It's not surprising Punkbuster did the same thing before.
So according to this Valve is monitoring your DNS cache in order to catch cheaters with the byproduct of also collecting your entire browser history
VAC now reads all the domains you have visited and sends it back to their servers hashed : GlobalOffensive
Tried to look to the thread to find any verification that they are actually sending information back to Valve, and only came up with thisDecompiled module: http://i.imgur.com/z9dppCk.png
What it does:
Goes through all your DNS Cache entries (ipconfig /displaydns)
Hashes each one with md5
Reports back to VAC Servers
So the domain reddit.com would be 1fd7de7da0fce4963f775a5fdb894db5 or organner.pl would be 107cad71e7442611aa633818de5f2930 (Although this might not be fully correct because it seems to be doing something to characters between A-Z, possible making them lowercase)
Hashing with md5 is not full proof, they can be reversed easily nowadays using rainbowtables. So they are relying on a weak hashing function
You dont have to visit the site, any query to the site (an image, a redirect link, a file on the server) will be added to the dns cache. And only the domain will be in your cache, no full urls. Entries in the cache remains till they expire or at most 1 day (might not be 100% accurate), but they dont last forever.
We don't know how long this information is kept on their servers, maybe forever, maybe a few days. It's probably done everytime you join a vac server. It seems they are moving from detecting the cheats themselves to computer forensics. Relying on leftover data from using the cheats. This has been done by other anticheats, like punkbuster and resulted in false bans. Although im not saying they will ban people from simply visiting the site, just that it can be easily exploited
Original thread removed, reposted as self text (eNzyy: Hey, please could you present the information in a self post rather than linking to a hacking site. Thanks)
But I am not sure what that means, as I have no idea what I am looking at there.http://i.imgur.com/J681m2v.png There you go, verified they are in fact collecting.
[–]hiver [score hidden] 28 minutes ago
What am I looking at?
[–]frankster [score hidden] 16 minutes ago
No evidence they are sending back to the servers though right?
[–]codeusasoft [score hidden] 11 minutes ago
DnSGetCacheDataTable sends it back.
This is a big wtf if true though.
It's not surprising Punkbuster did the same thing before.
If there's one company I don't mind looking at all the websites I visit it'd probably be Valve.
Heh, if MS or EA did this there'd be riots in the streets.
If you discovered that your girlfriend of many years that you had no issues with had secretly monitored your cell phone to see where you went all the time to make sure you weren't cheating, would you have issues? Or if you monitored her, you think she would have issues?
If so, would think issues would arise from having corporations doing the same with our digital persons.
If this was reversed, and a hacker went into Valve and monitored the workers web browsing history, I think it would end up as news sort of like this.
Corporations doing the same to people, who cares? That's just business as usual.Evil hacker caused tons of damage invading the privacy rights of the Corporation Valve! Valve reports "damages" of millions and distressed workers! Federal authorities were put on the case and tracked the hacker down. A SWAT team raid on the hackers house found lots of personal information history regarding the workers at Valve. Authorities are working with the corporation to make sure that laws are made to insure the safety of the companies, along with safeguards being implemented to monitor all users of the site to make sure that nobody can do so undetected again. "Anonymity is becoming an increasing problem online" said X politician. He went on to say "We are working on a bill to make proxies and hiding who you are illegal, because if you are not doing anything, why do you need privacy?" We will update on any further news regarding the terrible thing that happened to Valve, but for now it seems they are on the case and fixing this so it won't happen again! We shall all be safe soon!"
UPDATED: An interview with Gabe, the leader of Valve now states that "I can confirm that due to the leaked information Half Life 3 is canceled. We do not take lightly on spying on us, and if you want to blame anyone for this, blame the hacker who violated our privacy".
Valve shouldn't be given a pass on this because of Steam, and they've definitely crossed a line here.
