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Them pesky SW Interwebs?

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#1 TalkingMuffin



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:32 PM

So, we're playing and my friend wants his techie to use his datapad to hack into a shop's computer remotely, from a few blocks away. 

And I freeze thinking, "Can he do that?!", realizing I have no clue and am probably brain-farting any references to the Internet in SW. I mean, there's the HoloNet, but that's not what we're dealing with here.

I mean, why wouldn't there be, right? But I can't for the life of me think of an instance where there's a "decker" in SW.

Any help with my gastrointellectual distress?

#2 Northman



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

Excellent question.

It might be specialized equipment, but on the other hand it might not. Still, in the Clone Wars series there are a lot of situations where they jam transmissions and sensors - usually just by a random clone or main character tapping some buttons on their wrist mounted datapad. A ship's functions is also transfered to a datapad for remote control at some point. At the very least it speaks of some sort of wireless networking being present on global and local scales, but to what extent and for which functions other than communication I wouldn't know.

But I can't recall any example from the films. Perhaps even the contrary. R2 is always plugging into terminals on capital ships, at least. However, that might be a special case in order to diminish the risks of exactly what your player is trying to do (Battlestar Galactica, anyone?). A city or house might not have the same precautions. Though, as we well know: Lack of any examples of such from the films is likely due to the Internet not really being what it is now back then. The prequels would thusly have to accomodate for that - though even if not, it wouldn't matter much to the story told whether it's an Internet like ours there or not. That fact is more interesting in a setting like this, though.

#3 gribble



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:52 PM

There is this:




Of note is the following:

It should also be noted that the information transmitted via the HoloNet was almost impossible to be captured by spies, thanks to s-thread's incredibly narrow dimensions. The only way to do so was to attach a listening device to the sender, the relay station, or the destination itself.


All instances of slicing in the SW canon I can think of involve physical access to the system, though that could be a holdover of the fact that the source material (mainly WEG) was likely inspired by 80s concepts of hacking from various cyberpunk sources.

I'm not aware of any remote/network access, beyond jamming (which arguably only needs access tothe frequencies being used by the wirless transmission rather than the network itself), but then I don't have an exhaustive knowledge of the SW canon.

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#4 TalkingMuffin



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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:11 PM

Maybe this'll be addressed in the core under slicing. Which, by the way, is such a cool term for hacking. :)

#5 ErikB



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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:04 AM

Northman said:

But I can't recall any example from the films.


Artoo does shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level remotely.

And the rebel base know that Luke has switched off his targetting computer, so they are clearly getting telemetry from the fighters.


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#6 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:21 AM

ErikB said:

Northman said:

But I can't recall any example from the films.


Artoo does shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level remotely.

But not wirelessly, which is a distinction worth making.

Also, the Death Star had a central computer, which I wouldn't assume is a standard thing. You might be able to plug in somewhere on Corruscant and slice another system, but I doubt you'd find that interconnectivity on the Outer Rim.

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#7 Inquisitor Tremayne

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 05:53 AM

I treat the holonet as such:

During the Rebellion Era, the holonet is strictly for imperial military use only.  However, in order for most systems, who rely on holonet news broadcasts, the holonet is still available to most worlds.  However, because it is controlled by the military the information is heavily edited to benefit the Empire or news stories are often retracted if they show the Empire in a negative light.  

It is primarily a communications network, not an internet.

However, in the games I run there is typically a local internet on most worlds which basically functions like the real world internet.  There are also public kiosks that anyone can use to access the local internet.  The difference being it is typically much slower than the holonet.

#8 riplikash



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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:07 AM

Wireless networks do seem to exist in Star Wars (at least in the expanded universe) but are avoided in many cases due to security concerns (just as in the real world).

So here are a few tips for handling wireless security from a security consultant, and some analasys on how it integrates with the Star Wars universe:

Any general use wireless (in this case by wireless we mean omni-directional transmissions like radio) technology can be hacked (with time). So most truly important communications are not done wirelessly, but are instead in a closed system with access points:  wired communication, fiber optics (really just another type of wire), point to point laser communications (really the laser is just your wire), and (apparently) the hyperspace holonet. In order to hack these types of transmissions you typically need direct access to the equipment, or to intercept the transmission with similar equipment and re-transmit it. So they can still be hacked with effort, but simple remote hacking is impossible.

So it makes perfect sense that most of the hacking we see in Star Wars involves directly plugging into the network. The slicing done on Bespin and the Death Star were all examples of slicing into secure installations.

That being said, even secure installations are going to have wireless communication that can be sliced, mainly in the form of communications. Is there a remote, battery powered defense turrent out there? Probably controlled via wireles communications, and thus slicable. Battle droid controls? Wireless, slicable.

The other thing to consider is: would the information be accessable via a public network (like the web in our world). Hotel reservations, public records, bank records, and files that employees can access from home are all examples of data hackable from a public network.

So, how can you tell if something is remotely slicable? Just answer two questions: does it involve wireless transmissions or is it accessible via a public network? High security systems aren't going to be hooked up to a network or wireless. Not remotely hackable. Medium or low security systems may be (for example, if an owner can unlock or lock things from home, it is remotely hackable).

You may even have multiple layers of security within the same system. Cameras are often available remotely (so the boss can check in on things, for example) while doors are on a local system. Some doors (outer doors, for example) may be accessable wirelessly (the doors into a bank, for example) but the secure doors (the vault) may not be.

So that covers general security. There is one last thing to consider in Star Wars:

Droid uprising paranoia is a big thing. Fleets have been lost to it, wars have been fought. There has been at least 1 major droid war fought, possibly more, and many, MANY smaller incidents. So networking too heavily is discouraged, especially in military situations. Networking makes things much easier on people, so it's still done, but it is never as universally embraced as it is in our world, at least partially due to concerns over droid uprisings

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#9 riplikash



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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:15 AM

One last thing to consider: good security requires infrastructure e.g. wires, encryption, boxes, etc. It either needs to be built in during creation or renovated in by ripping out walls. Cheap security does not. Anyone can throw up a remote turret, camera, alarm, or lock with no effort beyond placing it.

So that's another good test for whether something is slicable? Did the building come pre-equipped or did the owner fork out the money to install a physical security infrastructure? Or did they just install the much cheaper stand-alone wireless security fixtures?

Perminant military base, bank, or space station? Main systems probably aren't wireless.

Department store, criminal hideout, or temporary military base?  Probably have some wireless systems, thus they are remotely slicable.

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