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289 comments

there is no technological fix (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#19706951)

for a social problem

anything designed by a man can also be broken by a man

the only remedy for human antisocial activity is human social activity. no technology will change that fact. and if you think it can augment those who intend good, then you're right but you must also bear in mind that it can also augment those who intend evil

this applies to security cameras, file trading on the internet, etc. as well as game cheating

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

smtrembl (1073492) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707097)

Given a game server, if he knows about the core limitations of a game, he can check the data for derogations, no? Then a user can only pirate it's rendering experience, but that's mearly all there is to it!

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

smtrembl (1073492) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707237)

What I mean is that the game logics ARE the game. Your rendering experience may vary... It's just an interpretation of the logics. If we start thinking game logics, you can no longer cheat at user level! What you call "cheaters" here is simply people interpreting the game data, not modifying its logic. It should be the designer's goal to make the game as centralized as possible and leave only the state data be interpreted.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707395)

Creative interpretation of game data can be cheating. I remember a while ago (and I'm by no means an expert game hacker) I learned from a site how to change properties of objects in Halo. I used that to make the walls transparent so I could see people coming around a corner and behind walls. It made flag camping pretty easy, and I held off a veteran CTF team for about 10 minutes.

Now, you're right that the server could control more, so it decides what you can and can't see, for example. But this is hardly a straightforward design question. The more data you have to read from the server, the more likely you are to experience lag.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

smtrembl (1073492) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707493)

You're missing the point. The servers knows there is poeple out here but YOU don't always need to know where they are, except if they can be seen from your POV. This is just on example! In an online chess game, where the rules are fixed, I would challenge you to trick the server other than by hacking it. There is two things: Game data and interpretation of this data.

Re:there is no technological fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707099)

Anything designed by a man can also be broken by a man? I guess that means all strong crypto schemes were invented by females?

Your statement is a gross oversimplification. There are games in which it's technically infeasible to cheat: how would you cheat in a game of NetHack, played through telnet on a remote server such as nethack.alt.org, without access to that server?

How would you cheat if we were to play a game of Go over the 'net? You could, of course, simply have someone else—a better player—play the game for you, but that's not really "cheating" if I'm playing a fair game against your chosen champion.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707253)

It's also not really true. VAC and PunkBuster were indeed beaten, largely because the companies behind them weren't willing to put the required effort in (VAC went for long periods with no updates at all). Companies that put more effort in and know what they're doing, like Blizzard, have successfully fended off things like WoW!Sharp with anti-cheating software.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707711)

how would you cheat in a game of NetHack, played through telnet on a remote server such as nethack.alt.org, without access to that server?

A nethack playing bot?

Or maybe a simple 'telnet/ssh' session that could do useful things like predict the direction of where a wand ray is going to ricochet.

Re:there is no technological fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707853)

I don't believe any current borg is capable of winning NetHack.

You're right that you can expend a probably awesome effort to synchronize a cheat program with the RNG(your game is being played on a remote server, so you can't just search through memory—the client is completely untrusted), but only if the server is using a PRNG and not a "true" (physical-source) RNG(or, in practice, a high-quality PRNG).

Re:there is no technological fix (2, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708365)

Anything designed by a man can also be broken by a man? I guess that means all strong crypto schemes were invented by females?
I was thinking along those lines too; not a good argument. He'd have been better off pointing out that the main problem with inventing "secure" peripherals is the same one that bedevils all "secure" devices- the owner still has to have the encryption/decryption key or technology in their possession.

At its crudest, what's stopping someone from wiring up the keyboard to.... anything they like?

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

robbiethefett (1047640) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707191)

Agreed. It sounds like a noble act of leveling the playing field, but if the kiddies can't aimbot or wallhack, they will just fall back on old favorites; ghosting. There is no combination of hardware/software that can keep someone from picking up a cell phone.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707797)

I think you will find that North Korea for instance has succeeded in combining hardware/software in precisely such a way.
Don't underestimate human ingenuity in either direction...

Re:there is no technological fix (0, Troll)

robbiethefett (1047640) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708297)

I think you will find that North Korea for instance has succeeded in combining Kalashnikov rifles/Party-controlled death squads in precisely such a way. There you go. I fixed that typo for you.

This is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707193)

Cheating is out of control because of failed attempts by software such as


Wow, I had no idea Punkbuster and other anti-cheating applications caused cheating. It's too bad the top poster didn't post his information regarding this claim... it would have made a far more interesting discussion than some lame Intel hardware.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707267)

wouldn't the next step to be switching games back to a boot system. Think how great it would be to not have worry about all the OS cycles being used. Booting into a game would allow the game ULTIMATE control over what software is run. If anything it could be used for tournaments.

