Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics

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Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics (ICE) is a term used in cyberpunk literature to refer to security programs which protect computerized data from being accessed by hackers.

Origin of term[edit]

The term was popularized by William Gibson in his short story "Burning Chrome", which also introduced the term cyberspace, and his subsequent novel Neuromancer.[1][2] According to the Jargon File, as well as Gibson's own acknowledgements, the term ICE was originally coined by Tom Maddox.[1]

Description of ICE[edit]

When viewed in a cyberspace virtual reality environment, these constructs are often represented by actual walls of ice, stone, or metal. Black ICE refers to ICE that are capable of killing the intruder if deemed necessary or appropriate; some forms of black ICE may be artificially intelligent.

Real-world usage[edit]

Though real-life firewalls and similar programs fall under this classification, the term has little real world significance and remains primarily a science fiction concept. This can be attributed to the fact that using the term "electronics" to describe software products (such as firewalls) is somewhat of a misnomer.

Nevertheless, the term ICE has recently been adopted by real-world software manufacturers:

On April 28, 2009, the Information and Communications Enhancement Act, or ICE Act for short, was introduced to the United States Senate by Senator Tom Carper to make changes to the handling of information security by the federal government, including the establishment of the National Office for Cyberspace.[3][4]

Usage in fiction[edit]

The term ICE is widely used in cyberpunk fiction. White ICE trips an alarm, or simply logs an intrusion. Gray ICE fights defensively. Black ICE will follow the intruder back to their computer, and completely destroy it, possibly harming the intruder.

Anime[edit]

  • Cyber City Oedo 808
  • Ghost in the Shell, where ICE is referred to directly by name (S.A.C. 2nd GiG), or else as an 'Offensive Firewall' (Manga, Standalone Complex, S.A.C. 2nd GiG, Solid State Society). Offensive Firewalls parallel Black ICE, in that they are able to kill anyone attempting access through the network, most often by causing a destructive voltage overload of the Cyberbrain BCI resulting in irreversible denturated braindeath, an external hematoma at the Fort Plug connection, and with a characteristic smell of burning mixed with putrefaction. Within the anime television series (S.A.C, S.A.C 2nd GiG), this kind of event is described as a Cyberbrain Burn, echoing Gibson's term within the short story Burning Chrome and other fictional works within the Sprawl Trilogy.

Cartoons[edit]

  • Phantom 2040, though in it "ICE" stands for "Integrated Cyber Environment", referring to cyberspace, rather than Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics[5]

Card games[edit]

  • Netrunner, where the corporate player uses ice and the runner player uses icebreakers; while corps in Netrunner understand ICE to be an acronym for "Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics", the runner viewpoint is that the acronym should be for "Insidious Cortical Electrocution"
  • Android: Netrunner, an adaptation of the original Netrunner, now as a Living Card Game.

Literature[edit]

Roleplaying games[edit]

Movies[edit]

Television[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Anarchy Online features an item called "Hacker ICE-Breaker Source", which can be further upgraded to "Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics Upgrade".
  • BloodNet uses the term to describe the technology the player must overcome when hacking a computer system.
  • Deus Ex, where the player's hacking program is referred to as an "ICE Breaker"
  • Dystopia, wherein there are security programs called "ICE walls"
  • Mr. Robot, where "ICE" in its RPG part refers to shields or armor that can be attacked by various "ICE breaker"s
  • Perfect Dark Zero, where players use ICE technology to bypass security.
  • Project Snowblind, features an ICE pick, to hack enemy cameras, turrets, and robots and use them against enemy forces.
  • Ripper has the player break into various cyberspace systems, which involves fighting the "ICE" security programs in the form of a rail shooter.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, an item called "ICE Breaker" can be obtained and used as a hacking tool during a sequence on the Leviathan, in which the player chooses one character to remain behind and attempt to rescue the other captured party members.
  • System Shock, where ICE is represented in cyberspace as both autonomous security programs and ICE protection attached to data or software objects appearing as blue crystal formations.
  • System Shock 2, where an item that auto-hacks electronics is known as an "ICE Pick"

Web Comics[edit]

  • Schlock Mercenary, icewalls are a standard security measure used in the future portrayed in this space opera.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Ice". The Jargon File. 2003-10-27. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  2. ^ a b William Gibson (1984). Neuromancer. Ace Books. ISBN 0-441-56959-5. 
  3. ^ Howard, Alexander B. (2009-04-28). "ICE Act would restructure cybersecurity rule, create White House post". SearchCompliance. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  4. ^ "S.921 - U.S. ICE Act of 2009". OpenCongress. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Fire and I.C.E.". Phantom 2040. Season 1. Episode 4.