Recently we have noticed a lot of threads on our Community Forums with regards to the hacking situation within Cross Fire. Once again we come here to commune with everyone and discuss the situation together!
We continue to say the same message to our users. That we are doing everything within our ability and power to remove as many hackers from the game as possible. But in this post we'll try to provide you with a little window into our operation and give you some idea on what exactly we do against hackers.
Please feel free to read all of this thread and discuss it here. Flames will be removed and ignored. And please realize that there is no conspiracy here. We do not make money from hacking, we do not distribute hacks, we are fully against hackers within our game. Hopefully after reading this you will be better informed of the situation.
Hackers exist in our game. No one wants to admit it, but there it is. The main problem however is that no one knows for sure how many hackers there are. Not everyone with a positive kill/death ratio is going to be a hacker. And this is where the main problem with all of this lies.
We would love to remove 100% of the hackers from our game. But since that situation is very difficult the best we can do is strive towards that goal. To continue to do what we do to make the game better. But no matter how many hackers we remove we are trapped under the mentality of the community. The perceived notion that everyone good hacks is something we have a difficult time changing.
Hacking exists in ALL games however. Just because you didn't see someone who plays Call of Duty hacking, doesn't mean you can't find hacks for that game. Not to mention all the people downloading and playing that game illegally (ie not purchasing it), hacking and piracy in video games is something every company has to deal with.
However these larger games with massive development studios and huge companies and publishers and dollars back them up means they can work with the latest technologies for their games. It's a simple fact that Unreal or Crysis engines are harder to "hack" than the engines used in older games.
One of the reasons Cross Fire is so popular is because it is so accessible. The core gameplay (take a classic pro game of search and destroy) is simple and functional and fun to play. And the fact that the game is based on an older engine means it can reach a wider audience. Not everyone in the world is screaming on a quad core pc with dual 30 inch 3d monitors and HD surround sound. Cross Fire plays on those machines too, but it's designed to reach the maximum amount of people. This is how free to play games operate.
While we're talking about the general situation I will also add that it will always be better preventing hacking from coming in to the game than banning a hacker.
Regardless of the population or the people or the mentality, if we ban a hacker for 30 days and then we eliminate those hacks from coming back in and the user comes back and doesn't use hacks again then we've done a positive to the game. While this isn't always the case, it just reinforces the fact that we need to stop hacks from coming in to the game. As you'll soon find out we get overwhelmed with reports, so removing the user is not always the best solution.
And lastly, in general people make up numbers all the time. 9 out of 10 people make up statistics that 85% of the people believe. (see what I did there?) No one knows exact numbers for anything. The free to play industry is very competitive, we do not release exact numbers for a reason. When dealing with hackers however the last thing we want to do is release information that could be used against us. We understand this is frustrating and we ask for a leap of faith in this aspect. But try not to jump on the statistics bandwagon, because most of the time its completely fabricated.
So this means that the situation is this; We see hackers we eliminate hackers. We can't recode the game on some amazing "end all hacking" update, however this is not stopping us from working with our resources (including the developers) to remove as many hacks from coming in to the game.
What We're Doing
So this brings us to the section where we can discuss what we do against hackers on a daily basis.
Seek out and Find Hacks
We constantly search the internet for hacks. We have a huge list of all the very well known hack sites that we infiltrate and download and test as many hacks as possible. This is our primary way of removing hacks from the game. When a hack gets downloaded it gets tested and sent to the appropriate people. X-Trap and Smilegate. From there these guys code the appropriate blocks into the program to prevent them from entering in the game, or in other cases get them detected so the autoban system picks them up.
It should also be noted that we have our own resources and communications with others for these types of hacks too. The mods and known community gamers provide us with valuable information on where hacks come from, what kinds do what, what to look out for, emerging threats etc.
All in all it goes into a system of daily checks for the latest attempts to ruin your gaming experience. These efforts go directly to people like X-Trap and are directly involved in the recent major updates you've seen to X-Trap.
