PunkBuster Interview

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Published by Black_ICE 20 years ago , last updated 5 years ago
Below are the answers to a number of questions you might have about PunkBuster [b]How is PunkBuster funded, do you have sponsors? Or don't you require any thing from outside PunkBuster?[/b] [quote]Even Balance, Inc., the company that owns PunkBuster software, pursues commercial licensing and service agreements with game developers and publishers. Our goal is to keep PunkBuster free for users and admins so that the associated costs are absorbed in the original cost of the game and passed to us via the normal revenue stream. We also offer a premium Name Registry service direct to players and clans so they can register their names and tags, but the income from this is just intended to pay for the costs associated with offering the service.[/quote] [b]Who came up with the name PunkBuster?[/b] [quote]I did. When I was a league admin, we always referred to the cheaters as little punks and we were always looking for ways to catch them cheating. When I came up with the idea to have a program running in the background to look for cheats, the name "PunkBuster" just seemed to fit.[/quote] [b]Will PunkBuster ever be able to eliminate all game exploits, meaning truly all of them?[/b] [quote]Games are just computer programs representing (often) millions of lines of code ... each line having been hand-coded by a human being. Since humans are not perfect, neither are their (game) 'creations'. That means that games will always have loopholes and bugs that can be exploited, no matter how much time and effort is put into fixing them. Therefore, complete elimination of exploits is an impossible dream - just like complete elimination of crime from a society. Our goal is to create a real deterrent to put those who would cheat at risk of getting caught and exposed, just like police are looking for criminals to catch them.[/quote] [b]Why do wallhacks and aimbots still work client side on some servers with PB enabled?[/b] [quote]PunkBuster is designed to work properly only when the latest version is running at the PB Server. Some servers are behind firewalls that prevent PB from keeping itself up to date. When cheats work on some PB Servers, most likely the cause is that those servers are running old versions of PunkBuster and the admins have not fixed the firewall problem and/or manually updated the PunkBuster version to the current one. Also, even on current versions, it sometimes takes a few days for the PunkBuster research team to obtain and verify a new working cheat. Once we have done that, it is only a matter of hours/days until PB Servers are detecting those new cheats. Also, some of the more serious cheats and hacks are not reported during gameplay, but are silently passed to our master server for us to consider in permanently banning the players using them. You should not be testing cheats that hack PunkBuster itself on public PB Servers or you are likely to get caught and permanently banned without recourse.[/quote] [b]Could you give us a brief description of what the PB-guid is, what it does and how reliable it is?[/b] [quote]The PB GUID is a way to identify players. GUID stands for Globally Unique IDentifier. It is based on each player's CDKEY in such a way that someone cannot reverse the GUID back to find the originating CDKEY. It is very reliable except in the cases where a punk has hacked the GUID to try to get around PunkBuster's normal operation. When we catch players trying to hack their GUID or otherwise trying to hack or get around PunkBuster itself, we globally ban those associated GUIDs from being able to play on any PunkBuster server forever.[/quote] [b]Is it possible to change your PunkBuster Guid? If yes, what's the use than to ban cheaters they can come back?[/b] [quote]Since the GUID is based on the player's CDKEY, it can be changed by obtaining a new CDKEY. That means cheaters can come back, but they have to buy the game again or otherwise obtain a new valid CDKEY. As noted in the previous question, if hackers hack their GUID to try to get around PB's normal operation, we can ban them from all PB Servers without recourse.[/quote] [b]Why not ban his key and so the player for a month and on every server that uses PB and actually do it!?[/b] [quote]Currently, we have the capability to permanently ban players for the game Quake3. We hope to add this capability soon for other games we support.[/quote] [b]What's the use of PunkBuster or any anti-cheat program when anybody can find new cheats that can be used?[/b] [quote]PunkBuster is updated all the time. When our research team becomes aware of new cheats that are not currently detected, we update the system so that it can detect these new cheats. Players and admins who find new cheats that are not currently detected by PB should forward them or info on where to get them via email to [email protected][/quote] [b] Why does one get banned only 2 minutes for having a wallhack?