Re:there is no technological fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707883)

Back in the C64/Amiga days, most games were of the "throw away the OS and take over the system" variety and it didn't matter. They were still cracked, and trainers added.

Only if the tournament were local and you could verify that the players were booting from media that you supplied them could this be effective.

It's not going to happen. (2, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708457)

wouldn't the next step to be switching games back to a boot system. Think how great it would be to not have worry about all the OS cycles being used. Booting into a game would allow the game ULTIMATE control over what software is run. If anything it could be used for tournaments.
That wouldn't work with anything other than a very fixed set of hardware. Even Amiga games frequently stopped working when newer machines came out with minor hardware updates (e.g. A500 to A500 Plus, not a major difference, but it still caused problems). They bypassed the OS back then simply because the speed advantage it gave easily outweighed the extra hassle and compatibility issues.

But technology has moved on. For one, hardware is far more complex these days. The idea of having to hit modern hardware from scratch sounds nightmarishly complicated.

For another, the PC philosophy is that you can use many different types of sound/video/etc hardware because they're supplied with drivers. If there was no OS, the game writers would have to write their own drivers for *every damn card that they expected it to run on*. And that's assuming that the makers were willing to release the specs to their cards anyway, which very often isn't the case.

In short, you'd have to duplicate the functionality of large parts of Windows XP, the sound and video drivers, DirectX, networking, blah blah blah.... all from scratch. You can see why this isn't going to happen just to stop a few kiddies cheating, especially since it would likely get cracked quite soon anyway.

The problem with anti-cheat software.. (5, Insightful)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707383)

..is that the server, at some point, has to trust the data the client is sending. Now there's client-side anti-cheat software that will do things like try and make sure that external applications (not entirely unlike the old TSR cheats of lore) aren't altering the data in RAM before it sends the info back to the server. But that client-side anti-cheat software can-and-will be defeated. Eventually there might be an anti-cheat relying on TCPM sort of things, but eventually somebody will just make a TCPM-less version indistinguishable from the TCPM type by the server.

So the only proper anti-cheat lays with the server. But there you hit a problem. You can, for example, prevent some cheats that way. Somebody lobs 2 nades while the server knows he only has 1? Cheating. Somebody moves all over the screen, faster than the player can actually run? Cheating. Wait - or a laggy connection.. or a bug. Tread with caution there. Caution means a margin. A margin means a margin for cheating. Okay, so you don't have your cheat make your player run at 200% - you just make him run at 105%. Still an advantage, and the anti-cheat won't catch it because of the margin. And even when you can detect all the -technical- cheats (more ammo, faster reloads, increased speed, greater jetpack fuel (if there's any), that leaves you with the cheats that cheat the User Input. Aimbots and the like - which can be extremely difficult to detect.

In the end, you can't 100% prevent cheating. But you can make the landscape unattractive enough to cheat in by at least trying to prevent it and having an actual human being look at suspicious behavior from time to time.

( I admin at one of the more popular Soldat servers - we're virtually cheater-free because the cheaters know they'll be busted in no time and their cheating fun ruined by us /kill'ing them (rather than banning - as they'll just be back) and ousting them in public. )

Re:The problem with anti-cheat software.. (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707651)

You make an important point: "ousting them *in public*."

Fear of embarrassment after being caught is a powerful anti-cheat motivator in school, and I'm sure it works just as well in a game environment.

Re:The problem with anti-cheat software.. (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708055)

Actually, no. Fear of being caught and getting a low grade made me think twice before cheating in school. I couldn't care less if people knew I sucked at cheating. I admitted to that myself. :-)

Re:The problem with anti-cheat software.. (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708335)

Don't know where you are from, but here it would be illegal to ousting people in public for cheating in school, what will happen here is all your exams get voided for the year. Second time it happens you get thrown out.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

robpoe (578975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707443)

So, you're going to make the cheat developers jump ahead. Instead of injecting their software into the wall code, they're going to have to inject their software into the anticheat code, to pass keystrokes into it as it shoots the guy down the alley..

Why waste money with this? Blizzard's Warden is pretty robust from an anticheat stand. Ok, sure, it's spyware too. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4385050.stm [bbc.co.uk] - See this or google Blizzard Warden spyware .. of course don't mind the lag that Warden causes.

You can clap all the DRM and encryption on this issue you want,but it won't do any good. At the end of the day, the PC still has to keep stuff in ram, unencrypted, for the CPU to be able to run it. Until Intel makes some kind of RSA type on the fly on-cpu encryption (which I'm going to patent, btw) so you just encrypt your program with their public key ... Then cheating, extracting HD-DVD keys, etc will still succeed.