Working with X-Trap
X-Trap has recently had a major update which has changed the way the program works and has now managed to catch a vast majority of the hacks within the game. We have seen a significant reduction in the number of hacking reports, incidents, available hacks and hackers in game.
X-Trap currently detects well over 300 hack programs. Now obviously this includes outdated hack programs as there are definitely not 300 active hack programs available. However this works out to a new detection every couple of days over the course of the modern xtrap implementation. Just on this fact we can see that they are doing an impressive job to stop hacks from entering in to Cross Fire.
Also, from these hacks that we find they get broken down into a code level where we know exactly which hack you are using when you get detected. This is how we are 100% confident in our auto ban system. When xtrap was first implemented we were banning for hacking but the confidence level was not at its fullest because often times it was difficult to see the type of hack being used. This is no longer the case (and has been for a while). When the auto ban picks up a hack it knows exactly whats being used and issues the kick and the ban for using it.
It should also be said that hackers are not always the smartest people and that often time picking up one hack will pick up multiple ones because people redistribute and rename a specific hack, but the functions don't change and it still gets picked up.
Auto Banning Hackers
This brings us to the auto ban section. As discussed we pick up from a list of hundreds (and growing) hacks. Auto bans are treated as hackers 100% as the auto ban system doesn't make mistakes. However with the nature of the system it works better for us to increment the bans. Especially with the amount of people that fall to account scams, yes it is their responsibility, but some leniency must be given in this respect.
Before you start moaning about the auto ban system, take someone who actually hacks in the game 100% of the time.
The first detection they get banned for 3 days. Then they come back and hack again. Then they get banned for 7 days. Then they come back and they get detected again (this is getting funny now because they surely are using the same hack they got detected on! something we laugh at all the time), we're up to 30 days now and the next ban will become permanent.
After it's all said and done their total playing time for the game is something under 10 minutes of game time in 40 days (over a month!). So if the guy keeps hacking he's barely played the game and he's going to end up with the same result as if he was permanently banned!
The Autoban system picks up way more hackers and bans than purely watching reports do. While we can't give out the number exactly, the system picks up somewhere between 80-90% of the hackers in the game. It should be noted though that of the game population less than 5% actually hack. Even less now with the recent X-Trap update.
We get a lot of reports. Period. On a good day (low hacking) on a weekend we might get somewhere around 500 reports.
Sorting these reports out means we have to run filters on them. This is some of the stuff we do to get down to a legitimate report.
First check to see if the information in the report is accurate. Did they upload a replay, is there any additional information, did they get the character name correct (we realize this puts 'work' on your part but getting the name right with a bit of information goes a long way to getting the report done faster).
Then we do things like look to see how many times the user has been reported, the dates they were reported from, then we have to look here for abuse as a lot of clans feel that if one person sees a hacker then they must get all 100 people in the clan to submit the same replay of the same hacker. This is 100 reports we don't need.
Then we have to check to see if the account has been picked up by the auto ban system, and where along in the auto ban sequence they are (ie permanently banned or not etc).
Now we're getting to a point where we have a tangible report/replay to watch and it's the GMs turn to review the case.
Duplicate reports, wrong reports, reports not being actual hackers etc all adds up to one of the most tedious jobs our team does.
We take these reports seriously because we want the game to be legitimate, but we also want to take this professionally. We are not in the business of issuing a ban because so-and-so says so. When we ban a user we want to be confident that we've made the right decision so that if someone complains we can say; "No, we have reviewed this, you were hacking end of story."
Now having said all this, we are currently working on a backlog of bans and will be issuing some large scale bans on a lot of reports that we have been reviewing. We are investigating hacking trends and will be doing a large scale ban of a few thousand accounts this week. This kind of large scale anti-hacking movement doesn't happen often but in this case, coupled with the new X-Trap changes we are approaching a level within the game where hackers are a less of a problem and we've been able to look at some old reports to get them handled.
