The Passwords used in Covert Action are always valid words in the English language, and are always between 5 and 9 letters long.
Whenever you Break Into a Hideout, the game will automatically select a new Password to protect all the Terminals in that Hideout. To do this, the game randomly chooses a word from the available vocabulary.
The "Current" Password protects all Terminals in the same Hideout. Therefore, it doesn't matter which one you hack into - they same password will unlock any of them.
Once a Hacking has been performed, either successfully or unsuccessfully, the Password is immediately changed. Also, a new Password is chosen on every Break-In.
- Main article: Hacking
In order to perform a Hacking, Max must acquire at least part of the current Password. He must then feed that Password into any of the Terminals in the Hideout he's in. Feeding the right password into a Terminal will enable Max to perform a Query for data.
To acquire the Password, Max must "tap" various Terminals around the Hideout for letters. Each Terminal can provide exactly 1 letter per Break-In - it will not provide a second letter unless you leave the building and Break-In again.
To tap a Terminal, walk up to it and press the "ENTER" key. A random letter from the current Password will be added to the "Current Password Display" on the right side of the screen, below Max's silhouette.
Letters that have not (yet) been collected are shown as dots. This allows you to see the length of the password even if you don't yet have all the letters.
Note that in some Hideouts, there are not enough Terminals to give you an entire Password - especially if the randomly-selected password is a very long one.
Password UseEditOnce you have a good idea of what the Password is, you can attempt to hack a Terminal. To do this, walk up to any Terminal (doesn't matter which) and press the "F4" key.
You'll be prompted to enter your password. Type it in and press "ENTER".
If the correct password was fed, the prompt will now ask you for a data Query. This is considered a "successful" hacking, though it's up to you to query the right information - remember that not all Terminals hold all information there is.
If the wrong password was fed, the hacking is a failure. The Alarm will go off immediately, and a new password will be selected. You will not be able to make a query. If you still wish to hack, you'll have to gather more letters - for the new password - in order to try it again.
Guessing the PasswordEdit
Unless you are a novice player, or not terribly good with the English language, you will most likely want to guess the password without acquiring all the letters.
This is mainly because password letters are a finite commodity: Each Terminal only provides one letter per Break-In, and you usually want to perform as many Hackings as possible with those letters. Also, collecting all the letters to the password may take a lot of time (exploring the entire Hideout) and may even be impossible if there are not engouh Terminals here.
To improve your hacking skills, learn the game's vocabulary as you play, and remember which words appear more often. This may help you determine what the current password is without lots of letters. Note that some passwords are virtually identical to others except for one letter, so this doesn't always work.
Also, you can use the List of Passwords page as a tool to help you determine which password is being used.
- See also: List of Passwords
As mentioned above, passwords are always between 5 to 9 letters long, and are always valid words in the English language.
In fact, the game does not have a separate "password vocabulary" to choose from. Instead, it randomly selects a word from its internal data files that is between 5 and 9 letters long, and uses that as the password.
The words picked for passwords come from the various Message Traffic, Meeting and Bulletin texts. Words appearing more often on such transmissions are therefore more likely to be chosen as passwords. This is why you'll often encounter the words "Agent", "Operation", "Acquire", and so forth - which are very common in those texts.
The password will never be a proper name, such as "Ismail", "Kerensky", "Tupamaros", "London", etcetera.