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Old 11-08-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
Snaps
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Provo, UT
Default Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

I'm trying to wrap my mind around all of the possibilities of this situation, while still being realistic.

Let's say you had a character with a very advanced, TL 11 Computer that's worn on their arm or carried like a cell phone. Let's give it the following options:

TL 11 Small Computer w/ Compact, Genius, Hardened, High-Capacity, and Quantum options. For a total of Complexity of 9, plus the added processing power of being Quantum and being able to run 3 Complexity 9 programs at once. It costs around 2.5 MIL and weighs just 1 lb.

(I'd love to hear your guesses as to what the modern day statistics of this type of setup would be?)

I'm also going to add a Wireless Neural Interface, and built in Small Tactical Ultrascanner.

So what type of damage could someone with this setup in today's world do? I'm assuming that eventually, they could get into and have their way with just about any system. But I'd love to know how they'd go about it, and how fast it could be done.

I'm wondering how much of a limiting factor our inferior hardware would be? Would it create bottlenecks in how fast systems could be hacked?

Would everything just be an open book to this person?

How fast could they do something like hack into a School or Government server? Would they be able to just hack the Raw Wifi signals around them and read all of the data being sent back and forth?
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:19 PM   #2
Xplo
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Are you talking about realistic hacking, or cyberpunk-style hacking?

For CP I think you have all the mechanics you need. It would be a very good deck indeed. I don't remember the current hacking rules, but it stands to reason that higher-TL, higher-Complexity versions of hacking software should have improved skill or other bonuses.

For realistic hacking, the only thing a powerful computer is inherently good at on a present-day network with present-day software is decryption - but let's go gonzo and say that the computer includes incredibly advanced software that integrates network mapping with historical data and current events to actually predict which systems might be vulnerable to any one of hundreds of known exploits, then attempts to exploit them.

Let's go further and assume that it performs data mining operations in order to improve its predictive performance.

Let's suppose that as soon as it starts getting some system access, it uses its data to target specific users with phishing attacks while installing software on any open computers so it can use them for additional processing power, DDOS attacks, or to disseminate misinformation or conceal the origin of further attacks.

In short, it wouldn't do anything a skilled hacker couldn't do now - but it would do it on a much broader scale, as if hundreds of skilled hackers working together set out to divide and hack the entire internet piece by piece.

That's really about as far as we should probably go without a bigger computer and a volitional AI; we've probably already exceeded the boundaries of reasonable software design. But the next phase, if there was one, would be to infiltrate personal accounts, official records, social media, etc. to further some sinister purpose: propaganda, say, or predictable market manipulations that the user could take advantage of, or influencing the development of certain technologies, or definitely getting redundant copies of itself hosted on compatible hardware in case of discovery...
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:21 PM   #3
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Such a powerful quantum computer will make it very easy to break a lot of public key encryption. This would be of great help in many hacking attempts, but would not at all allow you to "have their way with just about any system".

A very important consideration is the software you have on the computer. Do you have a TL 11 AI that is skilled at hacking? With just TL 8 software it will probably not give you any large benefits except for being able to easily break many (but not all) forms of encryption.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:26 PM   #4
NineDaysDead
 
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Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

What software do you have? With TL11 you could have a Non-Volitional AI with IQ 14 and say:

Computer Operation 24
Computer Programming 24
Cryptography 24
Electronics Operation (Communications or Surveillance) 24
Electronics Repair (Computers) 24
Research 24

At which point you just tell it to hack the local systems for you.
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Old 11-08-2014, 04:40 PM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

To do anything much, our hacker needs his computer to have the hardware to use today's wireless networks, and appropriate software tools. Without those, nothing much can be done, except buy books about them .

For a historical parallel, take a modern high-end laptop back to the mid-sixties. It has no interfaces that can connect to any computers of the time, although some of them (e.g., RS-232) are available as add-ons. It has no software by default that understands most of the comms protocols of the period. Such software is available, mostly in the form of old OSes to run under emulators of old architectures. It's not even hard to get if you want it, although it will take some effort to learn to use it.

But if you can use the ancient TL8 protocols, you're in a pretty good position. You can listen to secure sessions setting up and crack their keys. That lets you read everything that goes through the sessions, including passwords and account information. You might well be able to brute-force modern encryption algorithms (You'd need to know how they work, but that's on Wikipedia) which lets you into anything you can intercept.

If you're actually (a) from the future and (b) had time to prepare, you can have information on the security vulnerabilities that haven't been discovered yet, which gives you excellent odds of breaking into systems at a more fundamental level than impersonating someone who has a legitimate account. If you don't have that, you can get hold of copies of server software and apply your several-TLs-higher tools for discovering such vulnerabilities, which is likely to work, although it will take longer.

