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“Of course the outermost layers of ice are easy to decrypt. That’s the point… Still, it makes you want to see what they’ve tucked inside.” Kate “Mac” McCaffrey[1]

Ice, or Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics, is the term for software designed to prevent a Runner from accessing valuable information in a corporate server.

To penetrate the layers of Ice protecting a server, Runners must use Icebreakers.

Types of Ice[]

Ice falls into three major categories.

Barriers protect sensitive data by "walling off" secure areas of a server.

Code Gates control net access to a server's data, requiring an authentic code to bypass. Penetrating a code gate has been described as similar to solving a puzzle.

Sentries patrol the online environment surrounding a server, ever vigilant for intruders.

A fourth, more minor type of ICE is Trap ice. These ICE are single-use, used more for their surprise value and low rez cost. Trap ice subroutines can only be broken by AI icebreakers, unless another subtype allows for an alternate route. They are usually trashed after the Runner first encounters it. Known Traps are Whirlpool, Data Mine and Howler.

Subclasses of Ice[]

In addition to the primary types of ice, there are several classifications of ice that can lead to different effects.

Bioroid ice are primarily used by Haas-Bioroid. Certain cards interact solely with bioroid ice, and bioroid ice usually have an ability to use clicks to break subroutines instead of using icebreakers.

AP ice is any type of ice that does direct damage to the runner, whether that be net damage, meat damage or brain damage. The only thing that currently interacts specifically with AP ice is Deus X.

Destroyer ice targets the runner's programs, and trashes one or more. When using this ability, the corporation chooses which program gets trashed (unless otherwise stated) and can choose the same program more than once, if so desired.

Tracer ice is ice that runs a trace on the runner. The effects of these traces usually include giving a tag, although any number of different effects can happen.

Observer ice appears to be a subtype of Tracer ice, which involves making the runner's life more difficult. Most are just giving a tag, but Data Hound allows the corp to look at the top of the stack and trash one card.

Psi ice is a specialty of Jinteki, and enables for different abilities. The corporation and runner wager in secret 0, 1 or 2 credits. If the two sides spent a different amount of credits, the subroutine takes effect.

Illicit ice is more dangerous ice that causes the corporation to take bad publicity upon rezing it. This type was introduced in the Spin Cycle.

Yet another subclass of ice is Morph ice, which is capable of changing form in between runs, so Runners can never be entirely sure what to expect each time they encounter it: “It’s weird. I hit the server again and it was like a totally different piece of ice was waiting for me. Lost my root daemon. I shouldn’t have nested them seven deep.”

Name Origin[]

The term "ICE" originates in William Gibson's Neuromancer.