Anti-cheat systems are flawed. (2, Insightful)

Angelwrath (125723) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707557)

All software anti-cheat systems are flawed because they include things other than cheating. I get kicked by Punkbuster for high ping on gaming servers.

The trouble with anti-cheat systems is that the developers have no ethical standard. They tolerate inconveniencing legitimate players to ensure that the cheaters are stopped as well. The law would see things differently. The law believes in letting some criminals go to ensure that it never punishes an innocent man. Flawed though it may be, it works far more often than it fails. Punkbuster is the complete opposite, and what's worse is that Punkbuster is full of bugs. I get kicked from servers several times a day and the only message I get is:

"Punkbuster

[Ok]"

All complaints to the company fall on deaf ears. And because EA chooses PB, I am stuck with a company granted an artifician monopoly by another company, and have no choice but to have a greatly diminished experience. Nothing is worse than screwing a gamer over in the heat of a competitive match, and that's what PB does too often.

Re:there is no technological fix (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707747)

To go back to classic crime term "Motive, means and opportunity". You can either try to take away their motivation, take away the means or take away the opportunity. Time and time again we've shown that to change human nature is very very difficult. To take away the means is usually to take away the tools, which are usually overbroad and takes away legitimate uses. Taking away the opportunity is usually the most appropriate and effective.

I have a lock on my door. It's to take away the opportunity. It's a lot better than trying to outlaw lockpicks and crowbars and everything else that might be used for breaking and entering, and it's a lot easier than to remove, tag or secure all my belongings so there's no point or to make sure burglars are tracked, arrested and punished with such efficiency that it doesn't pay off, even if the door was open.

Any sort of security, locks, alarms, encryption can probably be broken if not directly, then indirectly. Would it be a challenge for a pro team to break in here, install a keylogger and capture my encryption password? Hell no. But it's a pretty good defense against anyone casual, it's mostly about keeping honest people honest. Which is really a nice way of saying most people are crooks, they just haven't gotten the right opportunity yet.

There /is/ a Social Fix (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707773)

I play Sauerbraten (and occasionally ActionCube, now AssaultCube) online. Both feature mastermode. Since there are far more honest players than cheats, you simply join a server and assume mastermode if no-one has already taken it.

It works really well, except that people aren't sufficiently willing to assume mastermode. All the same, serious gamers do do so, so 'serious' games aren't disrupted for very long.

Re:there is no technological fix (4, Insightful)

AnonymousDivinity (778696) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707787)

there is no technological fix for a social problem. anything designed by a man can also be broken by a man.
I don't know about you, but I for one like having locks on my doors. Are they 100% perfect at keeping determined individuals out? Of course not. But that's not their purpose. These kinds of measures merely need to make an activity "not worth it" to those who have some motivation (the aforementioned societal problem). Economic deterrants do work well, at least on a statistical basis.

As for cheating devices, if one were to construct an anti-cheating system that would require a hundred million dollars worth of high tech, rare equipment to break - do you think some gamer is just going to have that kind of money lying around? I'm not saying Intel's solution is of this nature, but this absurd notion on slashdot that technology cannot help/solve societal problems is total bullshit. A lot of social problems are highly context/environment dependent (mostly as a result of human psychological quirks, and evolutionary behavior), and technology can do a lot to alter the environments where people interact to the point where many harmful behaviors are discouraged or stopped altogether.

In the context of gaming... (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708219)

I don't agree with your "social problem" fix thing. Cheating is both a social problem and a tech problem.

Given enough bandwidth and computing power on the server end cheating can be stopped or nearly so. This is a rather hypothetical statement, however, because I don't see either of those requirements coming in my lifetime.

Cheating is enabled mostly because the server must provide too much information to the client so that the client can do it's own calculations thus reducing the workload for the server. For example, in Counter Strike each client has most of the graphical data. Maps, models, etc. The server then only has to send positional data about the other players to each client. The client can then do the calculations needed to render the world as seen by the player. What this means is that if an opponent is standing behind a wall the client PC "knows" about it even if the player should not. If the player hacks the software he can display the hidden player. Further since the client knows the exact position of opponents the player can hack the software to allow auto aim etc.

If we had enough bandwidth and computing power the server could do ALL of the work and provide the client with prerendered scenes. The client PC would not be given enough information to do an effective cheat. The client PC would be more like a dumb terminal.

Of course this would require bandwidth and computing power on the order of what is depicted in the StarTrek series.

Who knows... Maybe someday...

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708311)


It's true -- not because of technological limitations, but because of the nature of the problem.

The problem is:

"People keep subverting or working around the technical infrastruture of this environment."

The solution can never be:

"Change the technical infractructure of this environment." ...because they'll keep right on subverting it.

