The Safeguard are a program independent of the Netsphere. The Netsphere was designed as a means of providing service to those who could log on. However, the Netsphere was thrown into chaos (the actual reason is not exactly known, but the prequel manga NOiSE implies that a small group of humans is at fault) and the Safeguard changed their modus operandi from preventing unauthorized users from entering the Netsphere to killing off anyone who does not possess Net Terminal Genes. The Safeguard have nine levels of hierarchy, Level 9 being the most powerful. However, their Exterminator (originally the lowest level Safeguard) system has a different form of hierarchy where "First Class" is the most powerful.