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DRM First Person Shooters (Games) Games

Punkbuster Service Goes Down, Hundreds of Online Game Servers Affected 74

MojoKid writes "PunkBuster, the anti-cheating service implemented in hundreds of online games, is down. As of the time of writing, the official PunkBuster website is up and down, after having been completely down for the past couple of hours. On Twitter, there are numerous reports of gamers who've been unable to play online in the most popular PunkBuster-backed title of the moment, Battlefield 3. EA has gone as far as to post an interim fix. Applying the fix is a simple matter of extracting an archive and then overwriting a couple of files inside of your Battlefield 3 install folder. While EA has little power over PunkBuster's ability to get things 100% functional again, this issue does highlight the fact that third-party solutions are not always the way to go."
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Punkbuster Service Goes Down, Hundreds of Online Game Servers Affected

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @05:46PM (#42888417)

    It was worthless in the quake 3 days, and it sure as hell hasn't gotten any better today.. It did little other than lag the clients/servers and kick/ban players spuriously.

  • Re:lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by archen ( 447353 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @05:53PM (#42888507)

    punkbuster does not stop anyone from cheating.

    It seems to be stopping everyone from cheating at the moment.

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:15PM (#42888773)

    Seems to me that if you don't agree with how the EA model works, then don't buy their games. Otherwise, you're just subsidizing the exact thing you hate.

  • by Anti Cheat ( 1749344 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:58PM (#42890599)

    Sorry Requiem18th but you have no idea what you are talking about. You only think you know how PB worked. Hate to tell you but your blacklist idea was only a very tiny part.

      Impy the Impiuos Imp You are right. But it was far worse than you could ever imagine with cheat rootkits

    I used to be involved in this area for over 15 yrs. One thing that is very common in cheating are cheats sold/subscribed to over the internet. Having over the years examined these pay cheats, that claim to get around PunkBuster (PB), I have a few insights to share. Many times eventually PB would nail them, counter to claims on the websites. Usually when the numbers using the cheat make it worthwhile for PB to go after.

    But here is the very serious side these cheats most don't know.
    It's no surprise in finding out the cheats are rootkits, but the surprise are the extra payloads they carry or will carry when they get updated in time. The thieves that write the cheats don't stop at stealing the fun out of the game. Several of the bigger sellers in the past were also serious criminals. It was very common for them to hijack your comp to be used in their private botnets or to rent out. The other common theft were your logins and passwords. Many parent were surprised to find their credit cards, banking info was compromised, but worst was identity theft. These cheat criminals often stole directly from the sucker, but more often would just sell your info to others. One German cheat writer thought he was really smart. Once the client (usually a kid) stopped subscribing to his cheat, that was when he loaded up the nasty payloads. He made more money of this theft method than the cheat subscriptions he sold. All those past customers were the gift that just kept on giving.

    As for Punkbuster as a product. Once it matured as a product it did a decent job at catching cheats for a long time (I haven't followed this stuff recently). One thing for sure. Valve's VAC was the worst product by far. Valve would only catch a tiny portion of the cheats as compared to PB and VAC very rarely ever caught private cheats. VAC also had the worst error rate of false detection. Sorry to vac fans but those were the stats.
    I don't do this work in the game industry anymore, but I don't think things have changed much in the last few years.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.