you to enter it, which ramps up the difficulty) Even if you choose a known default name, like Administrator, that account may be disabled. And even if it's not, you still need to guess a password, which could be of variable length, and contain a mix of cases and alpha-numerics. If you had years, you might be able to run a brute force attack against it and get in. But it would be taken offline for upgrades or repairs before you managed that. Though it's a moot point, a properly configured system would lock you out after a few failed attempts, usually 3, and the complexity is such that you won't guess it in 3. On that alone, the CP2020/Gibsonian paradigm is shot down. But there's more. Let's just say it's all visual and you DO get past that logon prompt (which wouldn't even be there for you in most cases) - now what? Can you hide from roving internal monitors and dodge attacks from system ICE? No, unfortunately not. Picture the network beyond the firewall as a sub-city. Each building is a server. Floating HIGH above you, overseeing everyting, and KNOWING you are there, are 2 or more eyes like the eye of Sauron, attached to 2 or more servers (Domain Controllers). These oversee all traffic the network, they grant or deny all permission to access, or even see, shares (inside the "buildings", ie, servers). So if you move past the "codegate", your presence is known and tracked. But even if you want to say the camera moving around is clientside, anytime you try to access the server, it will be known. And then, once you get into a server, the file system knows about ALL access. The metaphor of ducking around a corner won't work. If you want data, you have to request it from the server, which gets it via the file system. It _knows_, period. On a properly configured system, this is logged, and in some cases, illegal access attempts can trigger alerts straight away, or at most, when a monitoring app comes across that entry in the logs. Invisibility? Another nice visual metaphor. Trouble is, if the server/file system can't see you, they can't send the data to you. Likewise, if you COULD hide like that, then everything could be hidden FROM you too. Ok, so attacks then? An attack would be a counter hack. Everything runs through firewalls these days. And if you were at risk of dying, you would sure as hell run a local firewall. That would take too much time. The target system only wants to ID and block you, so you can be retrieved later in real-space. The ID'ing is instant because the protocol requires a source address on all data packets. If you spoof this, your data goes off into the ether, and never gets to you, which doesn't do you much good. Even if they decide to attack, you won't be able to dodge. Everything would be instant success. Picture a cone, like an old school cheer-leading type megaphone, or a road cone, or a paper cone, whatever, something with a big hole and a small hole at the other end. Now at the big end, on the plane of the bg end opening, is your avatar, attatched to a stick, which runs through the small end, and is held and controlled by your hand. Now this is pointing straight up. The system drops a flaming marble on you trying to hit your avatar, you move it, it misses - it then hits the cone, and travels down to the end, burning your hand. As noted above, the data has to go somewhere. That would be the source IP, in that case, the small end, and your hand. And of course the whole brain death thing couldn't happen. In a lawless society, corps would want to avoid wars and lynch mobs, in a law based societed, they want to avoid lawsuits. So the neural processor would have a buffer to prevent damage, the deck would have a buffer, and in all liklihood, so would hte ISP. So cyberspace combat is blown out of the water too. On top of all that, given how draconian the laws are now, and how much they are likely to be in that setting, it doesn't matter how many machines you remote through, a path WILL be traced to the last machine in the chain, the place where you physically sat. Better hope it is not linked to you in any way. There's always going to be misconfigured and exposed machines, so there will always be script-kiddies, and that could take on the visual metaphor and sorta work, if you tried hard enough, but for systems that are acutally worth getting into, scripted attacks will be staved off by staff, proper configuration, updates, logging and monitors. EDIT - dang this forum, I wanted to split this into multiple posts for ease of reading, but you can't reply to yourself without it apending the previous post ===================================================================== So where does that leave us then? Is hacking impossible? No. It is not impossible, and it still goes on today. Just not with the frequency, success rate, or method that Hollywood and the news media and politicans want you to beleive. Hacking is, and was, primarily Social Engineering. The one weak point in all that I talked about is people. If you can make them beleive you are someone you aren't, you can trick them into giving up account info and other things. This has taken many forms - Dumpster diving to dig through a companies trash for vital clues Lying to people pretending to be authority figures (a boss, someone from IT, etc) Wining and dining important company people Kidnapping and threatening important company people Getting a job as a janitor or some-such to have internal network access, and be able to look for post-it notes with account info Breaking and Entering for the same purpose Breaking and Entering to steal the computer or drives you need to access them in your own systems (where encryption cracking can actually be done) Phishing (same as lying to people, but generally done via email, rather than the phone or in person) Beyond that, your only options are to try to find buffer overruns (but generally you need inside info on the app in question), or Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This will not change. Systems will only get more secure as time moves on. Security runs from policy, to Domains, to OS, to