Hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty fun!
In this guide, we will cover:
- Different types of Quickhacks + how to get them
- Breach Protocol tutorial
- Which Attributes and Passives to spec into
- Cyberware + Cyberdecks
- How to Jack In/Out + why it’s important
- Why Crafting is essential for Quickhacks
- Strategy Tips + Tricks
Attributes for Quickhacks
For skills and perks that impact Quickhacks, you’ll want to spec into these Attributes:
- Technical Ability
If you’re going for a Netrunner class with a build that focuses on hacking, you’ll want to be familiar with both Breach Protocol and Quickhacks. These two perk trees are located under the Intelligence attribute.
All Attributes max out at level 20. If hacking is your main focus, I recommend maxing out Intelligence to level 20 first.
Specing into Intelligence will increase Cyberdeck RAM capacity, Quickhack damage, and Quickhack duration each time you level.
Once you’ve maxed out Intelligence, you can start specing into Technical Ability and Cool and depe nding on your build, you may want to spec into Reflexes as well.
Technical Ability is great for opening locked doors and using tech weapons but it also pertains to crafting, which we’ll cover in a bit.
Specing into Cool increases crit damage, stealth damage, resistances, and reduces enemy detection rate each time you level. You can also unlock the Cold Blood passive which I discuss more under passives.
Cold Blood is something you can use to your advantage to take your hacking to super saiyan level.
Specing into Reflexes increases your crit chance each time you level. This impacts Cyberdecks, an essential element in hacking, which I cover more under Cyberware and Cyberdecks.
If you’re looking for more info on Attributes, Perk Points, Skills, and more check out this guide full of super helpful tips, especially if you’re just getting started in the game.
Types of Quickhacks
Some Quickhacks may include things like:
- Ping – ping all targets by tagging enemies and devices in the area
- Distract Enemies – cause a device to malfunction and buy time while an enemy investigates
- Reboot Optics – an enemy can’t see or detect you for a short time
- Contagion – deals damage (poison) to enemies and spreads to nearby enemies
- Overheat, Synapse Burnout, Short Circuit – use interchangeably while others are on cooldown to finish an enemy already affected by a previous Quickhack that didn’t die
- Cybersychosis, Suicide – use on tough enemies (red skull icon), cause enemies to off themselves or turn on each other
- Camera Control – Take over and swap between different cameras in the area
- Turn Off (Remote Activation) – Turn off all cameras/devices in the area
View your Quickhacks in your Inventory under Cyberware then click on Operating System. In this menu, you can view all the Quickhacks you have access to and can swap them out to fit your preferred playstyle. Remember, the amount of Quickslots you have is determined by your Cyberdeck. So when upgrading Cyberdeck, the amount of Quickhack slot s is a factor you’ll want to consider.
You can also view available Quickhacks if you go into scan mode. (access by holding tab on PC) On the left, you’ll see a list of all your available Quickhacks.
In order to initiate a Quickhack, you will need ram. Think of RAM as the cost or battery juice you need to execute your Quickhacks. If your not sure on your RAM stats, in the character screen under Health, you’ll see your RAM listed as well as RAM recover rate – both during and not during combat.
Quickhacks can be unlocked, purchased and even crafted.
Unlock Quickhacks by completing missions. For example, you can unlock the Ping Quickhack by completing a quest called “The Gift”.
If you don’t want to wait to unlock Quickhacks, you can actually buy some from a vendor. Purchasing some base Quickhacks early on can be a great strategy. To do this, you’ll need to visit a Netrunner NPC.
Look for this icon on your map:
I would recommend buying all base Quickhacks so you have access to them whenever you need. Note that once you acquire these base Quickhacks, later on, you’ll most likely want to craft your own by upgrading the base versions to the next level tier, and in doing this, you won’t need to revisit the Netrunner NPC again.
If you’re looking to craft Quickhacks, you’ll want to spec into the Intelligence attribute. In the Quickhacking perk tree, be sure to grab these 4 passives which unlock crafting specs for the following Quickhacks:
- HACKER’S MANUAL – for uncommon Quickhacks
- SCHOOL of HARD HACKS – for rare Quickhacks
- HACKER OVERLORD – for epic Quickhacks
- BARTMOSS’ LEGACY – for legendary Quickhacks
When you’re ready to craft, in your menu, under Crafting, you will see two tabs, one for Crafting and one for Upgrades.
