The Net

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NET Security
The vast majority of people use the NET as it was intended to be used, as a means of sharing knowledge and communicating with other users and networked computers to carry out productive and lawful transactions. Most users just use Terminals, not needing any greater functionality than what is provided by default. Even those who have specialize computing needs tend to use Computers with fairly pedestrian Software installed, such as word processors, Computer Aided Design applications, Accounting Software, and similar practical utilities.
Using the NET "creatively" is where Hackers come in. A skilled Hacker maintains one or more Personal Computers (PC); almost always a Portable one; loaded with custom Software that they have either designed themselves, or acquired from others, with less mundane uses than a spreadsheet or database or document editor that are designed to do things that range from the relatively harmless to the outright malignant.
Hackers can do a lot of amazing things with a good Computer and a few minutes of open NET connectivity, particularly if they have had time to write tailor-made custom applications in advance and just need to upload them and let them run asynchronously.
Fortunately for Hackers there are numerous commercially valid reasons to connect another Computer to the NET via a Terminal and in general public Terminals lack much in the way of physical security.
Businesses on the other hand typically have defacto physical security in the way of whatever security their office buildings have. Further some go so far as to semi-permanently secure all Ports to the specific Computer that uses it on a day to day basis, and a few go so far as to disconnect all Computers from their terminals each night and lock a faceplate over the Terminals to frustrate potential after-hours abusers.
Regardless, the security of the NET is primarily to be found in the NET rather than around how one accesses the NET.
Each Terminal has a unique ID, and further all Computers that can connect to the NET via Terminal also have a unique ID, which theoretically allows NET access and traffic to be logged and monitored by Software specifically designed to handle such tasks.
Thus if Joe User uses their PC to plug into a NET Terminal and then access a hosted EMail server and run a specialized EMail client from their PC, a piece of security Software on the EMail server running in the background could ascertain the Terminal Joe User is plugged into and the ID associated with the PC that Joe User is using, in addition to whatever information is used to authenticate and access Joe User's EMail account on the server.
Of course, one of the first and most crucial things all Hackers must learn to do is to defeat the Unique ID'ing of their PC. More sophisticated Hackers also learn ways to disguise or obfuscate what Terminal they are using as well. Thus, this sort of security is akin to the locks on a house -- they'll deter the casual miscreant, but they will barely slow down a professional worth the name.
Due to the lack of physical security and inablity of monitoring to prevent serious Hackers, the primary means of security found on the NET is software based.
In some Mindscapes Security features are handled entirely outside of the Mindscape itself, at the hardware level (typically called "ex-Scape"). This type of security isn't very sophisticated, but it is effectively beyond the awareness (or ability to intefere with directly) of a user immersed in the Mindscape itself. Such security typically enforces various rules or policies and logical checks against diagnostic or emitted data at a very broad level; thus it is very effective at asserting absolutes and fact-based rules against the running state of a Mindscape.
However, due to running outside of a Mindscape's framework and not being integrated with the NEC content directly, this type of security is not good or even capable of interacting at real time speed with users of a Mindscape. Examples of ex-Scape Security are jobs that periodically run in the background and check to see if connected user's accounts are still up to date or if violation flags against a user have been logged and initiate the appropriate action (like DISCONNECT USER or CANCEL ACCOUNT).
More sophisticated security features are themselves NEC units that are part of the Mindscape they are responsible for securing (typically referred to as "in-Scape"), and are almost always designed to match the theme of the Mindscape they are in. Due to being integrated, this type of security is able to react to events occuring within the Mindscape and act on custom programming to take necessary actions.
However, such security has no ability to enact machine-level or other security measures outside of the Mindscape they run in (though they can raise alerts that some other security software can take action on). Examples of in-Scape Security are "guardsmen" or "cop" AI's or other AI representations of authority that enforce the rules of the Mindscape.
In addition to programmatic security, Mindscapes generally have one or more "Mods", short for Moderators, who are human users like other users but who have a suite of administrative options available to them. Large commercial Mindscapes might have dozens of Mods working in shifts for constant coverage, while smaller Mindscapes might only have one or a few Mods who periodically check in and take action as needed.
Moderated security requires less investment in software and at its best is extremely effective. However, the human element is always unpredictable, and in some high-security Mindscapes the potential for a mole or inside man (or a hacker!) with Moderator access is too high.
Highly secured environments will employ in-Scape and ex-Scape, while most casual or "entertainment" based Mindscapes will use one or the other with some degree of Moderated support; low budget solutions tend toward ex-Scape and / or Moderated, while high end NEC shops tend towards in-Scape as they have the talent in house to develop such measures. Many online games prefer to rely heavily on the Moderated approach, particularly those that feature "avatar progression" as the Mods serve a dual purpose of security and tier 1 customer support.