Anti-cheat system 'Punkbuster' gets attacked

A junior member of a hacking group and his "team" are focusing attacks on Battlefield 3 users--banning them from play--to show their disdain for the anti-cheating software Punkbuster.

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One "junior member" from the game-hacking site Artificial Aiming and his team of anonymous hackers are going after the anti-cheat service Punkbuster, resulting in multiple reports of Battlefield 3 multiplayer bans.

According to a report from Kotaku, the hackers are "framing" innocent Battlefield 3 players to show their hatred for the anti-cheat software "integrated" into DICE's latest shooter.

Citing "very easy" access, the hackers are keeping their sights set on Battlefield 3 players tied to GGC-Stream. "We have selected ggc-stream as the target since they have the most streaming bf3 servers and makes it very easy to add fake bans. In 2011 we hit them with a mass ban wave and now were are banning real players from battlelog while ggc-stream is totally unaware. We have framed 150+ bf3 players alone," a forum post reads.

Users across the Battlefield 3 forums, Twitter, and Reddit have been appalled at the attack. EA has yet to address the concerns specifically, but have acknowledged errors with Punkbuster.

An official comment from EA to Kotaku focused only on Punkbuster's service status and not on unauthorized bans from playing the game, reminding users that the issues are PC-specific. Until Punkbuster issues have been corrected, EA recommends players avoid playing on servers requiring the software.

"We are actively looking into the specifics of this issue and we are confident that we will have a permanent solution in place shortly. In the meantime, if a player's connectivity has been affected, we recommend that in the interim they join servers that are not running PunkBuster. There is a filter setting for this in the multiplayer server browser," an EA spokesperson said.

Shacknews has contacted both Even Balance--operators of Punkbuster--and GGC-Stream for comment, but have not heard back at the time of publishing.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    January 24, 2012 5:45 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Anti-cheat system 'Punkbuster' gets attacked.

    A junior member of a hacking group and his "team" are focusing attacks on Battlefield 3 users--banning them from play--to show their disdain for the anti-cheating software Punkbuster.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 5:49 PM

      god bless hackers and their truly important work

      • reply
        January 24, 2012 5:55 PM

        I agree, it's pretty lame. Still, punkbuster is awful. Anyone remember a few years ago when someone in irc was able to get everyone that was hanging out in the channel kicked out of a game? I'm not sure on the specifics, but punkbuster was scanning memory and it was looking for a certain string of characters in order to provide security. All he did was paste it in the chat and everyone was instantly kicked out of the game they were in.

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          January 24, 2012 6:00 PM

          My favorite punkbuster story is how you had to manually download an update for it for BF2142 or else you'd get autobooted off of every server. There was no indication of this, or why it was happening, in-game. You simply were expected to psychically divine that punkbuster needed manual updating and find the methods of doing so by yourself.

          • reply
            January 24, 2012 6:33 PM

            I used to play joint ops and it was the same way, but you also had to bring down the console
            and type come pb command that would tell the server not to kick you out.

            it was so bad some servers had the command noted on the welcome MOTD.

            PB is fucking stupid and I'm surprised that modern games still use it

          • reply
            January 24, 2012 6:38 PM

            Every BF game I've played on PC has required me to manually update punkbuster at some point.

            • reply
              January 24, 2012 6:39 PM

              I've played every BF game released except BF3 and Bad Company 1, and never had to touch punkbuster before or since.

          • reply
            January 24, 2012 9:51 PM

            the sad thing is that this has been PunkBuster's MO for years. When Windows 7 came out, there was no way to get PunkBuster to work because they had ignored the Beta and RC releases of Windows 7 in the name of not supporting pre-release software. Also, even once they fixed it, you had to figure out where to manually download the services you needed to install because the installer wouldn't do it.... The software has been garbage since it's inception. It causes more problems than it solves even when it supposedly works right.

          • reply
            January 25, 2012 5:51 AM

            That recently happened again with BF3 a couple weeks ago!

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 6:03 PM

      Junior member! Adorable.

      • reply
        January 24, 2012 6:15 PM

        With moves like this, he'll be a Senior Member in months.

        • reply
          January 24, 2012 7:05 PM

          I hear you get a free bowl of soup with the promotion.

          • reply
            January 25, 2012 4:50 AM

            Mom buys an extra pack of hot pockets for the week

            • reply
              January 25, 2012 8:59 AM

              Wow, that is quite the upgrade from the puny Pizza Rolls the Juniors get.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 7:21 PM

      I'd rather have punk buster than no cheat protection at all

      • reply
        January 24, 2012 9:48 PM

        Is there any difference? Yes, no cheat protection actually works the way it is designed. PB is awful, worse than any alternative.

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          January 24, 2012 11:18 PM

          I've been in several games with hackers with PB. But far worse than that, I've been kicked by PB countless fucking times for absolutely no valid reason in BF2 and BC2 and I'm sure it would have happened dozens of times if I owned BF3.

          It's absolutely atrocious. In almost no other aspect of a product would that kind of shittiness be tolerated, but apparently PB gets a pass from developers and users.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 7:21 PM

      tbf, punkbuster is pretty bad

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        January 24, 2012 8:11 PM

        better something than nothing.

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          January 24, 2012 8:36 PM

          I heard that Steam was considered good... oh wait... EA.