I'll tell you whut, though -- before they nered the whole system into another 'run round and shoot everything and get bored' game, there was a working solution for Day of Defeat.

That solution was:

"Involve only people who will *not* subvert the technical infrastructure of this environment, because they are interested in playing the game, not in being u|3er l33t."

Re:there is no technological fix (3, Insightful)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708323)

The social problem has an obvious solution: accountability.

If banning of an anonymous ID is the worst any cheater might endure, and they know it, they're going to operate as you would expect someone with impunity to operate.

The obvious solution has obvious problems. The social solution leaves a worse taste in our mouth than cheating. That's why we're chasing it technically.

Re:there is no technological fix (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708475)

there is no technological fix

... like a safe

for a social problem

like theft

anything designed by a man can also be broken by a manm

eventually

the only remedy for human antisocial activity is human social activity. no technology will change that fact. and if you think it can augment those who intend good, then you're right but you must also bear in mind that it can also augment those who intend evil

So why do you lock your car? Front door? Why do you have a PIN for your bankcard? Why do you have a password?

You're looking at security as a black/white scenario where any potential breach is considered equivalent to any other. But, like all of life, it's shades of grey, with a relative risk evaluated against the costs of implementation and use. Utimately, security comes down to a cost/benefits analysis, and the appropriate degree and implementations of security is what's important.

Security == restriction. No restrictions cause rampant abuse. Too many restrictions prevent important things from happening. The trick is to find a reasonable balance point in the middle.

Is it worth the price of distributing SSL certificates to improve security for EMail of roving employees? (I think so) Is it worth the price of requiring roving employees to set up a VPN to access company resources? (I think not)

gharr (-1, Offtopic)

camken (568412) | more than 6 years ago | (#19706963)

i had a witty and thoughtful first post prepared.. but then i realized that it wasn't, so i'm posting this tripe instead..

Re:gharr (1, Interesting)

camken (568412) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707351)

since none of you with mod points seem to get the joke, i'll explain it.. and i'll use small words..

i had a witty and thoughtful first post prepared.. but then i (my input verifier) realized that it (the witty and thoughtful post) wasn't (coming from the "proper" source), so i'm (stuck) posting this tripe instead (of what i'd intended)


now, for the explanation..
just what do you think will happen when things can be censored or monitored at the source of the input?
i'm using a rather innocuous example of a first post gone awry, but what happens when **insert nasty shadowy agency here** decides that they want to be able to scan encrypted data?
why.. get the data before it's encrypted, of course.. how do you do that? why, a key logger that 'allows' you to play a certain game, of course!
now, i'm not suggesting that the average gamer routinely inputs data that the government wants, or even that intel has any special interest in doing this.. but on the other hand, what happens when your biggest rival in the game has figured out how to tell your computer that it no longer recieves "intel approved input" and so your character simply stops responding to commands..

the point of all this is that if you're going to try to do things that make it harder to cheat, you'd better make damn sure it can't be misused.. i'm sure we've seen enough of the arguments on here over the last 5 years about how seemingly benign laws and technology get misused by with those with an agenda..
and i for one don't want to see it come to my games too, because my fear is that someone will think of something more nefarious than i can, and voila, he's already got the tools in place on literally THOUSANDS of computers worldwide. oh but wait. nobody ever attacks windows gamer boxes, right?

ok. thanks for letting me vent about that, i'm sorry the joke wasn't clear enough the first time, and that i had to have the discussion with myself instead of you folks.

have a nice day.

Add the cheats as features to the game (4, Interesting)

Slim Backwater (550617) | more than 6 years ago | (#19706977)

How about just adding cheats as elements to the game? Players like radar? Add it. The ability to see through walls? Auto aim, auto trigger? Make them power ups. Don't fight it, integrate it.

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (5, Insightful)

boaworm (180781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707007)

Because many of these games aim to be realistic, that's why people play them. Adding an "aimbot" as a powerup is not something that would have happened the 101:rd airborne when they dropped down over normandy, so when you play that scenario, neither do you want it or should have it.

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707013)

Yeah, make an FPS game where everyone automatically has immortality, omnipotence, omnipresence & every conceivable weapon.
Sounds a lot of fun.

It does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707065)

I suggest we call it "Battle Of The Gods"

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707157)

Oh yeah, Diablo II online was SOOO FUN. You have to install an anti-cheat hack to undo the cheat hack that someone installed to undo your last anti-cheat hack. Everyone spent more time hacking the damned game than playing, and nothing in the game was worth anything. Do not want.

Wrong term. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707245)

How about just adding cheats as elements to the game? Players like radar? Add it.

The players don't like radar. The cheaters do.

