Riser's Ratings: Chaos Engine
Resources: (Firepower-Online attacks) 5, (Magic) 0, (Personnel) ?
Threat Rating: 5
Chaos Engine is a very new group on the scene, unlike the others that have been around for decades. With the ubiquitous wire- less Matrix, it was only a matter of time before some group rose up to exploit the newest territory. Chaos Engine isn’t the only Matrix gang around, but it certainly is one of the most powerful. None of my sources could tell me where they came from, or even where they’re based, and really, it’s hard to separate the facts from the fiction with this group. If anyone else wants to chime in, please do so.
specializes in high-end Matrix theft, protection rackets, holding data or online personas hostage, info brokerage, and virtual muggings. They take in significant nuyen amounts through mass identity theft and data rape schemes, often reselling the data and IDs to other criminal organizations in package deals. They’ve also twisted the typical white-collar crimes of the Matrix into a violent parody of the worst crimes common in the barrens and slums today. A favorite trick is for a group of gangers to shred through an online VR meeting room, hitting the attendees with a soft Blackout or Blackhammer utility, jamming open their connec- tions and preventing the terrified wageslaves from logging off. The gangers then typically demand a nuyen transfer from their hostages into the gang’s own temporary black bank account. Anyone who doesn’t comply is hit with a full Blackhammer, flatlining them. This isn’t as profitable as many of their other avenues of income, but it catches headlines and terrifies folks, so it gets much more attention than when they electronically re-route a drone-controlled cargo ship to a pirate port and rake in the nuyen from selling off the cargo.
Because they are focused on Matrix crimes, the gang has attracted the attention of larger syndicates with Matrix interests — either because they’re competing or because Chaos Engine has targeted them. The Seoupla Rings, for example, would dearly love to shut down the gang. While the gang doesn’t seem to buy or sell the various downloadable BTLs and other brainbenders that the syndicates would like to control, the gang does participate in software cracking and distribution — not to mention ID thefts and forgeries that the syndicates believe should be theirs alone.
Chaos Engine is also a prime player in the field of viruses and malware, often entering a node and infecting the data with a worm or virus, or even a databomb, then demanding payment from the node’s owners. If the payment is not received, or GridSec is notified, they detonate the bomb or release the virus.
According to figures I saw from GOD, they estimated that Chaos Engine was responsible for over 200 deaths in the last six months, and they have stolen an estimated 45-50 million nuyen, not including data that was stolen to be sold on the black market or their profitable sponsorship of pirated software exchanges.
Incredible. Why haven’t the GOD hackers wiped these snakes out?
Couple of reasons ... I’d speculate that Chaos Engine has contacts within several international police agencies, either that or they have someone in their pocket, or significant blackmail or threats hanging over some important people. Another is that they operate by cells, with each cell unaware of what others are doing, where they’re located, or who the identities behind the personas really are. The GOD hackers manage to find one cell, but then they can’t go any further. Supposedly, the different cells forward a percentage of their nuyen on to anonymous bank accounts and receive their instructions via anonymous downloads or virtual postings in innocuous chat rooms. Unlike other gangs, they never seem to use the same gang symbols or iconography — they change icons and symbols all the time, on some seemingly random basis. In the Asian gaming venue, being labeled as a Chaos Engine hacker is considered the ultimate, and the wannabes mimic what they believe the symbols or iconography is — which makes it damn hard for the Matrix cops to even figure out who’s just a script kiddy with an attitude or a dangerous criminal. These people seem to have perfected the art of hiding in plain sight.
GOD started accumulating data on these guys about 2 years ago. Unfortunately, GOD’s systems were hacked and the data erased. They then started keeping the data in a fully offline system, but the data mysteriously disappeared from there, too—and no signs that anyone broke in or tampered with the system. Since then, they’ve discovered they just can’t keep data on these guys around... they’ve actually begun keeping files on old-fashioned paper. The kind made from trees. Half the time they attempt to email, fax, or electronically send data about Chaos Engine to another police organization, it disappears midstream. GOD has reverted to the dark ages, sending secured couriers with a briefcase full of paper across town (or the world) to get the data out. As you can imagine, it has severely hampered their ability to police this gang. It doesn’t help that a number of the secured couriers have been assassinated in mid-run, their papers stolen. Those agents working on this case are seriously spooked. Rumor is that GOD has asked its ARM division to loan it some technomancers, to see if they can help. ARM’s not cooperating, surprise, surprise — internal rivalries at their best.
After what some GOD hackers did to a couple of technomancers on loan from Horizon, I doubt that ARM will ever oblige. They may be on their own or forced to hire “freelancers.”
Rumor up the well is that Chaos Engine owns a couple of dedicated satellites — ones that went “missing” off the books during the Crash 2.0. Using satellites is a good way to prevent any backtracking, even if your speed suffers.
-- Orbital DK
I’ve seen it posted that one of the primary goals of the gang is to break down barriers; they want “a free-flowing, chaotic exchange of data, unstopped by the rules and laws and artificial boundaries of metahumanity.” Other places, their graffiti states, “Break the Dam, release the ocean of data!” and “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm!” and “Hack The Planet!” or other inane, anti-establishment clichés. Kinda hard to take them seriously with such stupid mottos.
Actions, not words, my friend. In Singapore, a politician had sponsored an effort to limit Matrix access for minors, restricting access for those under 18 to many of the VR games so popular in the region. He was found dead one day before presenting his bill, and the autopsy ruled his death a brain aneurism. (Mind, the guy didn’t have a datajack and wouldn’t touch hot sim with a ten-foot pole.) Within seconds of his death — before the police even found his body—Chaos Engine was boasting on multiple message boards that they were responsible. I take them very seriously.
-- The Smiling Bandit
Believe what you want, Slamm-0!, these guys scare the hell out of me. I got called to look at a virus they created that had shredded a system. It wasn’t made by any mundane programmer out there. The only thing I could say was that it was ... wrong. Destructive in a way that didn’t even make sense, like they’d ripped up the ... hell, now I’m starting to sound like Netcat. Never mind.
I ran into some of these gangers, I think. Hard to tell; they don’t exactly announce their presence. But, they had something remarkably like sprites with them, and those buggers ripped through my buddy in about two seconds flat. I’ve never seen anything like it. If that’s what you mean by wrong, well, then .... Shit.