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[V5] What are YOUR thoughts on ShreckNet?

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  • [V5] What are YOUR thoughts on ShreckNet?

    So, the whole ShreckNet breach that happened at the hands of the NSA in 2004 in V5 has me wondering how everyone sees it.

    The main reason its a curiosity for me is because its been previously established that Clan Nosferatu are the best of the best in the world when it comes to hacking and digital warfare,and that ShreckNet was meant to be so colossally difficult to breach that even an Ancilla Tremere master hacker with the Thaumaturgical Path of Technology and a whole bunch of fancy complimentary rituals couldn't pull it off...

    ...and yet one human intelligence agency without supernatural advantages, that the Nosferatu would have without a doubt been watching like hawks (and therefore have seen the breach coming from a mile away), managed to breach the system and suddenly the Kindred world acts like ShreckNet is nothing more than an unsecured windows PC operated by an octogenarian who doesn't know what an antivirus is?

    Makes me think there's only two choices to explain it here:
    1. There's a lot more to the story that the Nosferatu aren't telling us.
    2. White-Wolf didn't want to put effort into devising a credible and at-all-plausible explanation for the start of the Second Inquisition.
    Seeing as I quite enjoy V5, I'm choosing to believe that its a case of 1 and not 2. But I am wondering how it is that you all look at it - do you take it at face value? Is there some deeper thing going on with it in your games? Have you or your STs simply scrapped the breach and gone with a plausible explanation for the origins of the SI?

  • #2
    Could it possibly be that the Nosferatu have been telling lies about Shrecknet the whole time? and that rather than them being the best of the best it's all a bit of a kludge instead?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
      White-Wolf didn't want to put effort into devising a credible and at-all-plausible explanation for the start of the Second Inquisition.
      Given how the aforementioned Path of Technology was really just a list of stuff that hackers can do with technology, rather than being a path that breaks the fundamentals of how hacking works, I will go with the option that WW couldn't be bothered to do the research or hire a consultant, which in turn means they didn't bother to consider how it affects the setting or the storyline. Also let's not forget that the clan who has a ritual which literally forces government records to self delete, become corrupted, or are simply permanently misplaced, some how had its clan headquarter located and attacked by a drone strike.

      Yeah, WW plot advancement is more akin to a little kid smashing two action figures together in a sandbox making the storyline out of what ever sounds cool at that instant, than George R. R. Martin taking years to carefully work out plot interactions for the Song of Ice and Fire books.

      As an ST I tend to scrap a lot of the "plot advancement" from V5 just because it doesn't make any sense.

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      • #4
        You are forgetting #ShreckNetWasAnInsideJob, which would just fit as much given vampire politics and the plays of both Methuselahs and Antideluvians.

        Also, yeah, there's the whole '"Nosferatus are the best hackers ever" --Said every Nosferatu ever.' angle.

        Personally I actually gravitate towards a mix of both of those - Nosferatu propaganda about being as good as they are ( If we look at the timeframe, 2004 isn't that far after the more widespread spread of the Internet so things didn't last that long, did they? ) along with possibly somebody gaining a profit from making things known to the three-letter agency. It might have been enough that somebody *trying* to get into ShreckNet simply tipped them off ("There's a big terrorist network!"), and that was that.

        EDIT:
        Given that something like Shrecknet is as weak as its weakest link, and all it takes is *one* single flaw or, even more common, human/vampire error to get into things like it and start leeching information...I am quite fine with it having gotten infiltrated.

        EDIT 2:
        Also, given that supposedly the 'One World Of Darkness' is supposedly more cross-overish at *some* point...well. There are bigger Fish when it comes to the Digital Warfare than the Nosferatu.
        Last edited by Ambrosia; 10-06-2019, 04:14 AM.


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        • #5
          Personally, I think the hack is absolutely believable. In the end, information technology is the area where vampires in general and Nosferatu in particular have the least edge. Vampiric advantages come from three sources: Natural abilities, supernaturally high abilities and discipline powers.
          Disciplines are pretty much out - there's just one discipline that affects IT stuff and it's a fringe thaumaturgical path that is barely even accepted in the clan that developed it.
          Natural abilities don't help much either. Blood pumping your dex to type extra-fast doesn't really help matters.
          High abilities would help if anyone had them. But chances are, the Nosferatu who are actually 7th gen and below are so calcified that none of them have a single dot of Computer, much less six or more.

