In V20, SchreckNet has been opened to members of other Clans, although the Nosferatu are still its masters.
Still, no Nosferatu is opening email by email, making SchreckNet a completely secure network for its members.
Originally created by the New York-based Nosferatu Gerard Rafin (Uncle Smelly) as a sort of special network "piggybacked" on the regular Internet, SchreckNet was originally used exclusively for communications among the Nosferatu, primarily as a means for the Nosferatu to keep their intelligence gathering operations up-to-date. The Nosferatu use SchreckNet to share secrets and information, as well as discuss plans and goals - and other Nosferatu information networks (such as Trajan's Net, which later was known as Warwick's Web), are now connected to it. Membership was not limited to Camarilla-aligned Nosferatu, but was open to the Nosferatu antitribu as well. During the Camarilla's siege of Sabbat-occupied New York, the Nosferatu grudgingly gave other Camarilla clans limited access to SchreckNET, though the lion's share of its usage by far remains with the Nosferatu.
SchreckNet was breached by a hacker known as "Hurricane" in the 1990s. Instead of retaliating, the Nosferatu instead allowed "Hurricane" to enter their community. During the decade, more tech-savvy Kindred joined in secret, creating a sub-culture of vampires with more allegiance to each other than to sect or clan. This likely had influence on the formation of the Red Question and the creation of new Kindred-only networks like Solomon's Haven.
With advances in computer technology, SchreckNet was updated in the 2000s to SchreckNet 2.0. Instead of the cobbled, early SchreckNet, the new version was an actual computer application suite created by Nosferatu programmers specifically to facilitate Kindred use of the Internet. It included both a basic web design kit and a web browser. The innovation was that web pages created through the design kit allowed for hidden sections and links on each page that would be invisible to mortal perception but that could be seen easily with Auspex and that were automatically visible to anyone using the secure SchreckNet browser. This allowed young Kindred to explore the web with some confidence that they would not accidentally breach the Masquerade. The programmers received significant boons from the Inner Circle, though some of the more conservative members still grumbled at the risks posed by the Internet. Since then, new contributions by members of the Red Question, the Digital Draculas, Hacktivist Thaumaturges, and others have expanded SchreckNet, allowing for integration with social networks and the creation of websites only accessible by vampires.
The Nosferatu still maintain the growth of the new database, sharing passwords for restricted areas only among their own (or those with sufficient Clan Prestige). In a short time, the network has become more than just a database: it has become a social network as well. Some of the younger Nosferatu have even started calling it Filthbook and Garbage+.
Compromise and Dismantlement
In 2004, the NSA penetrated SchreckNET, as part of the rise of the Second Inquisition, leading to over ten years of information compromised. The Camarilla ordered it dismantled and as much Kindred communication wiped from the web as possible. Further, the sect has declared that any Kindred communicating online will be declared disloyal, removed from the Camarilla, and possibly even subject to a blood hunt if the communication is risky enough.