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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

Valve Interview Helps Reveal Details Of HL2 Code Theft 38

Thanks to The Guardian for its article providing further details on the arrest of the Half-Life 2 code thieves, with Valve's Gabe Newell explaining: "Through conversations with this individual, [we] had convinced him to fly out to us in Seattle for a job interview. The plan was changed so German authorities would do the arrests on German soil." These facts seem to coincide with allegations that the Phatbot trojan writer also stole the Half-Life 2 code, leading to "Axel G"'s arrest in May by German authorities following FBI tips. Although unconfirmed, one can also presume the previously mentioned smoking gun to be an "incriminating information" packed IRC log, revealing the source of the intrusion as the webservers of a wearable computing firm with links to Valve, on a machine likely housed in the same physical location as the Valve offices, explaining the hacker's comments that he gained entry via "a PC in Valve's net, that wasnt directly controlled by Valve."
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Valve Interview Helps Reveal Details Of HL2 Code Theft

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  • by ForestGrump ( 644805 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @04:57AM (#9714522) Homepage Journal
    from one of te articles:
    Valve is preparing to sue the hackers for damages, while working towards an end-of-summer release date for Half-Life 2 - widely considered the most anticipated shooter in PC gaming history

    finally! i can put this high-end laptop to some use...

    • It'll be a toss up if I can get my new home theatre setup before HL2 comes out.

      I mean, who wouldn't want to play it on a 133" screen with 6.1 THX surround sound while sitting in a recliner with a cup-holder?

      The race is on!

      Oreck Reviews []
    • Re:can't wait.. (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No laptop in existence will play HL2 well.

      At best you have a mobile 9700, which has similar performance to a desktop 9600 pro (which will do OK at 1024 with no AA.) But, If you have the mobile 9700, I'm guessing you also have a nice hi-res LCD that needs to be driven at native resolution to look ok.
  • another_log.txt (Score:5, Informative)

    by commonchaos ( 309500 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @05:31AM (#9714604) Homepage Journal []

    I couldn't get around the lameness filter, so there is a link for as long as the bandwidth holds out.
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @07:57AM (#9714947)
    "The risk of being caught prompted the primary instigator to contact Newell. He admitted hacking into Valve's server, but denied any role in the theft, instead naming those responsible for distributing the stolen code. "We now had three independent ways of confirming this primary instigator and, through conversations with this individual, had convinced him to fly out to us in Seattle for a job interview"

    I wonder how exactly they would have come onto this :

    Scenario :

    Gabe : 'Ok, well, im really pissed off you hacked our network, and released HL2 online... BUT.... you seriously look like a good coder... So how about working with us on HL3 ? uh ? uh ? '

  • I see.... (Score:1, Funny)

    by john_sheu ( 755802 )
    Valve offered them a battle they had no chance of winning... ...rather an anticlimax...
  • by Mitleid ( 734193 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:41AM (#9715458)
    ...but did anyone else see it as underhanded that Valve lured the source code thief into a trap by promising them a job?

    I'm not trying to say that what the theif did wasn't illegal or that his actions are justified, or even that they deserved a job at Valve, but it just seemed to me like sort of a shady thing to do. I'm sure there have been occasions where "hackers" have been offered jobs as security advisors/consultants for the organizations they exploit. Even though the thief isn't the smartest individual for actually following up on Valve's "offer", he didn't necessarily have any reason to believe otherwise.

    Eh, maybe I'm just too trusting and naive. I was just curious to hear anyone else's perspective on this, though.
    • by GeckoX ( 259575 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @09:51AM (#9715541)
      No, not even a little bit.
      Really man, how dumb would you have to be to accept such an offer for an interview? Dude got his just due to greed.

      Simple really, move along.
    • The police and federal governement do similar things on a fairly regualr basis. It was even included in a Simpons episode where Homer gets a letter saying he has won a free boat if he comes down to the police department and it turns out to be a sting operation to catch him for unpaid parking tickets.

      I personally don't see anything underhanded in tricking criminals. I always said that if I was a politician I would take the bribe money and then not do anything. After all, what would they do, complain? (O
    • Yes, I did. There have been a number of instances where overseas "hackers" were awarded job offers after breaking into a firm's network. People think the guy was stupid, but in all honesty, it does happen. Coupled with that fact that V4lvE tries hard to brand itself as a bunch of laid-back gamers that just want to make good gamers, I can see how someone might be duped. Unfortunately for the criminal, he evidently wasn't aware of valve's post-HL transformation into corporate monster. Maybe he should hav
      • This isn't a case where the guy went on Valve's network and defaced a web page or said "neener, neener, your security sucks" If it was, Valve would have tightened things up and moved on. It's possible they wouldn't have even reported the break-in to the authorities.

        No, this guy stole from Valve and then distributed what he stole. If he expected Valve to laugh it off, laid-back gamer-types or not, he was a damned fool and deserved to get pinched.

  • Code "Theft"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by silicon not in the v ( 669585 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:09AM (#9716345) Journal
    This seems like a good place to point this out. No one here has a problem with using the term "code theft" for when the people got hold of a copy of the Half Life 2 source code, but they will scream bloody murder if someone says "music theft" in reference to illegal music downloads. What an outrageous double standard!