Following your logic, the game would offer the ability to instantly kill any enemy, at any range, automatically. Regardless of intervening obstacles.

Yeah, that sounds like a fun game.

Cheaters want those because cheaters don't want to play by the same limits that everyone else does.

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (2, Funny)

Cylix (55374) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707273)

Because someone would come out with an anti-aim, anti-whatever and turn all of those new features off.

You just can't win with these damned kids.

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (1)

Aleksej (1110877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707537)

Those who claim that the above is an inherently bad idea that wouldn't work in any game at all, should check BZFlag [bzflag.org] .

That won't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707905)

So should we integrate letting players move faster than allowed by the game, or pingbombing your opponent if he shoots at you (or if you shoot at him)? How about forcing other players to drop from the server, should we allow that too?

Your post demonstrates an ignorance of what cheaters are doing. It's not just looking through walls.

Re:Add the cheats as features to the game (1)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708259)

I think it would be more interesting to create a game that was specifically designed to be hackable ten ways from Sunday. The objective of the game would be to develop the best program to play the game.

*sigh* (3, Interesting)

Verte (1053342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19706981)

The Quake fiasco [catb.org] has already taught us plenty about this: don't trust the user.

sorry, to clarify (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707115)

All you can ever hope for is checking that the packets sent by the machine are those sent by the machine. You might be able to control how the software behaves on the machine, but you will never stop a user without your hardware protection from sending the exact same packets.

Wall hacking (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19706985)

It appears to be yet more DRM designed to ensure that peripheral inputs match those received by the game.
This does not address the issue of cheats that allow the player to have information that he would otherwise not have, such as seeing through walls. Nor can it detect proxies.

Like all DRM, it sounds like it will cause legitimate users more problems than it will cause to cheats and crackers.

Not in the game anymore (2, Interesting)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707017)

Nobody seems to care how good a game is, "the game" is all about finding ways to cheat no matter which game you're playing.

Re:Not in the game anymore (2, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707599)

Not really. The real problem is that there's always a small minority that wants to cheat. They drive off the large majority that just want to play a good game.

Re:Not in the game anymore (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708011)

If only it were a small minority.
If you get anyone away from other people, they'll cheat if they know they can get away with it.

Nobody cares about the game, they just want to win & they'll do anything to do it as long as they know they aren't going to get caught.

That's just what I see happening.

It seems rather futile though.. (4, Insightful)

boaworm (180781) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707067)

The whole concept of anti-cheating is based on making a chip comparing input on mouse/keyboard to input into the program.

So how about:

1: Software that wraps this chip, and returns "true" all the time ?
2: Cheats that does not emulate keyboard or mouse input ? (like radars, spike skins, you name it)
3: Software that generate keyboard/mouse interrupts ?
4: The fact that someone would not buy a CPU/MB with anticheat stuff in it if you intend to cheat. You'd just have a dummy driver emulating this hardware or something.

This only seems to be able to solve a very small portion of cheats.

Nothing beer and engineering can't conquer. (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707071)

So it compare's key/mouse input from the user.. so you get some engineering students and build a par-port output that loops back in as mouse and keyboard-shunt input. A good afternoon or 3 and some beer, and a few engineering students could overcome that problem, and be selling the solution to cheat-software-makers before the intel crap hits stores.

Wow! (4, Insightful)

smiltee (1099075) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707075)

Exactly like DRM, I am sure this restrictive method will work flawlessly! I think Intel is making the right choice by using something you can't update against an entire army of hackers!

so it's.. (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707081)

a key logger?

The concept is simple, the chipset records all input from the keyboard and mouse, and the game does the same.

Solution: The Istrate (3, Funny)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707143)

This handy device fits in a computer's 5.25" inch bay and if it detects cheating a razor sharp knife comes out and relieves the offending player of the little (as is always the case with cheaters) piece of manhood that the loser has left. (Towels to clean up blood not included).

Great.. (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707161)

I'm looking forward to the time when I can't play a game online because some POS hardware/software thinks that my MP3 or video encoder is a cheat mechanism.

Lame, very lame. And you KNOW this will eventually happen. Some harmless software program running at the same time as a game will screw your online play without lube.

Why can't the game devs shift focus away from DRM & etc. and try building a solid product that doesn't NEED a third party anti-cheat software running? It's called internal testing, FFS. You made the software yet you can't find the holes, meanwhile some smartass 15 year old Russian just reads your code and goes "Oh! Look at what we have here!"

Re:Great.. (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707675)

Why can't the game devs shift focus away from DRM & etc. and try building a solid product that doesn't NEED a third party anti-cheat software running? It's called internal testing, FFS. You made the software yet you can't find the holes, meanwhile some smartass 15 year old Russian just reads your code and goes "Oh! Look at what we have here!"


