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As far as I understand, to enter a host, everybody needs a mark on that host.

In legal circumstances the host would perform the Invite Mark action, the matrix user would acquire the mark and then enter with Enter/Exit Host.

A hacker using Hack on the fly could acquire a mark as well and enter the host with Enter/Exit Host.

So how does the host (or its IC, Spiders, whatever) determine which mark on the host was given intentionally and which was hacked? What test does the host roll and when? Or is it obvious to the host and no roll is required, meaning a hacker must always use running silent?

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Invited marks are recorded. The Matrix chapter details how an invitation includes a duration, and if you log off and return to the Matrix before the duration expires, you are automatically extended a new invitation to mark that host until the duration is up. Presumably, a spider or HR manager can view and edit the list of invited marks, to remove invitations from people who have resigned or been terminated so that they can't continue to access their former employer's host. The Patrol IC program is specifically shown in one of the hacking examples to go around examining personas inside the host to make sure they're supposed to be there, and it mentions the decker in that scenario hoping the spider isn't around to make his own Matrix Perception checks.

A successful Matrix Perception test can identify a unique persona. Should a Patrol IC or a valid user (maybe someone that says "Hey, I don't recognize that icon..." or a watchful spider on patrol) identify a persona that doesn't belong on that host, it's safe to assume they'll set off an alarm. In a corporate environment, the ordinary users probably just notify the spider, giving you a bit more time before the heat really comes down (the spider needs to verify the problem before deploying the IC that can shut down production). In a more public environment - like a club - ordinary users probably have no clue who is and isn't allowed in, and thus only the spider (if there is one) and Patrol IC (if they're there) are likely to spot you.

Running silent is a double-edged sword. It allows you to actively resist being scanned by Matrix Perception tests, but if you're found running silent on most hosts, they'll automatically assume you're not there legally. Hard choices all around.

On a final note, this is one of the few places where a Technomancer truly shines over a decker. Using the Puppeteer Complex Form, the Technomancer can cause a device to use the Invite Mark action (marks: 3; duration: unlimited). Assuming invited marks from slaved devices also give marks on their masters (the way hacked marks do), you can get onto a host's list of invites that way. (That part is really subject to GM interpretation, though, I'm afraid.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) As far as I understand, all of the mentioned uses of Matrix Perception are not opposed. A single hit is enough to recognize if the persona was invited into the host. 2) All icons in a host are visible to a persona in the host. 3) It's to be expected that most personas used for security in a host roll at least 4-6 dice for Matrix Perception almost alway getting at least one hit. 4) A hacker cannot predict what icon the security of the host would check next. --> If 1,2,3 and 4 are true, being discovered is purely the GM's decision, there is no way for a player to guess the chance. Am I right? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 26, 2014 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed. I personally prefer to run silent, as not being noticed in the first place is better than praying that you're not randomly scanned. But the other way has a stronger roleplay feel - you do your best to blend in and look like one of the herd, etc. Most average users aren't making nonstop Perception tests, and even the spider (if there is one) isn't likely to keep checking every icon in sight. It's really just the Patrol IC you have to worry about. If lots of users are logged into that host, there's just one patroller trying to spot you among thousands... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 27, 2014 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe a technomancer could also compile a sprite to get the mark, and then have the sprite use the Spoof Command matrix action to get his master granted a legitimate mark offered by the host. Technomancy 4 lyfe, yo. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 26, 2014 at 1:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Few suggestions: 1. You might want to mention that such a file could be "edited" by the hacker as well. 2. Security devices typically run silent. With the Wrapper program loaded on your deck you could pretend to be one. 3. Paranoid security could also use the perception hits to look for other red flags, notably the time stamps on certain files, programs being run by a persona (so if you are running any hacking programs ...) and the last action icon performed and when. \$\endgroup\$
    – Korusef
    May 5, 2015 at 14:17

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