But you can't get into systems that aren't connected to the internet, which locks you out of really important stuff. Without an adequate communications channel, to them you can't do anything.
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Old 11-08-2014, 05:52 PM   #6
Rysith
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaps View Post
I'm wondering how much of a limiting factor our inferior hardware would be? Would it create bottlenecks in how fast systems could be hacked?
Absolutely, assuming TL11 software with knowledge of TL8 programs and infrastructure. Your TL11 computer could (as others have said) very quickly break encryption and analyze vulnerabilities, and quickly exploit those discovered exploits. I'll bet that a TL11 hacking program given access to (say) the common open-source programs that we run most of the public internet on would find plenty of vulnerabilities without a problem. I'll also bet that once it found a vulnerability, it would be quite good at widening it, possibly in ways that weren't easily detectable. Hacking systems that you didn't have that information about would be harder - you'd be probing for vulnerabilities 'blind', and that's not easy (to the point where hacking somewhere else to get private access to the code that they are running might be worth it). And you still can't send packets any faster than the target system can receive them, and if you need someone to log on remotely to an email server so you can snoop their credentials you need to wait for that to actually happen[1]. That's discounting other systems like (proper) two-factor authentication and air gaps, systems that you would need to compromise before you could even start to attack more-secure targets.

Quote:
Would everything just be an open book to this person?
Again, no. Stealing credit card numbers and reading everyone's webmail, sure. But serious security involves methods that aren't susceptible to even really huge amounts of computing power. The quantumness means that you can break most of the common internet encryption, but there are still encrypted things that will be hard to break (any of the asymmetric key algorithms, for example). You still won't have access to things that aren't stored in networked computers (or on computers at all - there are plenty of places that still keep largely paper records). You'll also need to know /where/ what you want is, and especially if you're forced to go through intermediaries (phish this person to get their credentials to gather information about this person to get credentials to the outer system so you can plant a worm to spread to the inner system) it's all going to take significant human-scale time, and if you're looking for anything that isn't already on a web server you're going to have to do that.

Quote:
How fast could they do something like hack into a School or Government server? Would they be able to just hack the Raw Wifi signals around them and read all of the data being sent back and forth?
It depends on what you want out of it. Taking down the school website, or the website for the white house? Probably not very hard. Changing grades might be impossible (they might be stored on paper), and getting access to top-secret files is going to be hard (and probably involve many intermediaries and social-engineering rolls). Getting free wifi and reading all the data is probably trivial.

[1] And you still can't just brute-force a username/password combination, since a) that takes many requests, which are independent of your computer and b) any halfway-competent system would lock you out long before you did it.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:15 PM   #7
D10
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In Rio de Janeiro, where it was cyberpunk before it was cool.
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

If possible, the most usefull thing would be in my opinion, a computer that is capable of social engineering by itself.
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Old 11-08-2014, 08:38 PM   #8
Gedrin
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Just to be curious, how is this TL11 hacking computer TL11 in a TL8 world? Is it super-tech, invented by mega-geniuses from beyond or other alien intellect? Or...is it actually from the future? If it's actually from the future, it might just have a bunch of scripts in its historical hacking data that exploit vulnerabilities not yet discovered. It would be the worst case scenario for day 1 attacks.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:04 PM   #9
DangerousThing
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Is this a computer made by a TL 11 culture specifically in order to attack the computer infrastructure of a lower TL culture?

If so, then it would probably have interfaces to get into the web.

In David Weber's _Out of the Night_, the aliens attack the Earth's computer network with such a computer that sent out rather serious viruses and worms. This was after a period of analyzing our computer networks. The aliens were also smart enough to put their computer (very small) on the roof of an Iran Internet cafe so the humans took more time to realize the truth.

It basically sent out viruses that gathered information until it had enough information to attack our military networks.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:10 PM   #10
Snaps
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Provo, UT
Default Re: Hacking in today's world with a TL 10 Computer...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas View Post
Such a powerful quantum computer will make it very easy to break a lot of public key encryption. This would be of great help in many hacking attempts, but would not at all allow you to "have their way with just about any system".
When I say "have their way with just about any system" I meant about 90% of what's out there. Home, and Business networks, cell phones, laptops, cars, and anything with a wireless, or bluetooth signal, etc. I'm thinking that someone with this setup could:

-Hack Any Wifi almost instantly. The Wireless world around them would be an open book.
-They could intercept and read anything sent within range of their wireless receiver. Wireless calls, text messages, internet traffic, etc.
-They'd be able to log and save any password, that anyone in range of them, sent or received, giving them further access to most systems.
-They could login to any wireless network in range.

But maybe I'm wrong?

I guess I'm thinking that normally, the weakest part of a wifi signal is the password, but this is usually compensated by the fact that if you get so many failed attempts, you are locked out. The signal itself is encrypted, but this isn't considered much of a vulnerability because it could take years for a modern computer to break the encryption on a typical wireless signal.

But our TL 11 Computer doesn't have that limitation. It can (I think) break the encryption on the wireless signal in seconds, gaining access to all of the data within (including the passwords being sent back and forth).

Wired networks would be a little harder (I think) because they don't sent passwords back and forth over a wireless signal, trusting in their encryption to protect them. Or am I wrong there too?

Would it be harder for this computer to break into a small businesses wireless or wired network?

I'm thinking that the real bottleneck here is that no matter the security, or lack thereof, of the wired network, the hardware is limited by how many password attempts it can process a second.

I guess the real question for me is: Could a Complexity 9, High Capacity, Quantum Computer break today's best encryption in a reasonable amount of time?
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