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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

ICE (intrusion countermeasures electronics)  
  Electronic protection for computer databases.  

In cyberspace, the consensual hallucination shared by millions, military and corporate data are protected from intrusion by hackers with elaborate countermeasures.

...ICE patterns formed and reformed on the screen as he probed for gaps, skirted the most obvious traps, and mapped the route he'd take through Sense/Net's ICE. It was good ICE. Wonderful ICE...

...His program had reached the fifth gate. He watched as his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, only faintly aware of his hands playing across the deck, making minor adjustments. Translucent planes of color shuffled like a trick deck. Take a card, he thought, any card.

The gate blurred past. He laughed. The Sense/Net ice had accepted his entry as a routine transfer from the consortium's Los Angeles complex. He was inside. Behind him, viral subprograms peeled off, meshing with the gate's code fabric, ready to deflect the real Los Angeles data when it arrived.

From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
Published by Phantasia Press in 1984
Additional resources -

In the book, software used to break into computer systems is given a military history:

`You're a console cowboy. The prototypes of the programs you use to crack industrial banks were developed for Screaming Fist. For the assault on the Kirensk computer nexus. Basic module was a Nightwing microlight, a pilot, a matrix deck, a jockey. We were running a virus called Mole. The Mole series was the first generation of real intrusion programs.'
`Icebreakers,' Case said, over the rim of the red mug.
`Ice from ICE, intrusion countermeasures electronics.'

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Neuromancer
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Neuromancer
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

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