    I see. Since you don't produce music to sell, "The owners haven't been deprived of it. It should be enriching the public domain anyway. Actually, they're stealing from me by not releasing it to roam free across the creative landscape!" But since you do produce code to sell, "They're destroying the value of the code and taking my ability to sell it for profit now. They are taking money away from the hard work I put in to it."

    If you've gotten this far, maybe you are a thoughtful moderator, rather than having marked me Troll or Flamebait already. Digital music / digital game code--they're both just bits in the bucket, so choose one label and stick to it. Don't try to separate them so you can defend one and hate the other.
    • Re:Code "Theft"? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by novakane007 ( 154885 )
      I agree with your commenst for the most part. Stealing a game is illegal and in the US, stealing music is no different. However, I have never heard of a person who has hacked a record labels servers and distributed rough tracks of an upcoming album. Theft from the public domain is one thing, but hacking in to private systems to steal digital property is something much worse in my mind.
      • I have never heard of a person who has hacked a record labels servers and distributed rough tracks of an upcoming album
        ...and yet, countless movies are available for download before they even hit the big screen.
        • ...and yet, countless movies are available for download before they even hit the big screen.

          That's because movie distributors send out hundreds of 'screener' copies so reviews can be out before the movie. Reviewers rip the DVDs and post them up to the net. Also, people sneaking video cameras into test audience screenings was a problem until they started patting people down and using infra-red to detect cameras in the theatres.
      • "...but hacking in to private systems to steal digital property is something much worse in my mind."

        OK, reasonable point. The online online form of breaking and entering does throw a different aspect into it.
      • I have never heard of a person who has hacked a record labels servers and distributed rough tracks of an upcoming album

        not a "hack" but the upcoming CD of U2 has dissapeared... []
    • I know I stand firmly on the "artists's rights" sides of both debates. Since I make my living as a software writer, it'd be more than a little hypocritical of me to
      • Like I was saying...

        Downloading music from Zazaa while demonizing somebody else for stealing source-code from Valve is intensely hypocritical. So I don't do that (download music off the Net).

        Anybody who makes their living off of creative work (art, programming, music, science) will, if they think about for a minute, realize that illegal file-swapping represents a real threat to their financial well-being.

        Having said that, I expect the vast majority of Slashdot readers are not actually working programmers
        • Having never had a financial interest in a creative work, they're probably not as aware of the contradictory nature of their positions.

          Or they're just jerks...

          Or they realize that there's a big difference between stealing sensitive source code that wasn't meant to be distributed to the public (then doing so) and stealing a finished product that was, thus making their position not contradictory at all.

          But it's easier to think in false dilemmas.

    • There is a big difference between works that are intended to be performed for the public (music) and with source code which is falls more under the category of trade secrets and are specifically not released to the public (close source software that is).

      IP producers are given the rights to exclusively sell their works for a limited time. That is perfectly fair and agreeable to most people, including many music downloaders. The gray area is to what extent non-commercial distrubution, i.e. sharing, infringes
  • Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AzraelKans ( 697974 ) on Friday July 16, 2004 @11:52AM (#9717026) Homepage
    The only news we have about HL2 these days is that Gabe Newell and his team are still personally helping in catching the "code thief" no beta testing, no network testing, not even a damn stress test of the steam server has taken place. Yet a lot of people still buy it when they say "Half life 2 is coming this summer!" yeah sure the same day we find those really well hidden weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.-

    Lets throw a quick poll:

    If you could suggest a course of action for valve at the time being that would be:

    You should catch those pesky code thief thugs, their crimes cant go unpunished, justice shall prevail! even if they probably (and really) are from a country were "code thief" is not a crime we shall invade that country or something!

    I dont care about the code thief! I have been waiting for hl2 since the stone age and I think you have a bigger responsability to the public than shielding in this as an excuse for not releasing a game you have hyped us about so much for such a long time!


    Option D would Involve scorting key valve employees at gun point to their workstations until a gold candidate is produced. Thats a bit harsh so is out of the poll. although could be considered in the future.

    Results may vary.

    Mod me as your heart pleases

    • Re:Yeah right. (Score:4, Informative)

      by delus10n0 ( 524126 ) <<gro.sysdp> <ta> <_noisuled>> on Friday July 16, 2004 @01:08PM (#9718215) Homepage
      not even a damn stress test of the steam server has taken place

      I assume you mean SERVERS, since Valve has close to 50 of them serving up Steam content on a regular basis, averaging 110,000 users a day.

      There were speedbumps in the past with major releases on the Steam network, but nowadays a patch is released and has almost nil affect on the entire network. For Half-Life 2, they are supposedly going to double or triple the amount of servers they have.
  • Having accessed Valve's server through a security-bypassing loophole in Windows, the hackers were able to download an early and hugely incomplete version of Half-Life 2 and post it on the internet for downloading via Usenet

    So it's a Windows problem! Yet another company who got screwed by choosing MS products. I say add Microsoft to the list of people at fault.

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