        • reply
          January 25, 2012 8:59 AM

          disagree. You make out like it's all benefit (even if minimal) and no cost. There is definite cost. Specifically the cost is getting non-cheaters banned, such as is going on here. This is essentially the exact same Cost-Benefit analysis as DRM, and most people seem to hate any and all DRM, but will gladly say that even shitty anti-cheat software is better than no anti-cheat software

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 9:25 PM

      Guys just don't worry just play on non PB servers and just get killed by aimbots and people floating in the sky.

      • reply
        January 24, 2012 11:22 PM

        You'll get killed by aimbots and people floating in the sky on PB enabled servers too. PB is junk, stops nothing, and is only a pain in the ass.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 9:28 PM

      Any respectable server uses a streaming combination of GCC and PBbans. Punkbuster is and always will be crap. Too bad the hackers didn't screw with the website. Anything is better then what they have now.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 9:49 PM

      Punkbuster is not the best, but its the only truly available option if you aren't on VAC. How many competitors to Punkbuster are there?

      Also, BF3 has client side hit detection. The client has been well hook'd, so PB really won't have any hope of catching the cheats since all screenshots and hooks can be perfectly fine during PB checks.

      On the flip side, I'm not entirely positive the BF3 dedicated server can handle server-side only hit detection.

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        January 24, 2012 11:28 PM

        XBox 360 or PS3.

        PC anti-cheat is pretty much a losing game. I wouldn't be surprised if the specialized league anti-cheat ones are able to be circumvented with no problems as well.

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          January 25, 2012 4:41 AM

          I'd sooner play Bf3 with hackers on PC than on console.

        • reply
          January 25, 2012 9:05 AM

          If PC anti-cheat is a losing game, why not go back to community-hosted servers with admins? The main reason is because the publisher and developer want absolute control over DLC and stat ranking, but then they're not doing the work necessary to police the community, or sometimes to support the community after launch.

          I've seen news articles of this happening to MW2, BFBC2, COD:BLOPS, Brink, BF3, and MW3. They want to sell the game, sell the DLC, run the Pavlovian persistence rank system, but don't want to do the hard work of keeping up with hackers and cheaters.

      • reply
        January 24, 2012 11:33 PM

        Warden does a pretty good job.

      • reply
        January 25, 2012 8:53 AM

        Anyone remember Cheating Death? Whatever happened to it? I used it back in the classic CS days.

    • reply
      January 24, 2012 11:36 PM

      Why the fuck would anyone do this? Cheating a game is just pointless, all it means is you're shit, and can't take the fact that you're shit.

      Damn noobs.

      • reply
        January 25, 2012 12:00 AM

        I don't think you read the article

        • reply
          January 25, 2012 4:47 AM

          It doesn't give a reason in the article for why they are doing it, other than they dislike punkbuster, so I think rottdcorpse's point still stands.

          • reply
            January 25, 2012 6:13 AM

            agree with this, also , hacking is not good! i dont understand why everyone gets so frustrated, if you dont like the service, dont use it, if you are so smart, build your own anti cheat program, untill than just use what hard working people can provide...
            a bunch of spoiled kids!

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 4:37 AM

      Why can't EA go after and shut down these types of websites that directly interfere with their buisness. It doesn't seem right that they can make money fucking everyone else.

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 5:04 AM

      As shitty as Punkbuster is, I do see a lot of server messages banning users before they join with a stated reason of 'multihack', etc. I'm assuming this is PB at least, or is this some sort of server side plugin?

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        January 25, 2012 5:45 AM

        If it's working, it's GCC

      • reply
        January 25, 2012 9:13 AM

        server side plugins, usually listed in the server name.

        • reply
          January 25, 2012 9:53 AM

          Well then, PB does indeed suck donkey dick.

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 5:59 AM

      Oh so that's why I haven't been able to play BF 3

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 6:37 AM

      Punkbuster must be working otherwise they'd not have to attack it.

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 8:45 AM

      Never liked PunkBuster as a program or the arrogant people behind it.

      Ever since they started back in Counter Strike the system has been a mess. I still also remember them giving a hissy fit, threatening and finally removing CS support just because Valve didn't wanted to integrate PunkBuster directly on Valve games.

      And don't make me start about the issues I'm still having to this day with BF2142 because of PunkBuster. I hate cheaters just as much as the next guy, but fuck PunkBuster.

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 8:51 AM

      GCC stream is too open , anyone can join it
      PB vs VAC -> VAC has verry late "delayed" bans sometimes over 6 months after hackers are detected

      Punkbuster on its own is a little more active as vac but both lack features
      3rd party streaming services make punkbuster the better option.
      Only if it requires a background check upon streaming registration.

      GCC stream doesnt have these security measures ,.

      Therefor PBBans is the only good option and punksbusted too with their autoMBL


    • reply
      January 25, 2012 8:56 AM

      ya fuck punkbuster BF Bad company 2 still wont work on my pc because of it

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 9:45 AM

      Anyone remember the Cheating Death anti-cheat program?

      Their solution seemed really awesome but Punkbuster got more popular and it died :(

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 10:08 AM

      punkbuster hasnt fucked with me yet in bf3, which is surprisng since in the past it used to kick me all the time or force some weird update I had to magically know to download.

      I think only during the bf3 beta this happened... hmmpf.

      either way I hope I dont get targeted.

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 1:12 PM

      LOL, Some script kiddies R angry that they got teh banzhammah

    • reply
      January 25, 2012 2:05 PM

      @ Autor: Who have you contacted at GGC as we never got any question from you?

      Apart from that, please include our news in the article: http://www.ggc-stream.com/news/132/Fakebans+or+not%3F