Because there are some types of cheating that it is just not possible to identify or prevent through a well-designed client. If the game is one that computers can play better than humans (or can play some aspect of better than humans), then software can be written that simulates human user input but is actually computationally controlled. There isn't really a way to prevent this completely, because at some point your sufficiently advanced aimbot is indistinguishable from an excellent human player.

Think of it this way: you can't alter the rules of chess played through the mail in such a way as to stop me using a computer to "cheat". The problem isn't the rules of correspondence chess, the problem is that computers are better than many humans at chess.

Re:Great.. (2, Informative)

JNighthawk (769575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708211)

Maybe you've never worked on games before, but you seem very naive about it.

Sure, you can build an ultra-secure game that will be near-bulletproof, but you know what? That game wouldn't be fun. You'd have to wait for server auth before you could do anything, so this would only work for non-real time games.

And, finally, on top of what I said, the direct issue brought up (keyboard/mouse movement spoofing) cannot be fixed by games. Period.

Re:Great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19708397)

and try building a solid product that doesn't NEED a third party anti-cheat software running

-5 clueless.

Well, I'm not impressed. (4, Interesting)

dannycim (442761) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707163)

A friend of mine plays the Final Fantasy XI MMORPG on PlayStation 2. I rigged a little box with a bunch of timers, relays, the heart of a USB keyboard which can repeat timed sequences of game macros without supervision. It works wonders for some "skill-upping".

Intel's little trick wouldn't detect that as it involves no software at all, no injection of keyboard events. As far as the console is concerned, it's a keyboard, period.

I could go a whole lot more sophiticated and build a USB box that would emulate both keyboard and mouse events. Marry that with software that can "look" at the screen data and recognize patterns, and you'd have yourself an automated player.

Go ahead Intel, invent better traps. We'll invent better mice.

Re:Well, I'm not impressed. (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707803)

You sound quite talented and definitely in a minority. In WoW anyway, most botters are just people who downloaded an app like Glider. If they had to go through the hassle of building hardware or ordering pre-made hardware, a lot will just give up.

Re:Well, I'm not impressed. (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708447)

I'm not entirely sure I believe this.

In WoW, most botters are, indeed, people who just downloaded an app. This is because the app works. If the app didn't work, they might go and do something more complicated, such as forking over $20 or $30 for a cheap hardware gizmo that does something like what the original poster is talking about.

"People are lazy, and therefore won't go any further effort" is a fallacy when people don't need to go to any further effort. Once that becomes necessary (I mean, if that ever becomes necessary, which I personally doubt) I would suspect that a lot of businesses would spring up.

Re:Well, I'm not impressed. (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708103)

There's keyboards which have this sort of thing already built-in. If people -really- want to 'cheat' that way (is it cheating - or is it just using better hardware? Is a widescreen monitor cheating when compared to a 4:3 monitor because you gain a couple of degrees of vision horizontally? Is using a headset cheating when compared to the person who doesn't have one? etc.) they always can.

That said... the keyboards/etc. have a bit of a signature... the timing on the moves being the same within a few milliseconds, etc. It can be detected. Go ahead, build another better mouse that adds random delays. But you're going to be one of very few to make that sort of effort. As long as the vast majority of cheaters stand no chance in the game, the rest will still have a good playing experience.

Re:Well, I'm not impressed. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708377)

What's sad about this is that I recently played a Beta of an MMO called Sword of the New World. The leveling process was so long I actually created macros for my G15 to handle the characters while I went to bed. If the leveling curve on it wasn't so steep, I never would have thought about doing it. Personally, I think if the game would reward people in faster increments they wouldn't resort to "cheating" or macros except to simplify patterned commands. BTW, I actually bought the G15 as a programming tool, not as a gaming keyboard.

define mouse (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707169)

What about tablets, tackballs, and people who have multiple USB pointing devices hooked up- monitor them all?

You got to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707175)

Who would exert any effort on this problem? Aren't there enough real problems like cancer, famine, and missing bees that we can get Intel working on? Is cheating in a game really the priority for our greatest minds?

Or you could just play Xbox... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707177)

This is actually already implemented by Microsoft in their Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles. I like knowing that, while Microsoft can't do much about exploitable bugs in the games (the sword-flying in the first version of Halo 2, for example), they can easily boot people from the network if they know they've modified their hardware in any way to enable cheating. It would be interesting to know what their record is, and whether anybody's figured out how to bypass the system.

here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707185)

How about only sending data to the user, he/she actually needs. This fixes the seeing through the wall problem.

