Deckers can use their cyberdeck in augmented reality mode to wirelessly connect to nearby devices: cameras, maglocks, other people’s commlinks and smartguns… They can exploit these connections to hack the device and sublety manipulate them: stealing data, listening to phone calls, looping camera feeds, opening doors. Or they can abandon subtlety and switch to cybercombat: crashing devices, flooding them with bad data and 0-day vulnerabilities until they are knocked offline entirely.
People can defend against deckers in a few ways. The simplest method is to form a private network controlled by your commlink. A network groups all their gear behind the controller, then establishes it as the beachhead connection to the rest of the matrix. Now, in order to hack the devices in a network, the decker first has to hack the network itself. It’s not a lot of extra protection (unless they have a really expensive commlink), but it’s something.
Deckers and riggers can form more powerful networks using their cyberdeck or dronedeck as as controller. These are harder to hack, as these devices are much more powerful than any commlink – and even if you do hack into them, the decker or rigger might notice.
Corp wageslaves working in a facility often use a network controlled by a powerful host. This provides a lot more protection. To hack devices on a host-controlled network, the decker first of all has to hack the host; that involves a trip into VR, leaving their meatbod behind as a floppy, vulnerable shell.
Hosts are also where corps keep their juicy (and valuable!) secrets, so deckers naturally gravitate to attacking them. Those secrets are guarded by ICE and by counter-decker security staff called spiders, so it won’t be easy. Hosts can be hacked via wireless connections if the decker can get within connection range, but it’s better to find a convenient device the host trusts and use it to establish a back door via a wired connection to its inner workings.
With wireless connectivity, deckers also loom large on the modern battlefield. They can host and defend tacnets, realtime AR overlays for members of their team that allow them to share tactical information. When the situation calls for stealth, they can reconfigure their network to hide on the Matrix, disguising dataflow between the devices to look innocuous. And finally, they can make powerful DoS Attacks against opponents, overloading their electronic gear with junk data to inhibit its functionality.