          Thus, there is no supernatural edge to SchreckNet (assuming we discard the open SchreckNet 2.0 with Fangbook and thaumaturgical superpowers that V5 quietly retconned). And at that point, it becomes a question of talent. The intelligence agencies can pretty much take their pick from top college students, with their only hindrance being a certain distrust in the hacker culture towards The Man, but even that wasn't as widespread pre-Snowden as it is today. The Nosferatu are still mostly within the Camarilla. Every single Embrace costs them dearly and if it doesn't work out, there's little to do but kill the guy. While the NSA can't hire and fire as other employers might, running background checks and revoking security clearances still seems a little easier than the vampiric way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
            The main reason its a curiosity for me is because its been previously established that Clan Nosferatu are the best of the best in the world when it comes to hacking and digital warfare,and that ShreckNet was meant to be so colossally difficult to breach that even an Ancilla Tremere master hacker with the Thaumaturgical Path of Technology and a whole bunch of fancy complimentary rituals couldn't pull it off...
            yeah I'm gonna need a source on that, because I never seen anything saying the nossies were the best at anything,
            they made information brokering their whole business, and in the modern nights that included establishing their own network

            that doesn't say that they're the best at it, just that it's their specialty, whereas other clans like Tremere or Giovanni etc can make for better informants, but you don't have whole cells of Tremere dedicated to information to the nosferatu degree

            in Bloodlines, you have a bootleg basement hacker who managed to crack their network,
            he got caught and embraced of course,
            but if he can do it, I don't know how the NSA couldn't,

            problem is, getting revenge on a lone geek is one thing, NSA though is off limits by Camarilla and even Sabbat standards

            if NSA breaches it (which should happen often enough), you just say 'fuck' and move on
            Last edited by Pleiades; 10-06-2019, 07:19 AM.


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            • #7
              Wow...

              Those are my thoughts lol.

              Seriously. I read in one of the Community Content books that SchreckNet was mostly created by a Methuselah named Trajan who was Embraced all the way back in Ancient Rome. Maybe he just wasn’t as good at designing a secure network as everyone thought he was.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
                [*]There's a lot more to the story that the Nosferatu aren't telling us.[*]White-Wolf didn't want to put effort into devising a credible and at-all-plausible explanation for the start of the Second Inquisition.[/LIST]
                Unfortunately it's 2, but it's slowly going to be retconned as best certain authors can to make it 1 after the fact.


                Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                Disciplines are pretty much out - there's just one discipline that affects IT stuff and it's a fringe thaumaturgical path that is barely even accepted in the clan that developed it.
                Not sure why in V5. There might not be any Computer direct powers here, but hacking, IT, and so on isn't just coding things. Social engineering is a huge part of all this, and Disciplines are wonders for it.

                While out of Clan for the Nosferatu, Dominate and Presence are great for getting people to tell you stuff like their passwords. Auspex 2 in V5 (probably not that uncommon despite being out of Clan given the Sandman archetype is going to be plenty popular with Nossies, and it's easy access to Auspex) gives supernatural warnings that could help them avoid active hacking attempts.

                Animalism and Obfuscate are also good options for doing things like finding out passwords, stealing TFA linked devices, or getting access to off-line systems.

                Natural abilities don't help much either. Blood pumping your dex to type extra-fast doesn't really help matters.
                V5 allows Blood Surging for all Attributes. 9th Gen vampires can get up to +3 dice from Surging, which is a pretty big advantage without getting into rare elder stuff.

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                • #9
                  I like how Jasper gave an explanation for it in LA By Night.

                  "Computers haven't been around any longer than humans who can use them. Therefore, Nosferatu aren't necessarily any better at using them than anyone else."


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    Not sure why in V5. There might not be any Computer direct powers here, but hacking, IT, and so on isn't just coding things. Social engineering is a huge part of all this, and Disciplines are wonders for it.

                    While out of Clan for the Nosferatu, Dominate and Presence are great for getting people to tell you stuff like their passwords. Auspex 2 in V5 (probably not that uncommon despite being out of Clan given the Sandman archetype is going to be plenty popular with Nossies, and it's easy access to Auspex) gives supernatural warnings that could help them avoid active hacking attempts.

                    Animalism and Obfuscate are also good options for doing things like finding out passwords, stealing TFA linked devices, or getting access to off-line systems.
                    While all of that is true, almost all of it applies to attacking only. Auspex 2 is the only ability that helps with defending and its visions are highly unpredictable - especially since with V5, the actual discipline is part of the roll and 2 dice is not really much to bank on.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    V5 allows Blood Surging for all Attributes. 9th Gen vampires can get up to +3 dice from Surging, which is a pretty big advantage without getting into rare elder stuff.
                    That is again true, but more important than 9th gen is the Blood Potency 5 that needs to be attained here. By V5 rules, that means usually 300 years of non-torpid existence. The number of 300 year old hackers is likely low.

