The DataKrash refers to both the day the first Net was mostly destroyed, and the virus called Roving Autonomous Bartmoss Interface Drones "R.A.B.I.D.S." created by Rache Bartmoss that caused that chaos. It occurred on either June 3, 2020 or in 2022.
Considered the most brilliant hacker in the Net, Rache Bartmoss was a rogue netrunner who went out of his way to harass and undermine the corporations, which he viewed as the ultimate oppressors of humanity. As a result, he lived most of his life on the run with corporate bounties on his head, and resorted to hiding in a disguised cryogenic freezer with life support tech and Net access that he spent his final days in. Bartmoss created the R.A.B.I.D.S./DataKrash virus as a grand act of defiance against corporate control to be triggered in the event of his death. It was designed to breach all corporate datafortresses and unleash their data onto the Net for all to access, but it ended up having a very different effect.
When the virus was released, it infected 78.2% of the Net in a matter of months. Net traffic came to a grinding halt, corporations lost billions as the stock market destabilized, huge amounts of data were corrupted, and countless military-grade artificial intelligences were unshackled and mutated into extremely dangerous entities. NetWatch, unable to reverse the damage or neutralize the AIs, decided to create the Blackwall, a potent AI with the sole task of blocking off sections of the Net that had been overrun by rogue AIs with ICE, so that the rest of the Net could be salvaged. Rumors emerged that NetWatch was only able to construct the Blackwall with the help of the rogue AIs, who desired to separate themselves from human observation for their own opaque reasons.
In the DataKrash's immediate aftermath, the Net was almost unusable. To maintain operations in the short term, many corporations and governments revived the use of 20th century punch card technology for data entry and security purposes. Upon the completion of the Blackwall a few years after the Krash, the Net stabilized into a very different landscape. Instead of a vast, globe-spanning network of interconnected systems subject to oversight and accountability, the Net had become fragmented, with corporations and other groups setting up a multitude of private Nets that they held unfettered control over. NetWatch ruled over the parts of the Net that the public could access, monitoring all users' activity with no privacy and meting out harsh punishments for anyone who attempted to see what was on the other side of the Blackwall.
- The Undoing: Fall of the First Net
- Cyberpunk Red Worldbook p.10: "2022: Rache Bartmoss, Netrunner supreme, is killed in a Corporate raid. Two weeks later, the dead man switch for his DataKrash virus activates."
- CD Projekt RED. Cyberpunk 2077. Video Game, Multi-Platform. Poland, CD Projekt S.A., 2020.
- Cyberpunk 2077 Database entry: Artificial Intelligence
- Cyberpunk Red Worldbook p.20: The NET: "Overall, the War has totally wiped out most NET traffic; what little survived the destruction of server and wiring infrastructure was severely compromised by a deadly cybervirus that ravaged the Grubb–Ihara protocol–based systems at the War's end. This "DataKrash", rumored to be the creation of deranged master Netrunner Rache Bartmoss, has made running the old NET an almost suicidal proposition; the remnants of Netwatch (the global police of the NET), have done their best to ban Netrunners from large sections of the NET to keep the Krash from spreading. This is implemented by literally destroying key NET nodes in the system and taking still others offline. What NET traffic still exists in the Red period is limited to heavily secured VPN or "airgapped" systems which network together a single group, building, or campus."