The only thing an online game should be taking from the user is his input (keyboard, mouse), all calculations (except rendering the game) should be done else where, and all the game data the user doesn't require (or see) should be kept away from user's computer.

Then only one attack vector remains. With proper input checking (not on user's computer) one could probably significantly reduce the problem of aimbots and eliminate any speed hacks.

Re:here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707619)

Great idea. As soon as everyone can connect to the game with 20ms latency I'm sure the devs will get right on it.

Re:here's an idea (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708357)

How about only sending data to the user, he/she actually needs. This fixes the seeing through the wall problem.

Maybe it would work better to send the client more data than it actually needs, then only informing it which data is valid at the last possible moment. Even if you can see through walls, you don't know which players you are seeing are real and which are fake.

Sure, anti-cheat is the given reason. But... (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707189)

I find it very troubling that this whole new "anti-cheating" technology looks a lot like some beefed up hardware keylogger which not only will be present in every computer out there but also will not come with an off switch. Sure, the reason to push this new trusted computing feature is those damn cheater punks who enjoy them unlawful fragging or that pesky spyware, which only affects ill-managed insecure platforms. Yet, what about the danger that this new feature presents to privacy? I mean, it's a keylogger paired with a communications component which will be present in virtually all desktop PCs. Does gaming free of the occasional cheater trump privacy nowadays?

this shouldn't be necessary (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707369)

but the number of fucking cheaters and theives is out of hand. fucking dick smokers, sucking them dicks.

Yay for Trusted Computing (4, Funny)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707417)

Remember folks, although the remote attestation features of TCPA could be used by online services to force you to use a particular "trusted" application/OS stack, locking you in to a configuration like "IE on Vista", that's not why they are there.

The point of TCPA isn't to enforce DRM or strengthen software monopolies. It's all about things that benefit you, like preventing cheating in online games, and... erm... many other things.

TCPA is a misunderstood technology. The EFF [eff.org] , the FSF [fsf.org] and security experts [cam.ac.uk] are just making a knee-jerk reaction to something that they don't understand. Let me explain:

1. TCPA doesn't take away your ability to run whatever software you want. If every online service requires you to use (say) Vista, and uses TCPA to enforce this, you can just opt out of the Internet entirely and carry on running Linux or .*BSD or whatever. It's your choice.

2. TCPA doesn't spy on you, although it might be used to prevent you modifying software that does. But then you can just opt out of using that software. Again, it's your choice.

So, say yes to TCPA! Like atomic bombs and subdermal RFID chips, the technology isn't inherently evil, and it will certainly never be abused to reduce competition in the software marketplace, preventing free software interoperating with online services.

Yay for Sarcasm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707843)

Only 6/10 I'm afraid, add an analogy and profit step for full marks.

Re:Yay for Trusted Computing (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707899)

you can just opt out of the Internet entirely and carry on running Linux or .*BSD or whatever.

You yourself have just shown that the EFF, FSF, and security experts have a genuine beef. Using Mickeysoft or "opting out of the Internet" is not an acceptable choice.

Re:Yay for Trusted Computing (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708039)

Well, I went and checked your previous posts and there's no indication that you're any stupider than the rest of us. I'll just chalk this up to Sunday morning lethargy. But really you might want to post a mea culpa or something because your sarcasm detector is seriously hung over.

Just one problem? (4, Insightful)

Quarters (18322) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707427)

Multiplayer games these days have one problem. Cheating.

Really? Just one? What about:

Bad design

High prices

Poor performance

Steep system requirements

Bugs

Re:Just one problem? (4, Funny)

cshake (736412) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708165)

You forgot another one:

EA

I'd also include 'lack of support for old games' but just saying EA covers that pretty well.
(C&C Generals is what, 4 years old? They don't even have a section on their website for it anymore FFS!)

The Scarlet Letter (1)

grapeape (137008) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707447)

Want to fix this in gaming universally and quickly? Employ the usual detection methods then rather than banning (which just prompts signing up again under a different name) simply tag all their account information with an icon designating they are cheaters (I recommend a big scarlet C). Have it follow them around for a set period of time (1st offense 1 month, 2nd 6 months, 3rd 1 year, 4th lifetime). It sounds harsh but I would go so far as to extend the cheater flag to apply to any future account made with matching personal info during the penalty period, sure it might irritate a roommate or family member but that will only assure it doesn't happen again. Public embarrassment works much better than banning.

Re:The Scarlet Letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19708067)

There are a LOT of people who get labeled as cheaters when in fact they are not. How would you like it if this happened to you? All of a sudden people are swearing at you and calling you names because you have this big red C next to your name and you have no idea why it appeared.