That said, VAC and Steam are two entirely different things, and I don't have any games that use VAC because there isn't a public-server MP game that I give one single fuck about, so I won't be joining the rioters myself.
Warden sent back all the window titles of all your running applications.
That's some pretty scumbag shit regardless of who does it. I don't have anything to hide, but I'm pretty fucking tired of crap like this.
Digital goods companies just don't fucking respect anyone's privacy at all. The crap where every game now tracks everything you do and sends it back to the company for feedback so that they can mold future games around that stuff is just as bad as this kind of thing too. Targeting advertising, demographics tracking, focus group testing, and all of that nonsense just sickens me.
He's got no proof that it actually sends it to Valve. It wouldn't make sense to send that much data, there's probably a small list that gets sent down to the client, then it checks against that list, and sends a flag back if there was a match between the two.
is this about Half Life 3 or not?
One day I hope to be as attractive and well spoken as Tuco!
Gabe responded on Reddit:
Trust is a critical part of a multiplayer game community - trust in the developer, trust in the system, and trust in the other players. Cheats are a negative sum game, where a minority benefits less than the majority is harmed.
There are a bunch of different ways to attack a trust-based system including writing a bunch of code (hacks), or through social engineering (for example convincing people that the system isn't as trustworthy as they thought it was).
For a game like Counter-Strike, there will be thousands of cheats created, several hundred of which will be actively in use at any given time. There will be around ten to twenty groups trying to make money selling cheats.
We don't usually talk about VAC (our counter-hacking hacks), because it creates more opportunities for cheaters to attack the system (through writing code or social engineering).
This time is going to be an exception.
There are a number of kernel-level paid cheats that relate to this Reddit thread . Cheat developers have a problem in getting cheaters to actually pay them for all the obvious reasons, so they start creating DRM and anti-cheat code for their cheats. These cheats phone home to a DRM server that confirms that a cheater has actually paid to use the cheat.
VAC checked for the presence of these cheats. If they were detected VAC then checked to see which cheat DRM server was being contacted. This second check was done by looking for a partial match to those (non-web) cheat DRM servers in the DNS cache. If found, then hashes of the matching DNS entries were sent to the VAC servers. The match was double checked on our servers and then that client was marked for a future ban. Less than a tenth of one percent of clients triggered the second check. 570 cheaters are being banned as a result.
Cheat versus trust is an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. New cheats are created all the time, detected, banned, and tweaked. This specific VAC test for this specific round of cheats was effective for 13 days, which is fairly typical. It is now no longer active as the cheat providers have worked around it by manipulating the DNS cache of their customers' client machines.
Kernel-level cheats are expensive to create, and they are expensive to detect. Our goal is to make them more expensive for cheaters and cheat creators than the economic benefits they can reasonably expect to gain.
There is also a social engineering side to cheating, which is to attack people's trust in the system. If "Valve is evil - look they are tracking all of the websites you visit" is an idea that gets traction, then that is to the benefit of cheaters and cheat creators. VAC is inherently a scary looking piece of software, because it is trying to be obscure, it is going after code that is trying to attack it, and it is sneaky. For most cheat developers, social engineering might be a cheaper way to attack the system than continuing the code arms race, which means that there will be more Reddit posts trying to cast VAC in a sinister light.
Our response is to make it clear what we were actually doing and why with enough transparency that people can make their own judgements as to whether or not we are trustworthy.
1) Do we send your browsing history to Valve? No.
2) Do we care what porn sites you visit? Oh, dear god, no. My brain just melted.
3) Is Valve using its market success to go evil? I don't think so, but you have to make the call if we are trustworthy. We try really hard to earn and keep your trust.
That's a little less shitty and a mostly reasonable explanation.
I think somewhat expected. Valve has far more to lose than gain by harvesting your history.
I feel increasingly secure in my original assessment.
Machines and Internet speeds being what they are now, is there even a need still for cache and temp files? I would think no, and I would assume we would all be a bit more secure/private without it.
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