Under Crafting, click on the Quickhacks tab on the far right. Make sure you’ve equipped the Quickhack you want to upgrade by clicking “Cyberdeck” and selecting it under “Mods”. You must also have the necessary Quickhack components listed. You can find these in your backpack under Inventory.
You can acquire Quickhack components by completing Breech Protocols and uploading daemons to Access Points.
You can also upgrade the rarity of your current Quickhacks to increase your favorite effects.
When you successfully Breach Protocol, you’re hacking all devices and enemies connected to that particular network. Using the Ping Quickhack will show you which ones are connected and highlight them all so they’re easy to spot. You can ping enemies and even cameras, giving you an advantage if your sneaking by or planning a sneak attack. As mentioned above, you can unlock the Ping Quickhack by completing a quest called “The Gift”.
Look for this icon on devices, near walls, etc.
To Breach Protocol, you will need to connect to an Access Point, Jack In/Out, or open a Data Shard (lore). Upon doing so, you will see a screen with these 4 parts:
- Code Matrix
- Sequence Required to Upload (and unlock daemons)
- Breach Time Remaining
Notice the code matrix on the left, different sequences on the right with their corresponding unlockable daemons, and your buffer slots on the top.
The Code Matrix works sort of like a crossword puzzle that alternates between rows and columns. (vertically to horizontally)
Sequence Required to Upload
Sequence Required to Upload is the possible sequence(s) you can complete to upload and unlock daemons – or viruses to the network. Each sequence unlocks a corresponding daemon (and reward) once successfully activated. Rewards include effects, eurodollars, components, or Quickhacks.
Buffer is how many slots or “moves” you have to successfully complete the sequence(s).
Breach Time Remaining
Breach Time Remaining is your time left to complete the sequence(s).
Breach Protocol (Tutorial)
Once you understand the Breach Protocol minigame, it can be a lot of fun and give you some great rewards.
Starting with the top row, the number/letter combination you choose will determine which column you have access to next, followed by the following row, then the following column, etc. Depending on which you’re on, you’ll be able to move left or right in each row and up or down in each column but you are locked to that particular row/column during that “move”.
The first letter/number combination does NOT necessarily have to be the first one in a sequence. As long as you complete the sequence in order (within the buffer slots you have) you will successfully upload that daemon to the Access Point and receive the corresponding rewards.
You can hover over each letter/number combination in the sequence(s) to see every time it appears in the code matrix. This can help you plan out your moves in advance and I recommend doing so since the countdown timer (Breach Time Remaining) doesn’t start until you make your first move. So take as long as you want in this “planning” stage.
Note that the first letter/number combination DOES however impact which column you’ll have access to next so pay attention to all the possible options when planning out your moves.
Either way, the first letter/number combo you chose will take up one buffer slot. Notice each sequence will shift one space, once the first buffer slot is filled, even if you haven’t started to unlock a sequence yet. As long as you have enough buffer slots to complete the sequence(s) (in order), you’re good to go! As you progress throughout the game, the code matrix will increase and the sequences will get more complicated and harder to complete. (This is why additional buffer slots really come in handy!)
More buffer slots = more chances at getting all 3 sequences and more daemons unlocked, (more eurodollars, etc.) You’ll start with 4 buffer slots but you can get additional slots by upgrading your Cyberdeck when visiting a Ripperdock. You can also craft your own, or unlocking additional slots by leveling (but keep in mind, you’ll need to wait until Crafting level 19 in Breach Protocol which may take some time.)
Any sequence(s) you don’t complete, whether you ran out of time, buffer slots, or miss clicked will be marked as failed. If you don’t see any feasible options between the code matrix and the sequence(s), you can back out and start over if you do so before you make your first move and activate the countdown timer. Each time you do this, once you “start”, you will have less time to complete the sequence(s) but it can sometimes work out in your favor. Or, you can always save right before and load that previous save if you fail to initiate a sequence.
If you’re just starting out or have few buffer slots, and can only complete one sequence, go for the bottom one since it has the best rewards. Remember, practice makes perfect! Even early on, if you follow this strategy, you can usually get 1-2 sequences even with only 4 buffer slots. Once you acquire more, or level and unlock passives you’ll have an easier time getting all 3 sequences. But more on that in a bit.
On some devices like a vending machine, laptop, or elevator, you may see an option to Jack In, or “use”. You can sometimes even hack into people. (You may remember doing this at the beginning of your playthrough with the “Breaking Through” Mission – where you hacked into Sandra Dorset to read her vitals.)
