Hacking 101

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This is a syllabus for a class, intended primarily for the teaching staff.

Teachers should review all information for accuracy before preparing or presenting a class.
This syllabus should only be used as a guide -- ensure there is added value for students rather than simply reading this document.

Contents

Class Information

This class covers completion of the hacking minigame introduced in the Odyssey expansion released on June 2013. Details are correct (to the best of the creator's knowledge) as of 15/10/13.

This class assumes students have taken Exploration 101, or understand the information included in it.

General Information

Duration: 1.00

Location: Docked up in station

Class Contents:

  • Skills
  • Equipment
  • Types of Site
  • The Hacking Minigame
  • Tips & Tricks

Student Requirements:

  • Mumble registration and access
  • Be in the Lecture.E-Uni in-game chat channel

Additional information: This class is primarily lecture-based with a Q&A at the end. Due to the unpredictable nature of Relic and Data sites there is currently no practical aspect to this class, though if you wish to scan one down and practice you can do so at your own risk!

Notes for the teacher

Check before the class whether someone is recording it and ask someone to head off any 'is this class being recorded?' questions in Lecture.E-UNI.

Class Contents

Introduction

Welcome to this class on the Odyssey-introduced hacking minigame!

This course is designed primarily for people who have had little or no exposure to the hacking minigame, or are having trouble undersstanding what the different systems do. Over the next hour or so we will cover the basics of hacking and move on to some tips and tricks that will help you avoid being ganked (too frequently).

(Instructor should then introduce himself or herself - covering relevant experience level and background.)

We have a few ground rules for this class:

  • Please put your Mumble settings on "Push to Talk" if you have not already done so.
  • Feel free to type any questions in the Lecture.E-UNI chat channel as we proceed - I will try to answer your questions as they come during the class. At the end of the lecture, we'll open Mumble for any further questions or general discussion.
  • You should be docked up safely in a station for this class.

Everyone ready? OK, then - let's begin....

Skills

Only two skills are required to hack effectively (only one if you choose to specialize in one type of site).

Hacking -- Proficiency at breaking into guarded computer systems. Required skill for the use of Data Analyzer modules.

Gives +10 Virus Coherence per level when using a Data Analyzer to open containers found at Data Sites.

Archaeology -- Proficiency at identifying and analyzing ancient artifacts. Required skill for the use of Relic Analyzer modules.

Gives +10 Virus Coherence per level when using a Relic Analyzer to open containers found at Relic Sites.

Ships

Each race has a T1 frigate that gives a +5 boost to Virus strength for both Data and Relic Analyzers:

  • Magnate - Amarr (slot layout: 3/3/4, disadvantage to mid-slots)
  • Heron - Caldari (slot layout: 3/5/2, advantage to mid-slots)
  • Imicus - Gallente (slot layout: 3/4/3)
  • Probe - Minmatar (slot layout: 3/4/3)

Each race also has a T2 Covert Ops frigate that gives a +10 boost to Virus strength.

  • Anathema - Amarr (slot layout: 3/4/3)
  • Buzzard - Caldari (slot layout: 3/5/2, advantage to mid-slots)
  • Helios - Gallente (slot layout: 2/5/3, advantage to mid-slots)
  • Cheetah - Minmatar (slot layout: 3/4/3)

You ideally need four mid-slots to scan effectively (Data Analyzer, Relic Analyzer, Cargo Scanner and PropMod). This puts the Magnate at a slight disadvantage due to having to forsake one of these modules, and the Heron, Buzzard and Helios at an advantage as they can fit an extra utility mod (e.g. shield tank).

Slot order is H/M/L.

Rigs

  • Memetic Algorithm Bank I & II - Increases Virus Coherence by 10 (20 for T2) for Data sites
  • Emission Scope Sharpener I & II - Increases Virus Coherence by 10 (20 for T2) for Relic sites
  • Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I & II - Gives a 10% bonus (15% for T2) to Scan Strength (for finding sites)

Equipment

Three pieces of equipment are needed to hack effectively. Various meta and T2 versions of each piece of equipment are available, with T2 requiring higher levels in the relevant skill listed above.

Data Analyzer -- A Hacking system used to override electronic security systems.

This module will allow you to begin the hacking minigame on containers found in Data Sites.

