After permanently quitting S4League (for the 12th time) and returning one week later (also for the 12th time, coincidentally), it came to my attention that the Netsphere had undergone a small name change in the period I was gone. Luckily, there was a notice waiting for me when I logged in that quickly updated me on the situation:
Due to the recent arrival of a batch of unbelievably skilled players the Netsphere is henceforth known as the Hackmania Sphere. Please continue to enjoy your stay.
You have probably seen them. The kind of guys that have command over ultra secret pro techniques which enable them to run at lightning speed. They also have an amazing proficiency with weapons, as they can fire about 20x as fast as normal players. Not to mention, they possess otherworldly aim qualities that kill you in one hit. These players are known as the descendants of G himself — they are immortal and normal eSpers are no match for them.
Such are the players who are welcome in the new S4League.
Other players are not as welcome and receive the following when playing legit:
Before indulging oneself in the e-world and all of its present day affairs, it would be wise to pause for a moment and take a walk down the memory lane, just for old time’s sake. On that note, I would like to say that November 2013 has been an interesting month for me. First, I learned that the concepts behind terms such as “charity” and “generosity” are on the way out. As it turns out, the event we know as Thanksgiving now is apparently an occasion where the players show their appreciation for GameOn instead of the other way around. After all, who needs their community anyway. The idea itself is simple and we are all too familiar with it: give them money and get .. well, not so much in return. A slap in the face, at most. But, since GameOn does not want to rob you completely blind, there’s still something to be had. Those who upload enough AP for this month’s server upkeep will get to dress up like a Space Cowboy or Indian drag for a while in return. It’s not much, but remember: symbolic gifts are the best.
Some time after this there was yet another S4L database security breach. Between all cover-ups and smoke screens, rumours are bound to spread at one point or another. The latest reports seem to suggest that there is a Russian S4 hacking syndicate that got into a disagreement with one of GameOn’s staff members and retaliated with a full-scale assault, led by a team of the world’s most renowned hackers, against the S4League database. They made off with numerous accounts and the security of many others has been compromised, but no biggie. These guys got this, and we can all sleep sound tonight. On that note, I really hope you don’t use the same password you use on S4 at a lot of other places.
Yet some time later this I pressed the “Update” button for one of our plugins, JetPack. You all saw how well this went, as the blog came back online only a few hours ago after being completely inaccessible for about two weeks. Finally, there apparently is yet another rapidly escalating hacker outbreak going on which has left the Netsphere in turmoil once again. Which also happens to be the subject of today’s article.
What Causes a Hacker Outbreak?
“Encountering hackers in S4 is very much like playing a game of poker: you always get four of a kind and more than often a full house.” -ProtoStyle
Why do all these hackers continue to find their ways into the game and, even worse, our very own rooms? S4 Forumer Katakarat offers the following explanation:
Shortly, the game files are encrypted but, the key for decryption is ‘hidden’ neatly in resource.s4hd.
So someone who is experienced or semi-experienced at reverse-engineering will have that key for free abuse in matter of hour.
Penta/whatever added an extra layer of security about 4-5 months after the first resource modding outbreak and that was reversed in matter of a week.
All this was the result of 4 minutes of efficient googling so no point hiding or removing this message as the tools and guides for breaking S4 apart are everywhere.
So let’s build on this. S4 is a popular game. The files are easily accessible and just as easily edited. Result: the founding of S4 hacking communities, where the “Be like a GOD!”™ tools are distributed like hot candy. To make things worse, these hacks are frequently patched by their wicked creators to bypass the latest XCrap or FailShield security layers.
Part of the problem also lies with GameOn / Alaplaya. They simply do not care enough. The ToS / CoC state that hacking is prohibited, and participating in such activities allows the company to sue you. But this all just talk and no walk. Even if doing this once would set a good public example to scare off the other hackers and scriptkiddies, they won’t do it for the sole reason that there is no profit in it. “Execute one man to warn a hundred” the saying goes.
The community, too, has their share of the pie. The absent-mindedness and lack of care that it is renowned for is part of the reason why things keep on going the way they are. Even if the game is infested by hackers, even if playing is downright impossible: people will keep on to uploading and buy GC. Supporting the game? All this does is tell GameOn the following: “It’s ok guys, we don’t mind the hackers”. GameOn, in turn, thinks the following: “the sales are still going strong, priority #1 is secured. Ignore the hackers, it’ll die out — instead, let us direct our attention towards the next milking event for our lovely S4 Farm.” If you are bothered by the way things are and want them to change, there is no better way to make a statement than to hit them where it hurts: their wallet.
Dealing with a Hacker Outbreak
After all depressing and gloomy business, it is time to show you guys my optimist side. After a lot of research, I can proudly say I have found some solutions to hackers. Here are 6 things you can do when you encounter a hacker:
1. Explain your concerns to them
Language removes barriers between people. Try to reason with a hacker. Tell him about the issues you have with what he is doing in his own language, and he will understand and cease his activities.
Play matches with your friends as you watch the Netsphere burn. It is their concern, not yours, as you are enjoying legit and thriving matches with some of your best companions.
Show your anger by insulting the hacker in all ways possible. He will be afraid of the negative emotion he has awoken in you and others, and will flee from the room in fear.
Pretend that the unfair situation has turned you insane. The hacker will be shocked by this unintended side effect and flee the room immediately.
Fight fire with fire. Get your S4 trainers out and show them who the real boss in town is.
Together till ban doth us part.
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Until the next time,