Keep in mind, YOU can get hacked by enemy Netrunners as well. If you’re being hacked, you’ll see a notice at the bottom of your screen that says “Attention: Overheat”. If this happens, make sure you go into scan mode as quickly as possible and look for yellow lines leading you to which enemy or device is hacking you! In this mode, you’ll be able to quickly interrupt the attack by counterattacking or by annihilating the threat altogether.
TIP: If you’re going for a full Netrunner build, you’ll definitely want to prioritize Jacking In so you can acquire resources to upgrade your mods.
Cyberware + Cyberdecks
To upgrade your Quickhack ability, you will need to upgrade your Cyberdeck which can only be done at a Ripperdock.
Look for this icon on your map:
Other Cyberware can benefit Quickhacks as well. Frontal Cortex mods, for example, can give different benefits like increasing RAM, RAM recovery upon defeating enemies, and RAM regen bonuses. Other Cyberware like Circulatory System mods may also help with Quickhacks. Remember, different types of Cyberware may have different requirements and different costs. Some may cost eurodollars (eddies), while others cost SC (Street Cred).
If being a hacker is your main focus, one huge tip early on is to save your eddies for Cyberware. Specifically, a Cyberdeck. A good Cyberdeck can give you more RAM (or battery juice) more Quickhack slots and other hacking bonuses. In Cyberpunk 2077, you’re constantly picking up new gear and swapping out whichever gives you more armor and better stats. So don’t waste your eddies on gear or a fancy vehicle, and instead, invest in a good Cyberdeck.
When choosing which to purchase, be sure to focus on 3 main factors:
- Ram Size – how many Quickhacks you can do at a time
- Buffer Size – amount of “moves” to complete sequence(s) in Breach Protocol
- Slots – how many Quickhacks you can access and initiate
Remember, Quickhacks cost RAM so make sure to note the RAM in Cyberdecks when making a purchase or upgrade. You can also find the cooldown of Quickhacks in your Cyberdeck.
Skill Perk Trees + Passives
When it comes to Quickhacks, there are a ton of passives you can unlock and use to your benefit. Of course, you won’t be able to unlock them all at once so take a look and prioritize the ones that sound best to you. Remember, when investing your perk points into a skill perk tree, you won’t be able to unlock anything higher than the Attribute level that perk tree skill falls under.
Both Breach Protocol and Quickhacking skill perk trees are located under the Intelligence Attribute. If you’re Intelligence Attribute is level 8, you won’t be able to invest perk points in any passive higher than level 8.
Under the Intelligence Attribute, you’ll want passives in both the Breach Protocol and Quickacking skill perk trees.
Breach Protocol Passives
- Mass Vulnerability – reduces Physical resistance for all enemies
- Mass Vulnerability: Resistances – reduces all Resistances for enemies
- (upgrades Mass Vulnerability)
- Mass Vulerabiliity: Quickhacks – any enemy you’ve breached will take more dmg from all your Quickhacks
- All three great for defense debuff, dmg increase to each Quickhack after a successful Breach Protocol
- Extended Network Interface – automatically highlights nearby Access Points
- Head Start – automatically completes first sequence in Breach Protocol
- Big Sleep – disables all cameras in the network for 3 minutes (6 min if spec into Tier 2)
- Datamine Mastermind – increases amount of components acquired from Access Points by 50%! (by 100% if Tier 2)
- Advanced Datamine -increases amount of eurodollars acquired from Access Points by 50% (by 100% if Tier 2)
- Compression – reduces lengths of the sequences required to upload daemons in Breach Protocol – great one!
- Efficiency – Uploading 3 or more daemons in Breach Protocol increases Cyberdeck RAM recovery rate
- Total Recall – ICEpick daemon reduces all Quickhack costs by an additional 1 RAM
- Totaler Recall – ICEpick daemon reduces all Quickhack costs by an additional 1 RAM
- Cloud Cache – completing a Breach Protocol reduces RAM cost of next Quickhack
- can make a huge difference when doing multiple Quickhacks back-to-back
- I SPY – Reveals an enemy Netrunner when they’re attempting to hack you
- Forget-Me-Not – when you kill an enemy with a Quickhack, you get 1 RAM back
- Great for Contagion again because if you insta-kill multiple enemies, you get 1 ram back for each kill
- Biosynergy – Allows RAM to recover during combat
- great for long fights when stealth isn’t feasible
- Bloodware – increases Quickhack duration
- Signal Support – does more dmg and works well with the Contagion Quickhack because the dmg (or poison) to nearby enemies last longer
- Diffusion – increases spread distance (if using Contagion)
- Plague – Quickhacks that spread can jump to 1 additional targets (1 additional target each Tier)
- (again, great for Contagion!)