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                    • #11
                      Personally? I hate everything about this idea, because it's a slap in the face to not only the previously established lore, but common sense in general.


                      Human security has breaches every single day, and their response is to find the breach, fix it, then improve their defenses to prevent it from happening again.


                      Nosferatu have one breach, and their response is to wipe everything, and dismantle the network? Let's hope a Niktuku doesn't head their way, now that they've effectively gouged out their own eyes and ears!


                      Also, there's the massive question of how the hell the SI even learned of Shrecknet's existence in the first place. The Nosferatu guarded that knowledge as closely as the Tremere guarded Thaumaturgy. Now I don't know anything about the Dark Web, but I believe it's not something that anybody in the world can just go to. I think it require special software to access. And Schrecknet is like a private Nosferatu version of the Dark Web.


                      So we're expected to believe that the SI just somehow managed to find out about the Nosferatu's most heavily guarded secret, and somehow managed to develop the software that would enable them to gain access to the system before the Nosferatu detected their attempt to break in? If my memory serves, Mitnik was a master hacker who managed to steal the nuclear missile activation codes. It took him 3 lap tops and who knows how many days of round the clock effort in order to break into a minor database. And Garry showed up on his doorstep within an hour of him pulling it off!
                      Last edited by Nyrufa; 10-06-2019, 09:24 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                        Personally? I hate everything about this idea, because it's a slap in the face to not only the previously established lore, but common sense in general.
                        The thing about common sense is, of course, that it is different to other people.

                        It's OBVIOUS the NSA would eventually find out about Schrek.net and be breached to me. If you hide something online, it'll eventually be found.

                        Mind you, I think that if vampires don't fear humans then you're playing them wrong.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          The thing about common sense is, of course, that it is different to other people.

                          It's OBVIOUS the NSA would eventually find out about Schrek.net and be breached to me. If you hide something online, it'll eventually be found.

                          Mind you, I think that if vampires don't fear humans then you're playing them wrong.

                          Be that as it may, the key to winning any war is information, and Schrecknet was the biggest cache of information regarding the the state of the world that Vampires had access to. It would have proven a vital component in the kindred managing to defend themselves against the threat of the SI. And perhaps even catapulted the Nosferatu to prominence as one of the High Clans.

                          But no... let's destroy one of the most valuable resources we have, and blame the problem on the Anarchs.

                          Fucking idiotic....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                            Also, there's the massive question of how the hell the SI even learned of Shrecknet's existence in the first place.
                            Now, that's one I have some observations on...

                            The Nosferatu are despised by the Toreador, who are friends with a certain Clan obsessed with kingly image. Their darknet gets hit.

                            Then at some point, global HQ for the Giovanni gets wiped by the SI. Again, let's have a look at relations with a certain Clan.

                            A few years later, the global headquarters for the Tremere is wiped by the SI. The author in the Banu Haqim section who mentions the Prime Chantry is almost gloating about the Web of Knives leaking the location. But the Tremere have also been despised for centuries by a certain Clan.

                            Then the hotel where some of the Ministry's top leaders are meeting for talks to enter the Camarilla gets blown up. The aforementioned BH section hints at them being responsible for that as well. And what else do the Ministry have in common with the Tremere? That's right...

                            Then all of a sudden the Banu Haqim are being admitted like its a cake walk to the Camarilla, while the Lasombra (who have just as bad a history with the Camarilla) have to trawl through the filth just for consideration to join.

                            Now I'm not explicitly saying a certain Clan did it, but Hardestadt had his absolutely despicable reputation for a reason...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
                              Now, that's one I have some observations on...

                              The Nosferatu are despised by the Toreador, who are friends with a certain Clan obsessed with kingly image. Their darknet gets hit.

                              Then at some point, global HQ for the Giovanni gets wiped by the SI. Again, let's have a look at relations with a certain Clan.

                              A few years later, the global headquarters for the Tremere is wiped by the SI. The author in the Banu Haqim section who mentions the Prime Chantry is almost gloating about the Web of Knives leaking the location. But the Tremere have also been despised for centuries by a certain Clan.

                              Then the hotel where some of the Ministry's top leaders are meeting for talks to enter the Camarilla gets blown up. The aforementioned BH section hints at them being responsible for that as well. And what else do the Ministry have in common with the Tremere? That's right...

                              Then all of a sudden the Banu Haqim are being admitted like its a cake walk to the Camarilla, while the Lasombra (who have just as bad a history with the Camarilla) have to trawl through the filth just for consideration to join.

                              Now I'm not explicitly saying a certain Clan did it, but Hardestadt had his absolutely despicable reputation for a reason...

                              Don't own any of the fluff books, so pretty much all of those subtle clan implications went over my head.

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