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Why there is no real hacking in WoT


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Lert #1 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:03

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Anyone who's spent some time on the world of tanks forum will be familiar with so-called 'hackusations', people accusing others of hacks because they saw something they didn't understand. The more experienced and technically savvy WoT players will always reply with 'there are no hacks'. But ... Why aren't there hacks for WoT?

Well, first we need to look at what a hack actually is.

A hack is a modification to game files that would give the hacker a tangible, unfair advantage over honest players. Something like a speed-hack, where the hacker can move faster, or a reload hack where he doesn't need to reload his gun anymore. Something like a hitpoint hack where he'll never run out of hitpoints, or a rate of fire hack where the hacker can shoot faster than an honest player. These are all hacks.

What aren't hacks are things like reload timers - WoT already has a built-in reload timer, the bar that gradually fills until your shell is loaded. Also not a hack is something like the 'last known position' mod that shows a greyed-out icon on the minimap for a tank that vanishes. Anyone with enough minimap awareness would already know where that tank was when it was last seen, anyways. These are all just mods.

So, to differentiate: a hack actively modifies core game files and tank-balance stats, while a mod uses already available information and presents it to the player in a more transparent way.

Now, to actually hack the game, IE actively modify core game files and tank-balance stats, one would need to have access to these files. In some online games like some of the famous shooters, this is relatively easy to do because the core game files are stored on the local client, and the server itself just serves as a matchmaking lobby. If, for example, your gun normally has a 10 second reload, but you modify the core game files so that it has a 2 second reload, the server will blindly accept this, since it in and of itself has no concept of how long your gun should take to load. This is called 'client side'. Compare this to a safe in your home with your money in it. You can tell your bank you've got two million in your safe and they wouldn't be able to tell you otherwise.

World of Tanks works very differently. World of Tanks is what's called 'server side'. This means that all the important calculations (like armor penetration, hitpoints, visibility, reload, etc) are done on the server. Therefore if a hacker tries to fool the server by changing his reload stat from 10 seconds to 2, the server will just go "lolnope" and keep the reload at 10 seconds. After all, the server's files say that the reload is 10 seconds, and the server dictates how long your gun takes to reload. Compare this to all your money being in your bank-account. You can tell your bank "But there's 2 million on there, really!" but all they'd need to do is check their own files to see you don't have 2 million.

From this follows that you can not download a hack and install it on your local client. Your local client doesn't determine anything important, it just does what the server tells it to do. Any attempt to actually hack the game at the local client level will simply cause the server to go "denied". Compare this to ringing up your bank and going "My bank account now has 2 million on it" in your best Jedi voice. The bank will simply know better and ignore you.

So, in order to hack the game, you'd need to remotely hack into the World of Tanks server, go through its firewalls and modify the game files stored thereon. Alright, let's assume for a moment that you're a hacker of sufficient skill to get into the World of Tanks server itself.

Then you'd run into the problem that the files themselves are protected and can't just be modified by an external source.

But, let's assume for a moment that you're a hacker of incredible skill, and you somehow manage to get around the protection. You want your M4 Sherman to have 10000 hitpoints, 500mm frontal armor, 1000 damage per shot and an invisibility cloak. Alright, you modify the files, and you're now the proud owner of an M4 Sherman with 10k hitpoints, 500mm frontal armor, 1000 damage per shot and an invisibility cloak. And so is everyone else who has an M4 Sherman. Since everyone uses the same core game files on the server, any change to them is going to affect all the tanks of the same type across the entire server. So, this wouldn't work either.

Ok, so .. Imagine you're a hacker of absolute biblical skill who can somehow hack the game files to the extent where only your M4 Sherman has those inflated stats. Congratulations, you've now left a flashing neon sign pointing directly at your game client, with your IP address and login info attached, that says "I'm a hacker, permaban me!" .. After all, the modified files point to your Sherman, and not someone else's.

Ok, so that doesn't work either. So, imagine you're the absolute GOD of hacking, you're so incredibly awesome at hacking that cutting through the pentagon's firewalls is something you do as a warmup before breakfast, banks across the world pay you to not hack their systems, and .. somehow .. you manage to change the game files on the server so that your fake internet pixel tank is stronger, nobody else's is and it's untraceable to your own account ....

.... until the next time the server does a tiny little check for modified files and simply changes everything back, forcing you to start all over again.

