Cybercrooks turn Eve Online into botnet battlefield
Fun-spoiling, DDoSing thieves farm virtual gold to sell for cold hard cash
Crooks using online games to farm virtual currencies that they can sell for real money have turned internet spaceship game Eve Online into a battlefield for botnets.
Eve Online is home to various rival groups who generate in-game currency for gamers who want to join in without spending their time acquiring experience and resources by working their way up from the bottom. Rivals groups from eastern Europe are using botnets to DDoS opponents before taking over their territories. Regular gamers are often caught in the cross-fire of multi-pronged attacks that might occur in game, via DDoS attacks to forums, over VoIP communication systems and late night prank phone calls. Game servers have taken a hit in the process.
Gold farmers are known for using Trojans to gain control of compromised accounts. The Eve Online baddies have taken a different tack through attacks that swamp forums with junk traffic.
Chris Boyd, a senior threat researcher at GFI Software and gaming security experts, said that Eve Online's difficulties are a part of wider problems in virtual worlds.
"Gold farmers can cause the price of in-world items to rise, chat channels can be flooded by sale scams, endless bots and automated processes can cause significant server load," Boyd told El Reg. "That's before you get to the problems creating by phishing, hacking and scamming established and profitable accounts."
Boyd (AKA paperghost) agreed that the miscreants on Eve Online are taking it up to 11.
"The idea that there are effectively dead systems filled with nothing but spambots and hostile empires that are happy to do battle outside of their gaming realm by DDoS'ing websites and making prank phonecalls is a fascinating insight into the troubles plaguing virtual worlds, and real world currency having a marked impact on virtual trading makes this a few steps above dedicated DDoS botnets designed for nothing other than kicking console gamers out of Halo 3 sessions."
Various groups rumoured to be working out of Eastern Europe and Russia are said to be offering in-game currency for real money. "Investigations by the owners of the game have caused several leaders of these alliances to be banned in the past," explained Reg reader Patrick, who was the first to tell us of the hive of villainy within Eve Online.
Doesn't this add to the realism?
The game's supposed to be about this kind of futuristic distopic financial battles between organized crime syndicates. EVE's probably best known for an extremely well-planned robbery anyhow [e.g., http://www.computerandvideogames.com/180867/features/murder-incorporated/?site=pcg ]. So I don't see why this cannot be worked into the storyline.
I definitely like Dave Murray's comment above, "it hasn't happened to me so it clearly doesn't exist". File under: miscellaneous (cancer, house fires, rape, lottery-winning, and deep sea diving -- all figments of feverish imaginations, probably from underemployed hacks).
What a load of bull
You're reprinting crap from EveNews24? Really? EveNews24 is the FOX News of EVE and is well known to be written by and supports groups directly opposed to the Russian and Eastern European groups mentioned.
I'm not saying RMT and bots do not exist in EVE (because they clearly do) but in the 6 years I've played the game they have rarely impacted me and I don't think they are any worse now than they were in the past. In fact I see less Chinese isk farmers in 0.0 now than I did 3 years ago.
How long has Reg reader Patrick played the game, 6 months? Forum hacks, DDOS of forums and voice comms servers, etc have been happening in EVE for years. They aren't used to prop up some RMT cartel, they are used by many space holding alliances in the game to beat their opponents. Propaganda and disinformation campaigns are also rife in EVE warfare, sounds to me like Patrick has fallen for the lines fed to him by his alliance leaders.
CAOD is that way -->
Just sad this got onto El Reg instead of remaining where it should have been . . . .
All about Eve
"Propaganda and disinformation campaigns are also rife in EVE warfare, "
Which makes Eve the game that it is. It's not a kiddy game and, no, the RMT and bots aren't that much of an issue particularly now that players take the law into their own hands and zap any they come across.
I agree with Dave. This isn't news. Even the eve devblog you link to is 3 years old.
I haven't played Eve for over a year, but this wasn't even news then. The battle between the RMT crowd and the game devs has been pretty much constant for many years and as My Murray pointed out Unholy Rage [http://www.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=687] which happened a year after the your dev blog link, Reduced the farmers by a vast amount.
I regularly read the forums and haven't noticed any new recent spike in problems (or devblogs) regarding the matter?
Slow news day?