Hacking is one of the technical skills available in System Shock 2.

This skill allows to reprogram various devices in the game to bypass their security, giving access or altering their function. Hackable objects have a “HACK” panel on the side of their MFD display. Hacking skill requirements depend on the target device:

Hacking Table

Minimum Skill Device Nanite cost Success effects Critical Failure effects
1 Keypads 3-25 Access granted, Keypad inactive Keypad broken
1 Security Computers 3-15 Security temporarily disabled Alarm set off, Security Computer broken
1 Computer Terminals 3-5 Access granted, force shield lowered Computer Terminal broken
2 Security Crates 5-10 Access granted, Crate opened Crate destroyed
3 Replicators 3-20 Prices lowered, item selection changed Replicator broken
4 Turrets 5-15 Turret reprogrammed to attack our foes Alarm set off, Turret access port broken
6 GamePig™ 50 All 6 standard games available, bonuses in 3 games -
6 High Security Crates 9-10 Access granted, Crate opened Crate destroyed



The top of the Hack MFD display shows the effects of successfully hacking the device. The bottom of the screen describes the Initial Difficulty, any bonuses that are applicable from the Hacking skill, Cybernetic Affinity statistic, Hacking Software, equipment (ExperTech™ Implant) and optional O/S Upgrade (Security Expert), the resulting final difficulty and the number of ICE nodes. On the far right of the Hack display is the cost in Nanites and a button marked Start. Click Start (or Reset, if you’re already hacking) to pay the cost in Nanites and Start (or Restart) the hacking process. The inferface will show a connected set of squares, outlined either in cyan or red. The cyan squares are the ones you have identified as “safe” while the red squares are dangerous “ICE nodes”. The number of dangerous squares depends on the CYB statistic, the type of the device and its placement in the game (devices found further generally have much higher Initial Difficulty and more ICE nodes).

Every point of Hacking skill decreases difficulty by 10%, as does the ExperTech™ Implant and each level of Hack Soft. Every level of CYB decreases difficulty by 5% and additionally reduces the number of ICE nodes by 1.
Security Expert O/S Upgrade decreases difficulty by 20%, but only when hacking Security Computers.

To successfully hack the device, you must get three squares to light up in a straight line. Click on a square to attempt to light it up. The percentage in the upper left of the MFD is the final difficulty, or in other words, the chance you fail to light a square up (this percentage can never fall below 15%, no matter how high your Hack skill, CYB stat and bonuses are).
If you fail on a “safe” node, it turns dark and its state cannot be changed until the Hacking process is reset.
If you fail on an ICE node, however, you critically fail the Hack. Critical failures cause most devices to break and be in need of Repair (they are unhackable until repaired ; Turrets can only be fixed using Auto-Repair Units).
Take special care when it comes to all Security Crates, as they explode as a result of critical fails!
Also, if you're hacking a Security Computer or a Turret, a critical failure sets off the security alarm!

The ICE Pick can also be used for one-time instantaneous hacking.

Remember! One part of the game requires the player to hack a Replicator. You'll need at least Hacking level 3 or Remote Circuitry Manipulation Psi power with a decent PSI stat (and enough Psi points) or one ICE Pick to proceed.
This part is otherwise unpassable. However, as a last resort it's possible to summon the target item by using a code.


  • The Tri-OS part of the display (located on the right side, between the Hacking cost and the Start/Reset button) used to be active in earlier versions of the game, during its development. That area was highlighted if the player had any Hacking Software installed, with the small dark window displaying the current version of the Software.
    This is still depicted in some versions of the game manual. In the final product the Tri-OS area is still a part of the displayed MFD but is dimmed and inactive.

See Also

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.