So, yes, while theoretically it is possible for World of Tanks to be hacked, it's 'possible' only in the same way that it's possible to walk / swim from New York City to Timbuktu and back again, for a loaf of bread. Theoretically 'possible' but simply doesn't happen because nobody is that good, and nobody is going to bother going through all that effort and risk for so little return-on-investment.

"But this website says it has a hack I can download that gives me 10 million gold and all the tanks unlocked!"

Remember where I said the game is server side? Even if that supposed 'hack' wasn't a trojan or a key logger, the server would still go "Nuh uh, you don't have 10 million gold, you have 0 gold - and you haven't unlocked all those tanks yet either". And then send a polite little message to the mods of a hack-attempt from your client with your IP address and your login info with a CC to whatever law-enforcement agency deals with this kind of crime in your area of the world.

"But they have a little video and screenshots and everything!"

Yes, because screenshots can't be doctored and videos can't be faked, right? That downloadable hack is guaranteed to be a trojan, a virus or a key logger. It's guaranteed to be malware.

"But there are hacks in <Insert other game here> so there can be hacks in here, too!"

That other game has client-side calculations and the server simply takes what the client tells it as truth. Anything important in World of Tanks (Gold, camouflage system, reload times, armor penetration, shell count, tank movement, spotting system, etc etc etc etc) is calculated by the server.

"But that guy clearly hacked! He did <X> while there was no way for <X> to be possible!"

Anyone who's spent time on the forums knows these posts. In my experience, every time this is claimed, it comes down to the poster's lack of understanding of game mechanics. He encounters someone who does understand the system and knows how to use it to his advantage, causing the hackuser to run to the forums complaining about hacks.

In making their game server side and simply by virtue of being merely a fake internet pixel tank game and therefore uninteresting for 'l33t pro hackers' (after all, what glory is there from fake internet tanks to warrant the real and significant risk of getting caught and sent to jail?) Wargaming has made as close to an unhackable online game as is possible in this day and age.

Battlecruiser #2 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:05

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tl;dr?

also quit trying to justify/cover for hacking with your lies you dirty terrorist, all the true good players are onto your game.

FerriorEx #3 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:07

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Ive been gaming for over 20 years and I have to say games are getting harder and harder to hack. I love this so very much!!

SilkySmooth #4 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:11

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Sorry Lert - I have picture proof of how Garbad hacks!


Spoiler                     

Good write up Lert. The problem is that those that need to read this will not. And the tinfoil hat army will not believe it. But great try.

Failed spoiler damn.

Edited by SilkySmooth, Jul 19 2013 - 19:12.


Slakrrrrrr #5 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:11

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AFAIK no game is impossible to hack, but you need hackers the same level as the guys who hacked PSN (if not better) to truly hack in World of Tanks.

yo2u #6 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:12

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These are all lies. How do you explain the existence of sub-40%ers? Also, Ive seen IOC hack.

MisterPatriot #7 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:13

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This is why WoT is my most played multiplayer game 5evr. And TF2...

Windows_Are_Tasty #8 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:15

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TL;DR
hacking is remotely possible, but not worth it

Battlecruiser #9 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:15

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View PostFerriorEx, on Jul 19 2013 - 19:07, said:

Ive been gaming for over 20 years and I have to say games are getting harder and harder to hack. I love this so very much!!

there is a tradeoff though, the connection gets sensitive and latency increases as the game requires more bandwidth. For an MMO I can understand wanting to keep everything server side and it actually works for tanks due to its established pacing (when the network sensitivity isn't griefing players), but with precision oriented games this kind of system is only effective if the whole system is based in a lan or local environment, something world of tanks also benefits from. Of course what game doesn't benefit from being local?


with that said, for most games, particularly the kind where you shoot people, I'm a big fan of player run dedicated servers, peer to peer and corporate run servers just have too many flaws. Of course that kind of system would never work for an MMO, so its only logical WG take the steps to ensure all essential systems are done on their end.


View PostSlakrrrrrr, on Jul 19 2013 - 19:11, said:

AFAIK no game is impossible to hack, but you need hackers the same level as the guys who hacked PSN (if not better) to truly hack in World of Tanks.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying the risks are not worth the reward.  Hacking a game company to boost yourself is a great way to get partyvanned, or if you live in a third world country, hit with a drone missile for being a terrorist.

mattscooby #10 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:18

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peoples failure to get a grasp of the basic mechanics of the game make them scream hack.
people who are getting hit by invisible tanks scream this a lot, yet fail to realize 2 things, 1st, they are out of your view range, you are been spotted by a scout, tank, some thing close enough to light you , and some one else , possible over 400 meters plus is hitting you .
with this, and when they find your location, scream hack, failing to realize there is some one 60 meters away lighting them up like vegas on new years eve.
them comes the oh , you can not penetrate my tank with that tank, well with premium shells yes, with a well placed shot on a view port , yes, with a shot on a soft spot on a tier 10 tank, a tier 7 tank can penetrate you .
but how? your hacking, or just more intelligent than they are ?