Firewall - all of those will continue to improve. In fact, even today we could make totally impenetrable systems - EXCEPT for the users. And it's the users that not only provide that exploitable hole, they also end up forcing security levels down (user-friendli-ness and all), but not enough to really open things up. For all practical intents and purposes, well configured (and usable) networks and systems today ARE impenetrable without inside assistance. ===================================================================== Ok, and so for CyberPunk? Combine it and expand it. What I mean by that is, I figure the net will gain VR. It already almost has it - Second Life, MMOGs, etc. Just need a Glo-go rig and you're set. And work is being done on functional glo-go rigs, 'trode sets, and BCIs (CP calls them DNIs). On top of that flight and racing sims are working on 6DoF for camera control (TrackIR), utilizing existing LCD and CRT monitors. Combine that with an HMD and you're in VR. Those will only expand. Forums like these will have VR chat rooms, virtual night-clubs and such, if you will. Telepresence will be more prevalent for buisness use as well. However, not every one of the "billions of legitimate operators" will need a VR rig. As useful as the metaphor is for user-friendliness, most applications just work too well with a keyboard, mouse and monitor system (if nothing else it allows you to get up and wander easily, and in an office that is often necessary). so non-VR will still be common for a LONG time. And non-VR info (say web pages) could still be viewed from within a VR rig - instead of browser sessions open on the task-bar you'd have floating windows surrounding you. You could then seamlessly enter the full VR environments from there. Beyond that, as others have pointed out elsewhere, there will always be an underlying Windows Explorer (shell) style interface and a terminal interface. They are powerful tools that don't need fancy VR wrappers and in fact that would just be pointless complexity. So you'd have that mix, you could access the net from a current style KVM interface, a cellphone, or a VR interface, but only certain parts would be VR only. Hacking would be done just like it is today. This has a happy side effect of keeping the netrunner in real-time, and when BnE is required, places him with the party. That solves the major issue of netrunning taking up all the time and bringing everything else to a grinding halt. Also, it virtually eliminates a rule set being necessary. But it does mean some more work for the GM, however it becomes part of the story, and even non-netrunners in the group can perform the social engineering, Mission Impossible style. So just as you would plant clues for a non-hacking/netrun story, so to would you for a netrun story. For the nitty gritty - Skill checks/Rules : Most skill checks will be for non-computer skills. If they wish to write a worm/trojan (to hack from the inside out, about the only way through a firewall without first getting a username and pw and VPN info [iF there IS a VPN setup] from users via Social Engineering), or anything else, it's just a programming skill check. Pick a difficulty you feel appropriate and roll it, then wait the time. When it comes to cracking encrypted drives (say they stole the drive and slaved it to a PC of their own), maybe require a skill check to determine what file system it is (unless they checked before removing it, which they should have), and then just roll the dice to see if his app can crack it, then pick a time that seems right, and that's that. You could always involve some data corruption in the process if you want to add spice, just don't go overboard. The only other means of "hacking" that would be relevant in CP would be packet sniffing. With managed switches, routers, V-Lans, and integral encryption, this will get more and more difficult to pull off (and you can't vampire tap ethernet cables anymore either). But, that isn't to say impossible. They would need to do legwork - Do they (the target) have WiFi enabled on the site? Can that be cracked? If so, score. If not, what are you looking for? Internal data, or vital internet traffic. Who is their ISP? Where are the hard lines? If it's internal data (not just user info) they want, which PC or Server inside has the data on it? Where is it located? Find a way to tap that systems network cable without being caught and you can record all the packet transmission to and from that server and find the user info needed to go back and access it later. Packet sniffers are basic network tools. The packets should be encrypted. So you'll need a de-cryption app, and them a basic "hacking" or "comp op" skill check (shoudln't be much, say 20-ish, modify as desired) to piece the data together and then random chance (weighted by your preference) to actually have what was sought. So there's really not a lot of rules to worry about, it just takes some prep on your (the GM's) part (and ever kind of story will require that, that's what GMing is lol), and a lot of effort on the party's part. But nothing complex to memorize or anything. As for the classic "Netrun" - While I've outlined why it can't happen, I still figure netrunners to fancy themselves a breed apart. They will want to be on the cutting edge. So they will have a heavy VR presence in underground circles. They will build and maintain reps, connections, trade info, and generally hang out and have fun. You can still use CP2020 net combat rules for VR games for Netrunners, and really expand that in any way you want to. (I haven't really delved into that too much, though I will keep it - it's just not for acutall hacking) <disclaimer> There is some stuff I know I haven't covered, but I'm NOT trying to teach you how to hack. lol It's enough to allow for a comprehensive CP internet/hacking rules system. Just make the players work for it, and if they try to do much remotely, they will be nailed. Just like in real life - don't hack the internet, it's not worth the risk. </disclaimer>
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