Relic Analyzer -- An archaeology system used to analyze and search ancient ruins.

This module will allow you to begin the hacking minigame on containers found in Relic Sites.

Cargo Scanner -- Scans the cargo hold of another ship.

This module allows you to scan a container before (or during) the hacking minigame to see what items are inside. Some containers in low-difficulty sites are completely empty, making the hack attempt a wasted effort. Other times, the loot is such low value that a harder-difficulty hack is not worthwhile.

Useful Implants

  • 'Poteque 'Prospector' Hacking HC-905' -- +5 Virus coherence when hacking Data Sites. (Slot 9)
  • 'Poteque 'Prospector' Archaeology AC-905' -- +5 Virus coherence when hacking Relic Sites. (Slot 9)
  • 'Poteque 'Prospector' Environmental Analysis EY-1005' -- +5 Virus Coherence bonus for both Data and Relic analyzers. (Slot 10)

Where to hack

High vs Low vs Null vs SovNull vs WH

Types of Site

Relic

An example Relic container.

Relic sites mostly contain salvage material with estimated values ranging from a few hundred to millions of ISK per item. They tend to contain more items than Data sites, and as the average value of the loot increases as Security Status decreases these sites tend to be more profitable in Low-Sec and Null-Sec. They do sometimes contain BPCs and skillbooks, so use of a Cargo Scanner is still recommended.

Take your loot

After successfully completing the Hacking Minigame, open the hacked container like a regular container and take whichever of its contents you would like. Usually just Loot All, but sometimes consider leaving the high-volume low-value items, if your cargo hold is getting full.

Site identification

You can tell how difficult it is to access a container, and how valuable its loot is likely to be, based on its name. The colour of the System Core will also change based on difficulty. More difficult containers are only found in Low- and Null-Sec. In order of difficulty, Relic site containers are:

Colour Difficulty Name Location
Green Very Easy Debris H/L/N
Green Easy Rubble H/L/N
Yellow Medium Remains L/N
Red Hard Ruins N

Data

An example Data container.

Data sites contain items used in the research and manufacture of items. Unlike Relic sites, where it's worth collecting all items, Data sites contain some items that are not worth collecting. Containers will contain both high value, small volume items and low value, large volume items; you can very quickly fill up your cargo hold with useless items if you're not careful. They will also sometimes contain BPCs and skillbooks. Unlike Relic sites, the value of the loot doesn't appear to change a large amount between High-, Low- and Null-Sec space aside from an increased chance of valuable BPCs in lower security systems (also present at Relic sites).

Take your loot

With the Kronos release in June 2014, there is no more loot-spew. So simply open the hackable container like a regular container, and take whichever of its contents you would like. Usually just Loot All, but sometimes consider leaving the high-volume low-value items, if your cargo hold is getting full.

Site identification

You can tell how difficult it is to access a container, and how valuable its loot is likely to be, based on its name. The colour of the System Core will also change based on difficulty. More difficult containers are only found in Low- and Null-Sec. In order of difficulty, Data site containers are:

Colour Difficulty Name Location
Green Very Easy Info Shard H/L/N
Green Easy Com Tower H/L/N
Yellow Medium Mainframe L/N
Red Hard Database N

The Hacking Minigame

The Objective

To complete the hacking minigame you must locate and destroy the System Core. Once this happens the container can be opened and looted. Loot equals profit!

Your Virus, Strength and Coherence

Your Virus

To navigate around the hacking minigame you use a Virus. Your Virus has two stats, strength and coherence, which are defined in part by your skills and equipment.

Strength is your Virus's offensive ability, it is the 'damage' inflicted by your attack. It is shown by the red bar on the right of the icon and the number underneath it.

Coherence is your Virus's health, once this is depleted your Virus is destroyed. It is shown by the orange bar on the left of the icon and the number above it.

Defense Subsystems and the System Core also have a strength and coherence rating. When you attack a subsystem your strength is removed from its coherence, then its strength from your coherence. If you destroy a subsystem (i.e. reduce its coherence to 0) it does not get to attack you in return before being destroyed.

Nodes and Data Caches

Covered node2.png
A node is a location on the hacking board. All nodes but the one you start on begin covered, you progress the hacking attempt by uncovering more nodes. A covered node is shown on the left.
Uncovered node2.png
An uncovered node.
Data cache2.png
A Data Cache is a node containing a hidden Subsystem. You can uncover the Subsystem by clicking on the node again but the Subsystem may not be friendly; only uncover them if you have no other options available.

