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Anti-Cheat Update

Get the latest info from the GRP Anti-Cheat team.

Since our previous security update “Road to Launch – Cheats, Exploits, Security Update”,  we’ve been monitoring player activity as well as evaluating and improving our services. In this update, we’ll summarize our initial steps, address our current efforts and anti-cheat systems as well as reveal our coming plans.

The Story So Far

As mentioned in the previous update, we assembled a multi-disciplinary team with the expertise required to address cheating and hacking in GRP on an ongoing basis. Having evaluated the existing anti-Cheat processes, procedures policies and technology, we devised a short term and long term plan to combat cheating and hacking in GRP together with all the other key teams (customer support, game masters, etc.). While improving the processes, procedures and policies, required only small amount of time, the improving the core systems of GRP and all other afferent systems, has required a significant amount of time and a shift from a reactive mindset to a proactive mindset.

On-going Efforts

We have been closely monitoring individuals or groups that are building and/or distributing exploits, cheats and hacks for GRP across the internet. We have been constantly evaluating their techniques, methods and progress in developing and deploying cheats and hacks. With the collected information we were able to determine the necessary solutions to prevent current and future exploitation, which remains an on-going process.

Don’t be misled to believe that hacks advertised as “undetectable by PunkBuster” go unnoticed. There will always be a cost, always going to be a risk and always going to be consequences for those who abuse the system. We are continuously improving our processes, procedures, policies and technology available to make these consequences obvious faster through a multitude of solutions.

Anti-Cheat Systems

We have encountered many challenges in the process of operating PunkBuster efficiently within GRP. 

Certain characteristics of the client-server architecture of GRP imposed various constraints on PunkBuster, which impacted the ability of the system to operate as intended. We addressed various constraints, but the remaining constraints continued to affect PunkBuster, which lead to inconsistent results in comparison to the results provided by our internally developed Anti-Cheat system (which has been operating silently alongside PunkBuster for a while now).

As a result, starting with the GRP update 1.0.3, we are no longer operating PunkBuster. We have been actively developing and maintaining a proprietary Anti-Cheat System with an emphasis on anomaly-based detection techniques rather than signature-based detection techniques. This system monitors the game systems of GRP and the game play of GRP players in real-time, composed of over twenty distinct components, each evaluating continuously the information available against certain indicators and markers which correlate to cheating behavior in GRP.

Whenever cheating behavior is detected, various reports are generated and made available to the Customer Support team and the Anti-Cheat Team. In the investigation process, the game masters use the reports sent by our players and the reports generated by our Anti-Cheat system to evaluate the information available against cheating behavior and apply, if required, appropriate sanctions to offending players. We, the Anti-Cheat team, use the information available to ensure that the system continuously operates as expected and regularly update, adjust and/or extend the system to obtain the level of accuracy required to apply such sanctions.

Passive to Active

As we announced in our previous security update, we have been in the process of shifting from a passive to active mind set, which includes validating an update which includes several fundamental changes of the core systems of GRP. These changes are intended to address various flaws and increase the overall robustness of the entire GRP framework. This is still an ongoing process, but in the meantime we’re also switching the automated functions of our Anti-Cheat system from passive to active.

In the past, the Anti-Cheat system has been passively generating reports, but not taking any direct actions against offending players without manual application by our Game Master team. This process creates a certain amount of delay in the application of the required sanctions against offending players, so we have decided to use the Anti-Cheat system to automatically take immediate action against offending players.

We believe these changes to be a significant step forward and we are looking forward to deploying the update with these improvements. Stay tuned for the next update on GRP security.

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