Summary Edit

While there are many strategies involved in successfully hacking a network, all hacks use a combination of Brute Force and/or 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 begin 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.

Priority list: (Updated for v.1.025 - see Patch Notes)

  1. Active Security Nodes - (Sentry, Turret, Black ICE). Other Security Nodes (Guardian, Scanner and Code Gate) are considered regular nodes in this regard.
  2. The Core.
  3. Black Nodes - Nodes with an installed antivirus.
  4. Partially Black Nodes - Nodes where an antivirus is currently being loaded.
  5. White Nodes and Upgrading Nodes - Nodes which are upgrading and Nodes where an antivirus is not present.
  6. Nodes under the Wraith effect.

As of Patch v1.025, if connected nodes fall under the same category, programs will target the node with the highest firewall. If multiple nodes have the same priority and same firewall, programs will select targets in the order of whichever the defender connected to the node you are attacking from first.[1]

Program Styles Edit

The Wiki lists Offensive 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. The Projectile Speed and frequency of projectiles is also listed.
  • Attacks from a Beam type program reach the target instantly. As of Patch v1.011, Programs incur a small delay when acquiring a new target, which is listed as Targeting Delay.
  • Focused programs such as the Beam Cannon do not change target once they start attacking a node.
  • Dynamic programs such as Blasters and Worms will change target if a higher priority node is targetable.
  • AoE programs such as Shuriken activate when any connected node becomes targetable.

Comparison of Defensive ProgramsEdit

  • ICE Wall and Protector level 1 statistics
Program Firewall Disk Usage Install Time Regeneration
Ice Wall40020.5 secondsNone
Protector65044 seconds45.5 per second

Two ICE Walls cost the same disk space to install as one Protector. It takes an additional 3.5 seconds to install the latter, for a bonus of 45.5 firewall regeneration per second.

Comparison of Practical Usage Edit

The ICE Wall can be installed quickly on a node that was just captured, potentially saving the node and giving you time to install offensive programs. Installing offensive programs first will works for more damage, as long as the node is able to sustain enough damage. This method also allows the node to regenerate until the shield breaks. Use the first tactic on low firewall nodes such as Scanner and the Guardian.

Once installed, even though the Protector has less than the combined Firewall of 2 ICE Walls, the regeneration makes up for it as long as the Protector stays under attack for 3.3 seconds.

Efficiency Edit

Disk usage wise, 2 ICE walls equal 1 Protector.

Be aware of having both ICE Wall and Protector remaining once the node is 100% secure. If this happens, using fewer ICE Walls and letting the Protector take more damage, or using an ICE Wall instead of the Protector for cheaper costs/using less disk space would be more efficient.

Stealth Edit

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.
  • Attempting to install any program that isn't a Stealth program will end the Stealth phase and begin a Brute Force attack.
  • 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.

On this video you can see basic usage of the Access and Wraith programs.

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.

References Edit

  1. Trickster Arts Forums - Link Order after v1.025 Update
Hackers Wikia - Gameplay Topics
Gameplay Nodes Programs

World Map • Hacks • Missions • Simulations • Reputation • Network Logs 


Home Screen • Net Building • Resources • Credits • Black Market • Patch Notes 


Game Tips • Offensive Strategies • Defensive Strategies 

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