Utility Subsystems

Once uncovered you must collect a Utility Subsystem to use it. You can hold three Utility Subsystems at a time, which are activated by clicking on them then on the target (where applicable).

Self repair2.png
1) Self Repair — increases the Virus coherence when used by 4-10 per move for 3 moves. Found in all levels of container. The amount restored seems to vary based on the difficulty of the container (harder containers restore less) and how much coherence your Virus currently has (lower coherence has more restored), though currently we haven't worked out exactly how the amount is calculated.

Activate the Self Repair as soon as you discover it to free up space in your Utility Subsystem bar and boost your coherence as soon as possible. The Self Repair will take up one of your three slots for two additional turns after activating whilst it finishes its work. You can use a Self Repair to boost your coherence above your starting value, and above the top of the bar on the graphic!

Kernel rot2.png
2) Kernel Rot — halves the coherence of a Defense Subsystem or System Core. Found in all levels of container.

Save your Kernel Rot for an appropriate target with high coherence.

Polymorphic shield.png
3) Polymorphic Shield — protects the Virus from 2 attacks. Only found in Medium and Hard containers.

Save your Polymorphic Shield for an appropriate target with high strength.

Secondary vector2.png
4) Secondary Vector — reduces the coherence of a Defense Subsystem or System Core by 20 per turn for 3 turns. Only found in Hard containers.

Note that you do not need to click on that item for 3 turns—you select what you're applying it to, and can then click elsewhere, while it applies 20-per-turn to the selected item for you.

Save your Secondary Vector for a Virus Suppressor unless it's absolutely necessary to use it on something else.

Defensive Subsystems

Defensive Subsystems are used to hamper your hacking efforts. Once they are uncovered on the board they will block you from accessing all nodes adjacent to them and provide either passive or active resistance to your Virus.

Firewall node.png
1) Firewall — a standard piece of system defence known for its high coherence. Found in all levels of container.

Firewalls should not be attacked unless necessary, try clicking around the rest of the board first to see if you can find the Core without wasting coherence on the Firewall.

Antivirus node.png
2) Antivirus — a standard piece of system defence known for its high strength. Found in all levels of container.

Antivirus should not be attacked unless necessary, try clicking around the rest of the board first to see if you can find the Core without wasting coherence on the Antivirus. They are good targets to use a Polymorphic Shield or Kernel Rot against due to their high strength.

Restorer node.png
3) Restoration Node — whilst active (i.e. showing on the board) it will restore coherence to other uncovered Defence Subsystems. Each move it will pick a different Defensive Subsystem at random and restore some of its coherence. This can put a subsystem's coherence above its starting value. Only found in Medium and Hard containers.

Destroy Restoration Nodes a soon as you discover them, as the longer they're on the board the harder destroying the other defensive systems will be should it become necessary.

Supressor node.png
4) Virus Suppressor — whilst active (i.e. showing on the board) your Virus strength is reduced. Only found in Hard containers. (IriNote: anecdotal evidence says -15, need to confirm 100%)

When a Virus Suppressor is active avoid attacking anything unless it's absolutely necessary as you'll take twice as many turns (and twice as much coherence loss) to destroy your target. Use a Secondary Vector on the Suppressor if you can and spend three moves doing something else as the Vector can destroy the Suppressor without your assistance and isn't affected by the strength loss.

System Core

Core node1.png
Destroying the System Core successfully completes your hacking attempt, and makes the container able to be opened/looted.

The color of the System Core reflects the difficulty of the container: Green for easy; Orange for medium; Red for hard.

Making a move

A number of actions are available when hacking a container. Each of the following counts as one 'move' in the hacking minigame, which is worth bearing in mind as more complex systems will have 'per move' effects:

1) Click on a covered node adjacent to a previously discovered node to uncover it — The most basic move. By clicking on a node you have not yet visited that is next to a node you have visited you will reveal its contents.

As you click on each node, if it is unoccupied, it will briefly display a "minesweeper" number, from 1 to 5, which indicates the distance from the nearest good (or possibly good) node. (5 means "5 or more".) This shows distance from any undiscovered Utility Subsystem, System Core, or Data Cache (even though Data Caches are not always good). The numbers can be used to guide the direction that you should move around the grid.

