After permanently quitting S4 (for the 12th time) and returning one week later (also for the 12th time), I found that the Netsphere had undergone a trivial name change. “Due to the recent arrival of a batch of unbelievably skilled players the Netsphere is now known as the Hackmania Sphere” the notice said. 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 descendents of G himself — they are immortal and normal eSpers are no match for them.
This week: .ProtoStyle indulges himself in the world of S4 hacking to find out the cause for this recurring plague and finding some solutions — which leads him to only one possible outcome!
Where to start. November has been a good month for me. First, I got to witness what the terms “charity” and “generosity” mean in GameOn’s dictionary — apparently they are definitions joined together with some sort of event known as Thanksgiving. Basically, its an annual event where GameOn is given money by the players as a form of thanks for doing such a great job. All that you had to do is upload enough AP for this month’s server upkeep, and in return you got to dress up like a Space Cowboy or Indian drag for a week. Cool. Symbolic gifts are the best.
After this there was an S4 database security breach. Despite all the rumours clouding our vision, such as user security and password change, we have been able to pinpoint the actual truth. Apparently, there is a Russian S4 hacking syndicate that got into a disagreement with one of GameOn’s staff members and organized a full-scale assault, led by a team of world renowned hackers, against the S4League database as a revenge act. They made off with numerous account details, but no biggie. *sniffs* Ahh … Chinese weed indeed is great.
Some time after 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. Oh and, there apparently is a rapidly escalating hacker outbreak going on which has left the Netsphere in turmoil. But that is just a side note.
Hacking Outbreak: Causes
About a week ago was that fatal day where I realized that my in-game experience, bluntly said, sucked harder than a [This word has been removed by the WordPress Team. You signed your blog up as PG-13 rated — please abide by the rules.] Why I came to that conclusion? Because of my love for card games. 5 hackers in 5 different rooms — each of them in different modes, too. Rrrrrrrooooyal Flush!
Getting to the point, S4 Forumer Katakarat offered the following explanation to the hacking problem:
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.
There is sense to this. S4 is a popular game, the files are easily accessible, and they easily can be edited. This led to the founding of S4 hacking communities (ElitePvPers, GameKiller) where hacks such as Item Manager and S4 Trainers are readily available to everyone. To make things worse, they are frequently patched by their wicked creators to bypass the latest XCrap security layers. The real problem, however, lies with GameOn / Alaplaya. They simply do not care enough. The votekick system has been ‘bugged’ for almost two months now, and although the issue has been forwarded we yet have to wait for a fix. Somewhere in the ToS / CoC it is stated that hacking is prohibited, and doing so allows the company to sue you. While this set a good public example to scare off the other hackers, there is no reason why they would do it. There is no profit in it. Finally, even if the game is infested by hackers, people keep on buying AP, which in turn tells GameOn “It’s ok guys, they don’t mind the hackers, the sales are still going strong!”. And this is what matters the most.
Recently, someone on the S4 forum said that buying AP keeps S4 alive, which is essential because S4 still S4 and we love it. I however compare this S4 to a comatose patient that is artificially kept alive and can’t do anything. Someone who may be happier when he’s dead. Do you think a ruined and hacked S4 is still better than no S4, or is it better to finally be released from this game and move on or start over on a private server?
Hacking Outbreak: Solutions
After all depressing and serious stuff, it’s 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.
- 2. Stick with your friends
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.
- 3. Lose your cool
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 will flee from the room in fear.
- 4. Lose your sanity
Pretend that the unfair situation has turned you insane. The hacker will be shocked by this unintended side effect and flee the room immediately.
- 5. Start hacking yourself.
Fight fire with fire. Get your S4 trainers out and show them whose the real boss in town.
Until the next time.