Spitfire155 #11 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:21

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View Postyo2u, on Jul 19 2013 - 19:12, said:

These are all lies. How do you explain the existence of sub-40%ers? Also, Ive seen IOC hack.

I think some people are actually that bad. My little brother has a 43% win rate. I wonder if I should try to get him off as a service to the playerbase....

Vanagandr #12 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:22

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Anyone who believed in hacking in WoT in the first place doesn't have the mental faculty to recognize that hacking is practically impossible, even when someone explains in a measured and patient way why that is.

IKaitenI #13 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:22

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View PostFerriorEx, on Jul 19 2013 - 19:07, said:

Ive been gaming for over 20 years and I have to say games are getting harder and harder to hack. I love this so very much!!

Ever play WarZ, or what ever they are calling it now...

Well done Lert.

BigWoolyMammoth #14 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:29

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Mods = poor mans hax

TheLordZeus #15 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:31

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Lies!!!! Lies!!!! These are all lies!!!! There are hacks been used!!! LIESSSSS!!!
Sure, sometimes we shoot through open windows and are accused of "hacks," or we shoot though cra.......,,

ARGHHHH!!!! (SerB Police smash thought doors, place bag over my head and drag me out...)

"Nothing to see...move on ppl," demands SerB wearing tin foil hat and dark sunglasses...

bears5150 #16 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 19:42

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thanks for the info. great post

osito2dancer #17 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 20:32

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View PostVanagandr, on Jul 19 2013 - 19:22, said:

Anyone who believed in hacking in WoT in the first place doesn't have the mental faculty to recognize that hacking is practically impossible, even when someone explains in a measured and patient way why that is.
Keyword highlighted. It is not impossible, it's just very hard to do. No system is 100% impervious to "hacks" or "data manipulation", but depending on the data structure that supports the server, you could modify certain stats from your account, crew and tank hangar as they are stored/retrieved in the servers' database. I dont think that every single piece of data can be handled "on-the-fly" and control 10k accounts concurrently, so they might rely on a "Cache server" that retrieves, stores and feeds the server side implementation with the data of every tanker. So, while the server checks your stats, they do have to get the "originals" from somewhere, and going towards the storage might be a wise (or used move) by "hackers".

You wont get a monster tank (per the "Sherman" example from Lert), but you can inject crew stats and play with a 100% *4skill full crew in your T10 bought with free "injected" XP. If they do it or not, depends on WG's security measures and IDS implementations.

O2D

Vanagandr #18 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 20:41

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View Postosito2dancer, on Jul 19 2013 - 20:32, said:

Keyword highlighted. It is not impossible, it's just very hard to do. No system is 100% impervious to "hacks" or "data manipulation", but depending on the data structure that supports the server, you could modify certain stats from your account, crew and tank hangar as they are stored/retrieved in the servers' database. I dont think that every single piece of data can be handled "on-the-fly" and control 10k accounts concurrently, so they might rely on a "Cache server" that retrieves, stores and feeds the server side implementation with the data of every tanker. So, while the server checks your stats, they do have to get the "originals" from somewhere, and going towards the storage might be a wise (or used move) by "hackers".
You wont get a monster tank (per the "Sherman" example from Lert), but you can inject crew stats and play with a 100% *4skill full crew in your T10 bought with free "injected" XP. If they do it or not, depends on WG's security measures and IDS implementations.
O2D
Is the point of this post to repeat exactly what I said? If so you've succeeded, although you've contributed nothing to the conversation.

lightball20 #19 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 20:52

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I want to get intuition on one of my tanks just so I can laugh when it kicks in and people scream hacks because I fire a second shot far before I should have been able to reload the shot.

Windows_Are_Tasty #20 Posted Jul 19 2013 - 21:19

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View Postlightball20, on Jul 19 2013 - 20:52, said:

I want to get intuition on one of my tanks just so I can laugh when it kicks in and people scream hacks because I fire a second shot far before I should have been able to reload the shot.
thats not how intuition works  :sceptic:




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