2) Click on a discovered Data Cache to reveal its contents — If you have discovered a Data Cache you can click on it again to reveal the Subsystem underneath. Remember, this may not be a benefit!

3) Click on a discovered Utility Subsystem to collect it — If you have uncovered a Utility Subsystem you must spend one move collecting it before it can be used.

4) Click on a discovered Defence Subsystem or System Core to attack it — When you click on a Defence Subsystem or System Core your Virus strength is removed from the opposing node's coherence. If the opposing node has coherence remaining its strength is then removed from your coherence and the move ends. This means that if your strength completely depletes the opposition's coherence then it does not get the opportunity to damage you in return.


5) Click on a collected Utility Subsystem to activate it — Once you have collected a Utility Subsystem you must expend another move to activate it.

Putting it all together

Hacking Indications.png

Note: Covered/Uncovered nodes are referred to as Explored/Explorable nodes in the picture. Thanks to whichever Unista uploaded this in the first place!

External Resources & Examples

Basic Hacking 101 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=169Vz2GPUOg)

Tips & Tricks

D-SCAN — Learn how to properly use your D-Scanner, it may save your life! Spam the D-Scan whilst scanning and hacking and get ready to run if you see something closing in; the extra few seconds might be what saves you. Also keep an eye our for other probes in system, both Core and Combat, and for Stealth Bombers popping up; if you see either consider moving on.

Check people in Local — Double-click the names in Local to get an idea of who is in system with you. People with a high Security Status are less likely to attack you than people with low or neutral status, but this shouldn't be relied on. If you're exploring in Faction Warfare space you can worry less about people in FW corps, but still keep your eyes open. Consider tagging people you have previously run in to in their Notes field or by adding them to your watchlist.

Ctrl+A on Local — Left click a name in Local then press Ctrl-A on the keyboard to select all capsuleers in the list. They'll show up highlighted, allowing you to easily see when someone new enters the system so you can check them out (see above).

Turn auto-repeat off — You only need to activate your Data or Relic Analyzer on the container once to initiate the hacking minigame; by turning auto-repeat off you save a little bit of cap and can get straight back to it if you fail an attempt.

System Core location — The System Core is often located on the opposite side of the board to your start location (it's not always the exact opposite side, as some people seem to believe). Don't spend too long on the nodes near your start location as it appears less likely it'll be there. Use the 1–5 numbers to guide your direction of movement: move away from high numbers and towards low numbers.

Go everywhere 'clear' first — Don't attack Defense Subsystems you don't need to; conserve your coherence, explore all available nodes first then review the situation and plan where to attack. Eliminate first the Subsystems that will unlock large chunks of board before worrying about the ones blocking one node.

Use the "minesweeper" numbers — Use the 1–5 numbers in empty nodes to guide your movement around the grid. For example, if you're approaching an edge or corner of the grid, and the number is a 5, then trying to explore anything towards that corner/edge is not useful, because you know that there cannot be anything good within 5 nodes. In general, you want to click in directions that make the numbers smaller. Note that the numbers disappear as you move along, so you need to remember where there were 5's, so you know which areas not to bother going back to later.

Orbit at 3km — If you're sitting still you're a sitting duck if someone jumps you! Orbit the container whilst completing the hacking minigame then approach when you're ready to destroy the System Core. By orbiting you make yourself harder to hit and by staying more than 2km from the object you may be able to get your cloak up before they can target you.

Don't trust anyone — Even the University runs classes on how to use CovOps ships for combat so never assume that someone isn't a threat just because they're in an exploration ship! In lowsec or nullsec, assume that any non-blue in Local is going to kill you, if you start running a Data/Relic site.

Cloak > Risk — If in doubt move away from the container and cloak up. Even if it proves unnecessary most of the time you'll be thankful those few times it does save you, and you (normally) won't lose anything by doing so.

Drop a can at the warp-in — The exact location someone arrives on-site will vary depending on where they're coming from, but if you drop a cargo container at the point you land there's a fair chance this will de-cloak anyone else who lands on-grid trying to get the drop on you.

Be lucky! — May your skies be empty and your cargo hold full.

FAQs

To be FA'd...

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