A Worm is a kind of computer memory file. It stands for Write Once, Read Multiple, and it's a logfile. Everyone who has money has a Worm, and by law, all starships must contain one. The Worm logs everything seen on the ship's sensors, every use of its weaponry, every cycling of its airlocks, and in fact everything the ship's computer knows about.
Tampering with the WormEdit
Worms can be destroyed or disconnected. Unless the Worm is actually destroyed, then the data on it cannot be affected. It can't be overwritten or changed in any way.
It is possible to disconnect a Worm, and to reconnect it later, so that there is no record of what happened in between, but there is very little point in doing this. Disconnecting the Worm will leave a trace on the Worm indicating when, and for how long, it was disconnected. Disconnecting a ship's Worm is a serious offence in Galactic law, and if detected it will lead to the ship's owner being arrested and the ship itself being confiscated by the authorities until it can be established what went on.
Destroying a Worm takes considerable force but is certainly possible. The Worm itself is about the size of a man's thumb and made of industrial diamond. Destroying a worm is also a serious offence.
It is also possible to clone a Worm, and then fill the clone copy with perfectly innocent data. Certain illegal organisations have the necessary equipment and expertise; if such an organisation can be found, it will charge a base price of Cr 150,000,000 (MCr 150). Note that the cloned Worm has to run at the same time as the original, so at some point the Worms will have to be switched in order to anonymise the starship.
Player characters with both Computer-3 and Forgery-3 will be able to clone a Worm for themselves, using equipment costing at least Cr 100,000,000 (MCr 100). Naturally, such an act will bring very severe penalties if detected.
An individual's personal Worm contains their transaction record (and therefore all their personal money), but no other data. The reasons for a transaction are not recorded -- only the identity of the parties and the amount of money. Cloning an individual's Worm is detectable because a transaction will always appear on two Worms -- the payer and the payee -- and will be cross-checked against one another.
The practical upshot is that it is impossible to forge credits. Only other documents.
Limits on the WormEdit
There are two main limits on data on a worm.
1) Medical anonymity: The ship's medical bay and regen tank may lawfully be disconnected from the Worm in order to preserve patient confidentiality. This is routinely done.
2) Right of access: The authorities have no automatic right to requisition a starship's Worm unless a crewmember is arrested or the ship is salvaged.
Worms giving instructionsEdit
Code can also be held in the root sector of a Worm. This code is often used for a starship mortgage, such that if the starship mortgage payment is more than a month in arrears, then the Worm will disable the ship's drives.