|Cybernetic computer hackers.|
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Netrunners are fanatics of the workings of the Net. Rather than living in realspace where their abilities are limited by reality, Netrunners prefer to experience life through the means offered within the Net's artificial universe. With unique access to the Menu, they find themselves naturally savvy in sapping company networks and breaking into high-priority security systems for both a living and entertainment. These network trespasses are necessary to steal funds and information from networks. The data that is stolen is generally sold to a third party buyer, however this data does not come free, as the Netrunner must undergo the ultimate challenge of man versus machine in bypassing counter-intrusion programs that guard the techno-fortresses of the Net.
Every computer system linked to the Net contains information and data. While much is useless notes and records, there is also much that is incredibly valuable. Whether it's money that's up for grabs, corporate plans, structure blueprints, classified data on new technology and inventions, or anything of the like, somebody somewhere wants it, and it is a Netrunner who can obtain it. This ability of infiltration and cybertheft is highly sought after, rendering the assistance of a Netrunner rather pricy. The hefty expense is further steepened by the risk that Netrunners face in doing their work.
While interacting with an online virtual interface seems moderately safe, Netrunning is far more dangerous than most would imagine. To access the Net, a Netrunner must jack in using neural hubs and interface plugs which link directly to the brain. Through these links, data is transferred, both to and from their destinations, and unless the Netrunner is skilled enough to find a server's access logs and remove their own I.P., their signal can be traced. If traced, the server owner may act upon many options under the draconic laws around computer crime. This could be hiring a hit squad to the location of access, having the government issue heavy prison terms and a mindwipe, or frying the Netrunner's brain through their interface plugs the next time they attempt to infiltrate the server.
Most Netrunner's enjoy the thrill of their work, and the good ones make a decent living off of it. There are the unfortunate few who are burned out of the Net, but remain alive and without any access. The goal is to not become one of these few, and hone the skills of hacking to the level that they are unnoticed and more importantly untraceable, for if the Net is ever removed from a Netrunner, it is a wish that their life is removed as well.