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‘Spyware’ games developer says you have nothing to fear

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Letter We have read your article about Spyware (Spyware concerns over fast selling PC game and I would just like to make it absolutely clear what Black and White does with respect to the internet information we send.

Clearly in the multiplayer game, a lot of data is sent but this is just game related.

In the single player game we make requests for weather data (if this is enabled) containing your user registration details so that the server can look up your city and weather associated with your city.

Additionally, every 3 minutes we send a UDP packet containing 8 bytes - packet length, packet type (i.e. a ping packet type = 4225) and your registration ID (if you have registered, otherwise just a hash of your name with a high bit set). The originating IP is also available through winsock.

If you have any friends in your friend list, then additionally every 3 minutes a request containing length, type (user list request=4227) and a list of your friends' registration IDs is sent to the server. If the server thinks that any of your friends are online then it will return their IP address so that you can chat to them.

We cannot make any comment about pirated versions of Black and White because we have no information as to exactly which version of the software was hacked in order to get a pirate copy.

Another point is that it would appear that some machines have a configuration which we did not come across in our testing that may cause a dial-up requestor or a hang to occur when one of these packets is sent.

There is a simple way around this - make sure that the program is run with the command line option : /NOINETCONN. This will actually prevent any
packets ever being sent over the internet at any time in the single player game. So if anyone is having any problems then we suggest you try this option.

I have also read comments that data is sent when Black and White is not playing. No data is sent when Black and White is not playing.

Tim

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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