You shouldn't do something like this unless your detection method is foolproof. And as it is now, most of them suck badly. Hell, punkbuster and VAC have a history of problems where running application X in the background would result in a false positive and people being unable to play. And relying on admins to guess as to whether someone is cheating useless too. Oh, you happened to check behind a crate to see if that one remaining enemy might have been there, and he actually was? You must be wall hacking. boot.

Re:The Scarlet Letter (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708101)

Public embarrassment works much better than banning.
The majority of cheaters I encounter in games are more of griefers which cheat to annoy you. Since these people tend to even wear provocative titles when they can such as "Chinese gold-miner clan", I don't really see how this will publicly embarrass them.

After all, all I ever hear them say as a reason for doing that is, "It's just a game".

Nope, I don't think "public embarrassment" will work.

Re:The Scarlet Letter (2, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708279)

I'd rather have banning. A key ban is the way to go. Sure let them sign up for a new account, that'll be $50 please. If a person makes enough of an nussance of themselves follow it up with a credit card number ban. Sure most people have more than one card, but the truly cronic bastards would be face pretty quickly with a long time ban if they didn't straighten up.

Personally I've been leaning back towards LAN parties. Cheaters are much easier to deal with, you just chuck an empty beer bottle at them after the first offense. The second offense involves dragging them out back for a little wall to wall counselling session.

Re:The Scarlet Letter (1)

niteice (793961) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708337)

Or give the server admin tools to play with. Make the player look silly, send them false information, etc. Spawn a campfire if they're camping.

Real-time public humiliation is even better. :D

Keyboard recorder in hardware (1)

tvlinux (867035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707513)

Now the BAD guys(gov included) will gave an easy time to install keyboard recorders, it is already there!

This from the company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19707605)

...who's Core2 MMU can potentially be exploited from userland code.

Give it up Intel, I don't game and I don't want TCPA bullshit on my boxes.

Cheating in games is a huge problem (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707647)

That I am going to lose about 1/2 secound of sleep over.
I may even forget the problem by the end of the .... what was the problem again?

Maybe not so much (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707735)

Most of the "cheating" I've seen is only in the minds of kiddies who don't understand the effects of latency, and the ability experienced players have to compensate for it. Gaming would be 1000% better if these kids would just grow a spine.

World of Warcraft seems pretty clean (1)

macz (797860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707757)

Except for lag macros that make you appear to be a few yards away from where you really "are" I haven't really experienced much in the way of cheating in WoW. It could be that I am just ignorant I guess, but their combination of Warden (ugh) and a strong client server protocol seems to be pretty effective.

It's a reputation problem. (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19707931)

You can't trust the person, you can't trust the hardware or the software you can't trust anything which comes back from the client machine.

Da fix? A cross game registry of gamers with identities linked to real addresses and bank details. Something which all the online games can query, though I'd go with hashed values for bank details/address etc rather than real ones. You get caught cheating, you get marked as such. To get rid of the marking you need a new identity.

Will it stop it? Mmm look at the athletes who take drugs, I doubt it. What getting caught would do though is ruin the gaming life in all the games which use the registry. Gaming environments could be split into two areas. One for trustworthy gamers, one for cheating scum.

 

This may lead to anti trust lawsuits if games.... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708085)

This may lead to anti trust lawsuits if games force you to have this as people will not like being locked in to Intel chip sets and high end games will not want to give up nvidia SLI chip sets for this. Also this may give a big boost to AMD in the AMD VS intel lawsuit as it is braking anti trust laws for Intel to not give this a way for free to other chipsets to use if this ends up being needed to play some games.

When this comes out... (1)

jonfields (643711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708161)

Certain keyboards will still work for cheating...IF macros are performed by the keyboard itself through some memory in it rather than reading a macro file on a computer. I wonder if the G15 is in that group.

Wires (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19708251)

Just how are they planning to authenticate the computer as being an intel one with a trusted hardware module? You know, seeing there is no secure authentication system that is not based on trusting the user... What shall stop me from virtualising the whole intel platform on an AMD box? The only way this could theoretically work would be to have a small quantum entangled system with one particle in the computer and another back at Intel. That way they would actually have physical access to a part of your computer, but the technology to implement something like that at anything less than an astronomical budget is at least a century away.

WTF???? (-1, Troll)

canUbeleiveIT (787307) | more than 6 years ago | (#19708403)

WTF??? The last four stories are all about games. I enjoy games but I just don't have a lot of time to devote to them. Where do you people get all of this time? I'm so busy earning money, spending time with socializing with friends & family, and trying to keep my middle-aged body in shape that I find it very difficult to justify allocating time to gaming. In fact, the only people I personally know who spend much time on games are my teenagers and their friends.

Maybe it is true--all of you DO live in your mothers' basements :)
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