Cheating in Elite Dangerous

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Technically nothing, other than the requirements of time, skill and lack of ethics on your part - but the same would be true if it was encrypted, it would just require a little bit more reverse-engineering on your part.

Encryption is a defence against 3rd parties intercepting and reading or modifying a transmission. It's not an effective defence against a legitimate party to the communication (say, a copy of Elite Dangerous) going rogue or being compromised, because the legitimate parties by definition and by necessity are able to decrypt the encrypted data.
But this is my point, as a copy of Elite Dangerous ON A CONSOLE cannot be compromised, thus the only way to cheat* on my platform is to modify the data stream, and decrypting a truly encrypted data stream is not trivial AT ALL.

* I'm not talking about exploits and mode-flipping, but actual "hacking / cheating" as identified by the OP.
 
You think Fdev will go banning with out proof? When have they ever done that? I have been playing mmo since they came out. And hacking the client has always been a perma ban offence. Regardless of the game.
They will have proofs.
Again tired voice
We meet in Open... I modify data related to your ship in my ED client memory, to make your ship invulnerable on my client. Then i do plenty of shots to your ship, record video with zero damage, send video to FDev, and they ban you using this video as a solid proof that you made your ship invulnerable.

REVERSE CHEATING guys, keep this in mind.
This already occurred in past. And FDev stopped proactively fighting cheaters exactly because of this. It's technically impossible for them to differentiate cheater, and reverse-cheated fair player.
 
FD used statistical analysis to find people exploiting engineering flaws, could they do the same for telemetry in game? A non force shell 600m/s Corvette is going to be instantly fishy.

I suppose the next question would be does FD automatically filter telemetry and flag anything out of spec?
 
Are you unaware that literally every other online multiplayer game SOMEHOW has a functional anti-cheat but Elite doesn't? How do you think those get built and implemented?

There are teams for each game who has the sole job of doing stuff like this. Welcome to the game industry.
FDEV has a "anti-cheater" team. What exactly they do besides follow-up on CLog reports, I have no idea.
 
FD used statistical analysis to find people exploiting engineering flaws, could they do the same for telemetry in game? A non force shell 600m/s Corvette is going to be instantly fishy.
I suppose the next question would be does FD automatically filter telemetry and flag anything out of spec?
Engineering operations data goes to FDev servers (your client sends engineer action request to FDev server, and gets response).
Shots operations data does NOT go to FDev servers (your client sends requests only to the other player PC directly, who is in your instance, if there is any).
So FDev just has NO telemetry on their side for such things like shots performed by players. Because p2p architecture.
 
They will have proofs.
Again tired voice
We meet in Open... I modify data related to your ship in my ED client memory, to make your ship invulnerable on my client. Then i do plenty of shots to your ship, record video with zero damage, send video to FDev, and they ban you using this video as a solid proof that you made your ship invulnerable.

REVERSE CHEATING guys, keep this in mind.
This already occurred in past. And FDev stopped proactively fighting cheaters exactly because of this. It's technically impossible for them to differentiate cheater, and reverse-cheated fair player.
Then they need to change the client so that they can detect cheating, otherwise this game is doomed. No mmo with massive cheating going on survives too long.
 
Oh. It's a good thing I wasn't even trying to fool you. I'm of a mind that one kind of cheater, leads to being another kind of cheater, and the effects of the cheats are pretty much the same. Some players having an unfair advantage over another. Those players caught up in the '5 for 1' scandal knew exactly what they were doing, and chose to do it. '5 for 1' didn't just happen all on it's own. The player had to choose to wangle with the system. That dosen't seem all that different to me.
Every one looks for the path of least resistance, im sure every ED player at some point in their ED game playing career has instance hopped or board flipped to get somewhere faster.
There was a bug in the game code which Fdev missed and some players found it, used it and got an advantage in game as a result. This all became public knowledge and Fdevs response was to remove all engineered ship modules from the cheating parties. A responce which many thought was not enough and some thought was enough. But this just feeds into my earlier comment that Fdev is seen as a soft touch. Their soft touch on that issue still permeates today. Fdevs response to that issue is now written in stone and part of ED history.

This current issue with Hack tools built and designed to give huge advantages to players at the click of a mouse button is much more serious, because it opens the flood gates for people to improve upon that software and distrubute it at will. Yes the intent to cheat is still there, but the cheat itself in this instance is a HACK and outside of the ED client beyond the reach of Fdev ability to control unless they now change how the game works or have a zero tolerance policy towards its use.

But all of this depends on how Fdev responds. Can they even detect this client? Do they even bother looking if they can?

If they cannot detect it, then they need to find a way to do so because this issue will seriously damage this games reputation. I've avoided games in the past which i knew had an out of control hacking problem and right now Fdev are trying desperately to court new players.
 
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Then they need to change the client so that they can detect cheating, otherwise this game is doomed. No mmo with massive cheating going on survives too long.
Yes, that's what i'm telling during years on this forum :) But it would need so much efforts (literally rewrite networking module of the game from the scratch), that it will never occur, definitely.
 
Engineering operations data goes to FDev servers (your client sends engineer action request to FDev server, and gets response).
Shots operations data does NOT go to FDev servers (your client sends requests only to the other player PC directly, who is in your instance, if there is any).
So FDev just has NO telemetry on their side for such things like shots performed by players. Because p2p architecture.
Then what would the network cost be of having everything reported back to server?
 
But this is my point, as a copy of Elite Dangerous ON A CONSOLE cannot be compromised, thus the only way to cheat* on my platform is to modify the data stream, and decrypting a truly encrypted data stream is not trivial AT ALL.
If modification of the data stream (rather than interception without modification) is the only threat, then there are much cheaper ways than encryption to guard against that.

Encrypted or not, yes, you can probably be confident that the only cheaters on your platform are the ones backed by the state-level actors who can go for some of the more novel approaches to compromising console hardware...
 
Meh. FDev is usually fairly cowardly as game companies go, so I wouldn’t expect anything to change any time soon. They’re too afraid of reprisal.

Doesn’t affect me either way, thankfully. I’d sooner eat my own vomit than engage in PvP, and I’m not really invested in the BGS. I’m just here to slaughter wanted NPCs, fly spaceships, and see space stuff in VR.
 
Excellent write-up as always Ryan. It does amuse me how SDC seem to be the ones who rock the boat on these issues.

However one issue that someone mentioned early on in this thread is important to remember. These people should be Shadowbanned, not punted into solo IMO, otherwise they're going to continue to cause issues, albeit for BGS and PP players.
 
But how to punish, if there is no possibility to identify cheaters?
You get 1000 report per day. You know that ~500 of them are false (which means, these are reports filled against fair players by cheaters, using forged video proofs).
Would you ignore all 1000 reports? Or ban all 1000 players, knowing that 500 of them are actually NOT cheaters?
Perform 1000 investigations per day (hire 1000 workers for this)?
This is not about fabricated video proof, this is about 3rd party tools used in game to give a person serious advantages over the normal player.


MDH
 
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