Thursday, August 9, 2012

CCP's War On Bots: Hardware Bans

"Two Step stated that he’s pretty sure he’s heard of CCP recording a digital fingerprint of each computer, from botting forums."

CSM Spring 2012 Summit Minutes, p. 148

I was looking for some tears from botters over the changes to mining ships when I found something much more interesting over on the Eve Pilot/Eve Miner forums:

6 August 2012

LoPhatMelk:  "I'm trying to setup a new trial account after ban, so far all I get is waiting for account to be verified. I think there is some type of mini ban happening as soon as I log in. I have tried changing my system HW ID (not MAC), no luck there. I'm attempting to reload eve after wiping the install dirs. The only thing I found that slightly worked was when I created a new account and started up a fresh VMware guest of Win7. which had a fresh install of EO worked... Until I loaded that account up onto my reg system then it got the flag also. Any help you guys can give on how to get a trial account up and running with active ban would be appreciated."

Slav2 (Eve Pilot developer):  "Never heard that CCP start to ban accounts by hardware besides if you spam about ISKS sales in game or have connection to RMT accounts ... 

"p.s. One of my trial accounts was banned as soon as I created first character because I used shared (first found in google) VPN. Not every VPN is good, if you share VPN with other botters or ISK spammers this will make you banned very soon ... Frequent change of external IP will lead to ban also."

LoPhatMelk:  "Thank you very much for the info Slav2. Yes after more testing it seems they are infact mini-banning by eve fingerprint. I have no idea if this will ever get lifted after ban is off or not. Hopefully RG does not get me perma banned, I wanted to try to use a trial account to regain some money while I wait for the 2 weeks to go by."

I don't know how much of a secret this is, but Two Step was correct about the digital fingerprinting.  Slav2 documented the information that is uploaded by the Eve client when players log in and I have a copy of the list sitting on my laptop.  Looking at the list I see information about Eve client settings as well as hardware and operating system settings.  The information is consistent with what is in the EULA:
Section 9D - CCP may from time to time update or otherwise modify the Software electronically. You hereby grant CCP permission to: (i) extract hardware system profile data from your computer; (ii) extract information from your computer's file directories pertaining to the Game and your ability to access the System; (iii) download to your computer content and Game files and any data related to the operation of the Game. The foregoing applies to any computer from which you log into the System using your Account. [emphasis mine]
What is useful in debugging problems and allowing CCP to know what platforms to support also has the capability to identify people logging into Eve.  In this case, CCP Sreegs has had a smart programmer put into place a system that will automatically prevent someone with an active ban from creating another account. 

Of course, the botters have come up with a workaround, but I feel uncomfortable posting it since the detection system is used to keep more than botters and the illicit RMT crowd from entering Eve.  While the people I customarily write about know this information, I expect someone who was banned for griefing in Eve may not know the solution.  And if someone acts badly enough in Eve to get banned, I definitely don't want to help that person sneak back into the game.

I don't know how long ago CCP Sreegs put this system into place, but I like the fact someone can't just create a new account while doing their time for a botting ban.  The more botters are inconvenienced the more likely they hopefully are to stop and change their ways.


  1. Aww, no mention of Red Guard? Bad journalism or deliberate omission?

    1. Deliberate omission. Although I think it would be funny if someone who was banned for being an asshat went to your site and purchased Red Guard thinking it would help get back into Eve and then it doesn't work. But I didn't really want to be accused of helping someone with a real-life scam. I have a fear of lawyers.

      Also, I thought that was you commenting on EN24.

    2. You need to do your homework better, RG is free, so is EG for now.

  2. > RG is designed to work when using the Eve client and spoof
    > the login monitoring. But this article highlights a CCP
    > process that occurs when you attempt to create an account,
    > which you do thru the web site, not the client. Unless you
    > were using RG when you were banned, it probably won't work > to hide you.

    > u mad civan?

    I'm not emist, but I will reply here since folks at en24 tend to remove my posts ;).

    Feck, I'm not mad I know rg works, since it keeps my bots alive while software devel accounts get banned. Mind you your attempt at FUD here is preaching to the converted, even the a guy at my forums did a better job (I won't link it out of courtesy, I'm sure you will find it).

    Regarding your actual post, again, homework... On a browser level the best you can do is a) ip, b) cookies, c) flash games, considering that it works with no-script, I highly doubt they are doing anything there. Coming back to our original subject, he is exhibiting typical symptoms of a hw perma ban (any account logging in is banned within 5 min).

    So keep on posting, but try to keep the errors/omissions down, they don't work on the guys that are yet to make their mind up about botting. Remember that time when you were in school and a policeman told you that smoking pot will turn you into a homeless heroin addict?

  3. Ah well I'm still happy botting away in goon space as I always have.