I was wondering about the feasibility, realism and balance of "traps" on electronic systems. By this I mean countermeasures that target a hacker, but without the need for an active monitor, and without having to hack the intruder's server or cyberbrain in return (which would leave biomorphs immune). The mechanics of this should be similar to a DOS attack.
The effects I'm thinking of involve primarily one-shot neurofeedback damage of the kind you find in Shadowrun and Ghost in the Shell, as well as Gibson's Burning Chrome and Neuromancer.
I'm unsure if this is (a) realistic against biological brains and optical as opposed to wired computers, (b) possible over wireless connection and (c) able to be balanced with existing scorchers, which take more work to use.
An example: The PC's need to hack a sensitive server inside a Cognite facility. There's a high quality firewall in place (-20). Failure logs the target's Mesh ID, deploys countermeasures and immediately shuts down the system after alerting security.
Logging the Mesh ID and shutting down the system are both things that could be rigged to happen automatically, and can be done instantly without counter-hacking the intruder.
Countermeasures consist of an information packet which, in addition to frying their mesh inserts as per an EMP grenade, delivers 2d10+10 damaging neurofeedback to the cranial computer (all the more reason to filter things through an ecto). To deliver this damage, the firewall makes a single opposed Infosec roll with a skill of 40 (representing the design quality), giving the hacker a chance to filter it in time, effectively "dodging" the trap.
I'm unclear on just how realistic it would be to send an information packet through radio, then optically, and have it damage the target in that classic cyberpunk brainburning fashion. My instincts say it wouldn't work, but I also wonder about more subtle effects on the model of seizure induction or, for synthmorphs, surge induction. Or even just a stunning sensory overload. A more realistic approach to the above example might simply involve a high energy radio pulse which fries mesh inserts and flash boils the target while denaturing their proteins.
At that point, I wonder about balance. If it's possible to "one shot" opponents in this fashion, then conventional hacking and scorchers potentially become moot.
On an related note, the source materials give us so much information about Exsurgent strains, yet nothing about transhuman viruses except for Dance Dance Robot.