Technological advances have allowed corporations to push the envelope of human experience to heights previously unimaginable. Mankind has colonized the Moon and Mars. Powerful computer and neurobiological technologies have allowed scientists to create digital maps of the mind, empowering new artificial intelligences and electronic brain interfaces. Gone are the days of the mouse and the keyboard. Most users transfer data via gestural interfaces and virt displays, but the elite “jack-in,” connecting their brains directly to their computers and, beyond them, the omnipresent network.
Everyone relies on the network, the all-seeing, all-hearing grid that surrounds Earth and reaches out into the solar system. More data flows through the network every second than was ever expressed in the first five-thousand years of written language. It is a surveillance network, a financial system, and a library. It is the backbone of modern civilization. It is also the greatest weakness the megacorps have.
There are those who hunt constantly for flaws in corporate security measures. They hunt for different purposes. Some hope to expose the root hypocrisy of these business giants built upon the labor of mistreated and impoverished drones and held in place by fraudulently legitimized monopolies. Some want to explode the walls that hide corporate secrets and usher in a new age of free information. And others merely want to make some quick credits, hacking for secrets and turning them around on the black market. These rogue operators with the hardware, software, and raw talent to exploit the corporations greatest weaknesses are the individualists known as netrunners.
~ Fantasy Flight Games