- Critical Error – Quickhacks now deal Crit Hits based on Crit Chance and Crit Dmg stats
- great for perks you get from Cyberware or anything with high crit dmg and if specing into the Reflex attribute which increases crit chance every time you level
- Anamnesis – will prevent Ram from dropping below 2 units (more if spec into more Tiers)
- so you should always have at least one Quickhack you can use (even when others are on cooldown)
- Hacker’s Manual – unlocks crafting specs for uncommon Quickhacks
- School of Hard Hacks – unlocks crafting specs for rare Quickhacks
- Hacker Overlord – unlocks crafting specs for epic Quickhacks
- Barmoss’ Legacy – unlocks crafting specs for legendary Quickhacks
- Mnemonic – reduces cost of additional Quickhacks to a target you’ve already hacked so you can FINISH HIM!
- Comes in handy when you’ve successfully Quickhacked an enemy but it wasn’t enough to kill them. (great for Short Circuit and Synaps Burnout )
- Subliminal Message – Quickhacks to unaware targets deal 50% more dmg (100% at Tier 2)
- Be sure to crouch and stay out of sight to take full advantage of this perk whenever possible! (great for stealth!)
TIP: If you ever want to boost your stealth, you can always pick a fight with a group of enemies, kill them, then pick up their bodies one by one and dump them in a car or dumpster with this symbol over it:
I’ve noticed doing this a few times can sometimes boost your stealth, and of course, you’re also cleaning up the city and uh… hiding the evidence. 😉
Under the Cool attribute, you’ll want to spec perk points into both the Stealth and Cold Blood perk trees.
- Crouching Tiger – increases movement speed while crouched or sneaking
- Neurotoxin – doubles poison dmg (great for Contagion Quickhack)
- Cold Blood – killing an enemy increases movement speed which stacks (up to 3 times)
- you can increase this stack further if you also spec into Unbreakable
- Unbreakable – increases stack by 1 for each Cold Blood rank (giving you up to 5 stacks total)
- Cold and Calculating – chance of applying a stack of Cold Blood every time you land a crit hit (great with Contagion and Cyerware that focuses on crit dmg)
- works well with Critical Error also
- Coolagulant – Cold Blood stacks fall off one at a time rather than all at once, essentially prolonging its use (great if you like the idea of stacking Cold Blood)
- Frosty Synapses – reduces Quickhack cooldowns per Cold Blood stack
- Quick Transfer – reduces Quickhack upload time per stack of Coldblood
TIP: If you’re like me and want to start off a battle with hacking, but then want to run in and melee enemies, you may want to focus on Resistance/Armor based perks as well. Especially if (like me) you’re not investing in the Body attribute and want to beef up your character a bit for some head-to-head combat.
Whether you’re Breaching Protocol or unloading Quickhacks on enemies, coming up with a good strategy is never a bad idea! Having a plan of attack can give you more control over a fight, give you more flexibility and will make for an overall stress-free and fun experience, the more you do it.
Get in the habit of using your scanner to quickly scan enemies and nearby devices as often as you can to detect potential threats or targets of interest. You can scan things pretty far away. You can even scan while taking over a camera and initiate Quickhacks while in this mode!
Plan of Attack
It never hurts to plan ahead. Need an example? Here’s my order of operations or “plan of attack” when approaching a fight:
- Breach Protocol (minigame)
- Execute Quickhacks
- turn off/ take over cameras
- ping enemies/devices
- Contagion (groups of enemies)
- Overheat, Synapse Burnout, Short Cir cuit (finish him!)
- Cybersychosis, Suicide (tough enemies)
Once I’ve done some hacking, I like to toss out some grenades, then run in Rambo style, guns blazing, or slice and dice enemies with my blades. Whichever strategy you come up with, make it your own to fit your preferred playstyle, and remember – have fun!
I hope you found this Quickhacks guide helpful! If you’re looking for more info on Attributes, Perk Trees, and Skills, check out this guide. Interested in how Braindance works in Cyberpunk 2077? Click here.
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My favorite games growing up were Sonic, Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and Pathways into Darkness.