Over on the Views From The Edge forum (which has just had a shiny new facelift) there's an exceptionally fun set of add-on netrunning rules, called run.net, which are intended to replace those found in the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook. I've been using these rules for a number of years now, with no complaints.
As I gear up for the final stages of our grand home campaign, I realised I needed to look into the possibility of mind or 'ghost' hacking, the type of brain intrusion seen in various iterations of Ghost In The Shell. So I've cobbled together the following options to add to the run.net sub-system. This could probably be tweaked easily for the new Cyberpunk RED system too.
Full transparency: This won't make much sense unless you are familiar with run.net.
Mind Hacking With run.net
aka Ghost Hacks
A connection may be made through a target's neural processor via a normal hack, directly by connecting through a target's interface plugs or other cybernetic input devices, or by injecting a biomodem interface directly into the brainstem. Biomodems are prohibited tech in most jurisdictions. A standard cybermodem is insufficient for mind hacking attempts (the tech is all wrong) - you'd need a slaved biomodem in tandem with a normal deck, unless you're going in direct (ie: your target is present and hopefully sedated. Bring a medtech.)
For a netrunner to learn this new set of Commands/Targets, they must be trained (either by a tutor or a VR) and begin with their Interface score halved for the purpose of Command and Target point distribution eg: Interface 8 becomes Interface 4, x10 as per rules, for 40 points, providing 20 points for Commands and 20 points for Targets (5 maximum on any Command or Target, as per run.net).
1. Find/Scan (Locate) 1. Ghostline (the entire ‘system’)
2. Interrogate (Query) 2. Memory
3. Mask (Conceal) 3. Senses (sensory inputs, bio-feedback)
4. Manipulate (Alter) 4. CNS (Central Nervous System - the main controls)
5. Dominate (Control) 5. ES (Endocrine System - hormones, biochemistry)
6. Penetrate (Infiltrate) 6. Neurochemistry (emotions, feelings, sleep, intelligence)
7. Lock (Secure) 7. Psyche (personality, empathy, cool)
8. Suppress (Limit) 8. Synapses (reflexes, processing speed)
9. Stimulate (Boost) 9. Morphology (physicality, the body, organics)
10. Overwrite (Edit) 10. Bio-interface (bioware, cybernetic processing)
Software has no effect on minds. This isn't about getting apps to do the heavy lifting for you, this is about subtle manipulation. This is meant to be bleeding-edge tech, so if you don't trust your players enough, don't let them have it. Just use it against them instead.
But why would you want to do any of this? Essentially what ghost hacking does is it turns the enemy's mind and body into a datafortress that can be raided. If you can have control over a body long enough you can literally have them commit crimes for you and keep your distance. Paralyse a foe, put someone to sleep, blank their memories for a few moments. Combined with braindance tech, you can literally erase and rewrite minds.
Full 'borgs really hate this shit.
And finally, to all the 2020 purists, I'm sorry/not sorry.