CPCU is an abbreviation for two things in the world of the City of Heroes MMO:
- Combo Power and Control Unit, which is a simple source for power and control for small supergroup bases.
- Central Processor & Command Utility, which is a network operating system created by computer expert Sally Bright and field-tested by the Guardians of the Dawn. This is a software program designed specifically for the Combo Power and Control Unit that would give it much of the functionality of the larger systems without the extensive hardware and power requirements.
The CPCU software program is based on the CySoft server programming code and connects to secure networks run by Vanguard, Freedom Corps, the Federal Bureau for Super-powered Affairs, and the Paragon City Police Department. Instead of creating its own network system which is essentially redundant, the CPCU program creates a search engine that uses the information collected from the other secure networks and then pieces together the elements that are not considered duplicate. Separate unique information pertaining to the supergroup itself (i.e. personal records, case information) can then be added using additional data servers.
The CPCU software program employs several security measures based on data acquired through already established parameters in the networked databases. For instance, genetic and bodyframe parameters are acquired through the HeroID system maintained by the FBSA and Freedom Corps.
The unique security measure for the CPCU system involves vocal qualifiers. Based on security research from Vanguard, it was discovered that there are at fifteen unique points that identify each person, much like fingerprints. Sally Bright established a ten-point qualification system for each voice print on file. These voice prints cannot be impersonated, recorded, or computer-generated. They also take into account injury, illness, and age.
Failing the ten-point vocal qualification, the security system then turns to the physical and genetic parameters in the HeroID system. Failing those qualifications, the teleport and communications systems are locked down and an alert is sent out to all group members.
The CPCU software can work with most electronic mail servers to relay information through the FBSA and Vanguard network systems. In addition to the secure systems, additional servers can be used to create secure Internet connections for VOIP phone and video communications as long as those systems remain separate from the mail servers.
Although not highly advertised, the CPCU system also has the capacity to store and process a built-in series of instructions in the event of an emergency. These contingency instructions, otherwise known as "Protocols", are usually designed in the event of a catastrophic crisis, although the conditions can vary depending on its use.
A later feature to the operating system was an interactive artificial intelligence program for the more advanced setups. This feature allowed users to have a more personable connection to the system, especially when heroes would be on "monitor duty". The interaction was based on the personality software provided by the android hero Citadel, but there have been some modifications incorporated. (Since Citadel was originally created by Crey Industries, this initially caused some legal squabbling over intellectual property.)
After the successful testing by the Guardians, the CPCU system was made availible to all supergroups for purchase through CyCorp.