HACKERS

Hackers are just what it says on the tin. They can hack into computer systems and retrieve or rewrite information. Hackers are a fairly in-demand profession. Even though the term 'hacker' implies something illegal, some 'former' hackers will be hired as technical consultants for private citizens, PIs, and even occasionally, the police. Some have patrons or are employed directly by gangsters, while others are freelancers who pick up jobs or steal and sell information themselves.

Not all hackers are dippers, but all dippers are hackers. The base skills are the same, and dipping is a specialty.

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DIPPERS

Dippers are hackers who can hack into needlecast transmissions when Meths, C-TAC agents, or just individuals travelling around planet or to the colonies upload and/or back up their consciousness or transmit their DHF. This is a kind of digital eavesdropping that allows them to slough information that would otherwise be carefully guarded. The amount of time a dipper has to listen in on information depends on the distance the signal is being transmitted. A DHF that is needlecast across the room in a resleeving facility has a miniscule window to try and glean information. Transmitting across the planet or to a satellite gives a more reasonable window, while off-planet transmissions allow the most possible time, though there is still a limited window as the signal moves out of range.

Being a dipper is a bit like being a technological telepath who can listen in and make copies of memories while they're being needlecast. It's a dangerous profession that carries heavy penalties if caught, but it can be highly lucrative. Although they can make copies of memories, dippers can't modify DHF. The reason for this is that the stack and the DHF itself is all alien technology. Humanity has learned how to use it, but it's still not entirely understood. Dippers can listen in on, but not rewrite neural code.

Theoretically, a dipper could work in concert with a psychosurgeon to alter a DHF. This would be an incredibly difficult feat to pull off, because it involves duplicating a DHF (illegal, and thus very difficult to achieve) rewriting the DHF in virtual with the help of a psychosurgeon, then splicing that memory back into the original DHF while it's being needlecast.