Ubisoft pirates game fix from pirates
Great moments in lazy coders
Companies that take an iron fist approach to fighting software piracy are generally best served by not lifting a pirate group's code themselves to fix their own product.
Ubisoft, the French video game developer and publisher, was recently caught with its pants down, releasing a pirated hack as an official fix.
Ubisoft sells the PC version of its game Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (RSV2) in a boxed copy format and through the online store, Direct2Drive.
When the publisher released a new patch for the RSV2 this month which added play modes and other goodies, customers were eager to update. Unfortunately the patch also added a check to confirm that a CD was in the PC before the game could play. This was obviously a problem for customers who downloaded the game through Direct2Drive and lacked physical media to validate.
Naturally, this theft prevention tool was meanwhile no problem for software pirates. A hacked executable removing the CD-check was soon readily available — although Ubisoft understandably forbade and punished discussion of the crack on its website forums when Direct2Drive customers came for help and advice.
Complaints about the physical media snafu kept coming, so a zip file was eventually uploaded by an Ubisoft employee to the help/support site, named "R6Vegas2_fix.zip."
But then Fileforums.com user Twingo discovered Ubisoft's little secret. The fix was, in fact, a cracked version of the .exe file modified by the pirate group 'Reloaded.'
Users on Ubisoft's official forums have provided proof, the "official" fix was Reloaded's crack by running the executable through a hex editor.
Posted by neilthecellist on Ubisoft forums
The file has since been removed from the website, so can't verify the claims. The initial response from Ubisoft via a forum post by a "UK Community Manager" was disbelief:
We're looking into this further as this was not the UK Support team that posted this, however if it is an executable that does not need the disc I doubt it has come from an external source. There'd be very little point doing so when we already own the original unprotected executable.
As soon as we find out more about this we'll let you know.
That was followed up later today with:
The file was removed from the site over a week ago now and the matter is being thoroughly investigated by senior tech support managers here at Ubisoft.
Needless to say we do not support or condone copy protection circumvention methods like this and this particular incident is in direct conflict with Ubisoft's policies.
Given that Reloaded is an illegal piracy group that regularly strips copy protection from video games and distributes them on the internet, it's extremely unlikely it will be crying foul by official means.
But at least it's an opportunity to laugh at yet another company that loads its software with so many copy-protection hoops to jump though that it ultimately only encourages piracy. ®
C.O.R.E - Challenge Of Reverse Engineering - one of the predominant cracking groups. I draw attention to the R.E bit. Prior knowledge you say? Which part of reverse engineering means you know what the code is already?
Did not Compaq invent the 100% IBM compatible BIOS by reverse engineering the IBM BIOS itself?
DRM has one function, to protect the income of the producer, it has only one effect, to harm the consumer. Much like a lack of standards does.
I note in point that my DRM free mp3's play in both media player, and iTunes, thus my mp3 library can be used in both applications and on my iPod. The story with AAC/WMA - forget it!
Some points a little off topic, but just a winder point on how DRM fails.
Is it not legal to use a NoCD crack anyway? Using a NoCD crack is different to using a pirated version of the product if you own the original media. I might be confusing NoCD with BackupCD cracks though.
Patch was never tested! It only works for one round!
The funny thing about that patch UBI was so proud of, the main hardcore feature the patch adds to the game only works for one round and then the game loses its settings and reverts to normal.
So not only did UBI not test the patch with Direct2Drive users, it didn't test it at all.
There is actually one Vegas 2 server admin that hacked the patch and fixed it for his own servers to play hardcore mode. UBI hasn't released a patch to fix the patch but hackers seem pretty good about fixing stuff and they don't have the source code.
Re: @ Sarah Bee
One day at a time, AC.