The next largest regular issue we deal with in Cross Fire is the issue of "hacked accounts". Accounts do not get hacked. It's a simple truth. If accounts get hacked in the traditional sense, my game account would have been hacked years ago since it has all the weapons and I'm sure a hacker would love to play on a GM account!
Think about that logically. No one can get my account security information because I haven't told anyone. People are not secure enough with the simple things on their account. Their Login ID, Security Answer, Registered Email are all things you need to keep to yourself. We go through hoops to make it as difficult as possible to change your information. However if you go a fake website and drop down all your info trying to get free ZP you are going to lose your account. Period.
No website will give you free weapons, free zp or anything else for free. If you try to sell your account, if you give your info to your brother, if you download a keylogged hack program. These are all things that can cause you to lose your account.
Those people are stealing your accounts to hack on them. They don't have any other reason to have it. And if the account gets hacked and detected then you're not gonna get the account back. THIS IS THE TRUTH. You are responsible for your account security, therefore when you lose your account and someone hacks on it we have to punish the account. We can't reach through the internet and slap the hacker and give you a pat on the back for admitting you fell for a scam. It's just not going to happen, the account hacked in our game and we issued a ban (auto or not). You're done. Don't fall for a scam. This is a serious problem and you have to take it seriously when you make a Z8Games account.
Every day we get hundreds of support requests for lost accounts. This is just how bad the problem is. You must be more secure with your information. The less time we have to spend proving who owns an account means we can spend more time banning the real hackers.
At this point we would like to clear up a couple of misconceptions that some people seem to have.
"We do not sell or develop hacks." This makes no sense and is a completely ludicrous notion. It's also insulting to our GM team who spends their time each day banning hackers, finding hacks and doing everything described above.
"We do ban hackers." This is also another ludicrous notion that we don't ban hackers. We're very sorry it seems that the person you reported was caught hacking again in another game you were in. This could mean a few things:
1) They were picked up by the auto ban system and the ban expired and they are no longer hacking
2) They were never hacking in the first place
3) We haven't got to your report yet
There is no limitation to who we ban. We've banned everyone from high level players to high level spenders to level 0's who have only played for 5 minutes. Whether the person was picked up by the auto ban system or manually we've banned em all! And while the backlog of reports does pile up, we get to them and hackers can't escape.
We are confident in our GM team to review replays and issue appropriate bans. They all play the game on a daily basis and they know how to spot hackers and have no tolerance for them. The fact that some people believe we don't ban hackers is such an insulting false notion.
In the End
What does this boil down to? It boils down to our dedicated team of GMs and staff here that are constantly working in the interests of you and the game. We work with the developers, with XTrap and with the community to remove as many hackers as possible.
You may have noticed a reduction in hacking. Which is a direct result of the work we're doing, but that doesn't mean we're done. We're going to continue to review replays and remove hackers and continue to bolster our auto ban system to make sure it's working at the best efficiency.
Our goal is to get to the point where the community mentality changes. We need the good people of this community to recognize the efforts we do, and see them in game. They can help spread the word that we really are making the game a better place. The misconception that the game is filled with hackers when it really isn't needs to stop. But we need to continue to do our best to remove as many hackers as possible.
Stick with us, it's only going to get better. And if you stuck through to the end on this one then you get a cookie! The first thousand people to enter XQ637VUDN6 into the redeem page will get a little boost from us as a thanks for doing your part to better this community!
#served. Now go blow your coders for more hacks.
I do not approve of hacking. Hackers are unethical and immoral.
I've won a golden katana from a tournament, I bet none of you hackers can say that. Look what practice and skills gets you, respect and titles. Look what hacking gets you, nothing.
List of successful trades but they got banned later. 2xcozi94 - BurnRed¤ - rtdt44 - Kelly2580
Gamerusher (Direct scam, just an average noob) F10 (Charged back the money) SeaNanners (Recovered by owner) Hayakuda (Got the money back though) d1nam1t (Got the account back though) [oG]Brian (Scammed by his brother using his account)