In the year 2077, currency has become digital and decentralized. People and corporations store their money on servers. By hacking these servers, you can steal their money and gain experience.

Gaining Root Access

The first step to hacking a server is to gain root access to that server. This can be done using the NUKE virus (NUKE.exe). You start the game with a copy of the NUKE virus on your home computer. The NUKE virus attacks the target server’s open ports using buffer overflow exploits. When successful, you are granted root administrative access to the machine.

In order for the NUKE virus to succeed, the target server needs to have enough open ports. Some servers have no security and will not need any ports opened. Some will have very high security and will need many ports opened. In order to open ports on another server, you will need to run programs that attack the server to open specific ports. These programs can be coded once your hacking skill gets high enough, or they can be purchased if you can find a seller.

There are two ways to execute port-opening programs and the NUKE virus:

  1. Connect to the target server through the Terminal and use the run Terminal command:

    $ run [programName]
  2. Use a Netscript Function:

There are two ways to determine how many ports need to be opened on a server in order to successfully NUKE it:

  1. Connect to that server through the Terminal and use the analyze command
  2. Use the getServerNumPortsRequired() Netscript function

Once you have enough ports opened on a server and have ran the NUKE virus to gain root access, you will be able to hack it.

General Hacking Mechanics

When you execute the hack command, either manually through the terminal or automatically through a script, you attempt to hack the server. This action takes time. The more advanced a server’s security is, the more time it will take. Your hacking skill level also affects the hacking time, with a higher hacking skill leading to shorter hacking times. Also, running the hack command manually through terminal is faster than hacking from a script.

Your attempt to hack a server will not always succeed. The chance you have to successfully hack a server is also determined by the server’s security and your hacking skill level. Even if your hacking attempt is unsuccessful, you will still gain experience points.

When you successfully hack a server. You steal a certain percentage of that server’s total money. This percentage is, once again, determined by the server’s security and your hacking skill level. The amount of money on a server is not limitless. So, if you constantly hack a server and deplete its money, then you will encounter diminishing returns in your hacking (since you are only hacking a certain percentage). You can increase the amount of money on a server using a script and the grow() function in Netscript.

Server Security

Each server has a security level, typically between 1 and 100. A higher number means the server has stronger security. It is possible for a server to have a security of level 100 or higher, in which case hacking that server will become impossible (0% chance for hack to succeed).

As mentioned above, a server’s security level is an important factor to consider when hacking. You can check a server’s security level using the analyze Terminal command. You can also check a server’s security in a script, using the getServerSecurityLevel() Netscript Function. See the Netscript documentation for more details.

Whenever a server is hacked manually or through a script, its security level increases by a small amount. Calling the grow() function in a script will also increase security level of the target server. These actions will make it harder for you to hack the server, and decrease the amount of money you can steal. You can lower a server’s security level in a script using the weaken() function in Netscript. See the Netscript documentation for more details

A server has a minimum security level that is equal to one third of its starting security, rounded to the nearest integer. To be more precise:

server.minSecurityLevel = Math.max(1, Math.round(server.startingSecurityLevel / 3))

This means that a server’s security level will not fall below this value if you are trying to weaken() it.


Servers that can be hacked can also have backdoors installed. These backdoors will provide you with a benefit; the services may be cheaper, penalties may be reduced or there may be other results. Honeypots exist and will let factions know when you have succeeded at backdooring their system. Once you have a backdoor installed, you can connect to that server directly.

When you visit a location in the city and see that the name is partially scrambled, this indicates that you have backdoored the server related to the location.