[/b] [quote]The 2 minutes is just a default. Each PunkBuster admin can set the kick time to up to 60 minutes on a per-server basis. PunkBuster never automatically bans a player permanently. We leave permanent bans up to individual admins. PunkBuster logs cheats to a special log file that admins can use to ban players if they choose to do so.[/quote] [b]Does PB decide how long the bantime is or is Raven in control?[/b] [quote]Each server admin can decide how long to have PB kick for (up to 60 minutes). Manual bans can be added for any length of time by the admin (including permanent bans).[/quote] [b]How come in some cases a Kazaa hack is seen as a gamehack? This happened to quite a few peoples i know.[/b] [quote]Any program that has code to hack other programs in memory is likely to get caught by PunkBuster as a cheat or hack program. PunkBuster doesn't care what a program is named or where it is installed on the system. But if it is running in memory while the game is running and it has the capability to change other programs, then it is subject to a PunkBuster violation. In general, players should never be running any extra unnecessary background programs while they play on PunkBuster servers.[/quote] [b]Who provides you information about new cheats? Do you look for them yourself?[/b] [quote]Our research team is always looking for new cheats, but many players and admins send us emails to [email protected] Most of the time, we are already aware of what comes in, but every once in a while a new cheat is discovered because of a report by a PB user.[/quote] [b]How many times a week does PB gets updated? And due to what sources?[/b] [quote]Some weeks, PunkBuster is updated many times ... 20 or more. Other weeks, there are relatively few updates. It just depends on the level of new cheat/hack activity.[/quote] [b]What exactly does PB do to disable the cheat?[/b] [quote]PunkBuster does not disable cheats at all - PunkBuster doesn't change anything on a player's system, not settings, not the registry, nothing except PunkBuster files. PunkBuster simply detects and reports. Then it is up to the Admin to take the next step and ban the player from his/her server if desired.[/quote] [b]When will there be an update for PB that solves the autoupdate problem? Now we have to download an update program.[/b] [quote] Most players' PunkBuster can auto-update with no problems. Some players run "Internet Security" software or play behind a firewall/proxy that prevents PunkBuster from being able to keep itself up to date. These players must manually update PunkBuster. In the future, we hope to have an alternate auto-update procedure that works for these types of players. Alternately, instead of manually updating, the console command "/pb_security 0" will also allow PB to accept updates from servers without communication with our masters. However, we only recommend using that setting when connected to servers where the player trusts the admin.[/quote] [b]Since PB is an extra program that's running, does it causes any lag? If it does, in which case?[/b] [quote]For the vast majority of players, PunkBuster never causes any noticeable lag. Players with slow computers and/or Internet connections will notice a bit of lag from time to time especially during auto-updates or screenshot transfers.[/quote] [b]Is there any chance of PunkBuster and other anti - cheat programs working closer together in the nearby future?[/b] [quote]PunkBuster was the first software and system that proved that cheating could be fought effectively back a few years ago. Since then, we have discovered that the only effective approach involves direct integration with the game (i.e. a separate third-party program just has too many loopholes). We are not interested in working with any third-party system because we already know that is a waste of time. We are willing and able to work with any game developer or publisher who would like to contract with us for help in fighting cheating in their games with *direct integration*.[/quote] [b]How does PunkBuster's future look, what's going to change for the better?[/b] [quote] The future looks bright. Several new games coming out this year will have PunkBuster integration and we are involved in other types of deals as well. I can't talk much about them until they are officially announced. Several aspects and feature sets of the PunkBuster software are slated to be enhanced and/or completely rewritten to improve overall effectiveness and also to address concerns expressed by players and admins of the current versions. We always strive to keep improving PunkBuster and we have since it was first released almost three years ago. Our focus is on giving admins more ways to keep their servers as cheat-free as possible while keeping PunkBuster as invisible and in the background as possible for the players.[/quote] Thank u Tony for this interview! =SR=Columbian Clan Soulrapers-in assosiation with -=S2F=- Black_Ice of www.sof2files.com
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