Attacking Strategies Edit
While there are many strategies involved in successfully attacking (or 'hacking') a network, all hacks that take place use a combination of two main methods: Brute Force and Stealth.
Brute Force Edit
A Brute Force hack is where the player attacks a network with damage dealing offensive programs in an attempt to overwhelm and capture nodes on the network. In the early game, players have access to only a few types of Offensive and Defensive programs, and a single available strategy: capturing nodes using Beam Cannons and Shurikens. At higher levels, players will acquire programs with different attacks such as Worms and Krakens, allowing the development of more advanced strategies.
Performing a Brute Force Attack Edit
Brute Force attacks are performed by selecting the node that you wish to install a program on, and selecting a program from your list of compiled programs stored in your library. Programs with a padlock icon can not be installed on that node under the current conditions. Each program has a different install time. Once successfully installed, the program will being to attack connecting nodes.
Networks are generally built with one or more clusters of defensive sections - places with a high concentration of Security Nodes. When attackers compromise the entry node of such a layout, Security Nodes fight back and can regain it quite quickly. To keep nodes under the control of the attacker, it is possible to strengthen them by using Defensive Programs such as ICE Wall and Protector.
Attack Priorities Edit
Different programs have different methods of attack, with some programs also having additional special abilities. When an offensive program has a choice of which node to attack, most programs select a target using the following criteria.
- Active Security Nodes - (Sentry, Turret, Black ICE). Other Security Nodes (Guardian, Scanner and Code Gate) are considered regular nodes in this regard.
- The Core.
- Black Nodes - Nodes with an installed antivirus.
- Partially Black Nodes - Nodes where an antivirus is currently being loaded.
- White Nodes - Nodes where an antivirus is not present.
- Nodes under the Wraith effect.
If connected nodes fall under the same category, the order in which nodes are connected takes precedence, with nodes that are connected first having priority over nodes which are connected last.
The Wiki lists Programs as having an "Attack Style" and a "Targetting Style":
- Attacks from a Projectile type program take a small amount of time to reach the target.
- Attacks from a Beam type program reach the target instantly.
- Focussed programs do not change target once they start attacking a node.
- Dynamic programs will change target when a higher priority node is targettable.
- AoE programs activate when any connected node is targettable.
A Stealth hack is where the player infiltrates the network and installs stealth programs, either to get in and out of a network undetected, or to weaken a network in preparation for a Brute Force attack. When you initially connect to another network, the network defenses are not aware of your presence. By utilising Stealth programs, you can hack a part of the network in Access mode. In this mode, you can neutralize Security Nodes, loot resources and even hack the Core.
To start a stealth attack, an attacker first installs the Access program on a NetConnection node to gain access to neighboring nodes. Thereafter, an attacker can install more Access programs to penetrate the network further and install Data Leech, Wraith, and/or Portal programs to download resources, permanently disable nodes or gain full control of a node and the ability to place Brute Force programs deep inside the network.
Performing a Stealth Attack Edit
- A Stealth hack will commence if your first attack is the Access program, placing the network into Access Mode. The timer will show "--.--" and a "Visibility" bar will appear showing the amount of time left before you're discovered on the network. This bar represents 3600 Visibility.
- Stealth attacks have a Visibility cost, stated in cost per second. Various factors can increase this visibility cost.
- Note that Wraith has an install time of 2 seconds and Portal has an install time of 6 seconds. Data Leech also has an additional cost based on the time it takes to download resources or Core data.
- Programs installed on to a Code Gate will have an increased cost in relation to its Filter strength.
- A Scanner will increase the cost of installed programs within 3 nodes by its Sensitivity statistic.
- Networks also have a natural stealth detection of 20/s. This statistic is shown on the Core for display purposes only - disabling the Core during the Stealth period does not make you harder to detect.
- Visibility costs are applied while a node is installing/active on the network. Every Stealth Program except Data Leech removes itself from the network once it is installed.
- Example 1: A Level 3 Access costs 150 visibility/sec. It would take 170 visibility to install the program, 200 visibility to install on a node within 3 nodes of a Level 1 Scanner and 680 visibility to install on a level 1 Code Gate.
- Example 2: A Level 5 Data Leech costs 20 visibility/sec. It would take 40 visibility to install the program onto a Core, and would cost an additional 40 visibility per second of the Core download. If the Core was in range of a Level 7 Scanner, it would cost 60 visibility to install, and an additional 60 visibility per second to download the Core.
- If you use any attack that isn't a Stealth attack, or place a program on a node without the Access program installed, the Stealth phase ends and the network attacks you as normal.
- When the Stealth phase ends, all Stealth programs except Portal are removed, including Data Leech programs. Since Wraith removes itself once it has installed, nodes disabled by Wraith will stay disabled for the duration of the hack.
Using this information, an attack on a network can be planned. Steal all the Resources and run. Download the Core directly for easy Reputation. Soften up the Security Nodes before launching a full scale assault or simply charge through the front door - the choice is yours.
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