DiamondCS and EvenBalance in cahoots with each other ?

Discussion in 'ProcessGuard' started by iamnotreal, Apr 4, 2006.

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  1. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Rumor has it that DiamondCS was instrumental in development of the kernel mode driver now used by PunkBuster, and that there may even be a "backdoor" or "whitelist" of sorts in ProcessGuard to prevent cheaters from using it to hide their activities from PB. I'd like to get some honest answers from DCS staff on these questions:

    1. Did DiamondCS help EvenBalance in any way to develop their kernel mode driver?

    2. Does ProcessGuard have a so-called whitelist or backdoor which prevents cheaters from using it to thwart PunkBuster?

    Simply put, what is your stance on this issue? Do you develop your software regardless of whatever problems other software developers have with it, or do you feel obligated to accomodate their needs? The developers of Universal Shield have gone so far as to post in gamer forums with tips on how to use their product to bypass PB, and have even offered discounts to forum members. While I find such behavior to be rather tasteless, I do admire their refusal to compromise the development of their software to accomodate the weaknesses of another.

    So, without thumbing your noses at EB, will you continue to allow PG to be used as intended, that being to hide one process from another, regardless of the ramifications? In other words:

    3. Can ProcessGuard still be used to bypass PunkBuster?

    Note that I am not a gamer and therefore not a cheater, although I don't believe that there's anything inherently wrong with cheating in a video game. I've been tempted to buy PG and a game which uses PB to see for myself how this is done, but I'm not interested enough in gaming to bother. I do find this conflict fascinating, however, for the precedent which it will set. Forgive me for being so bold but in my opinion the integrity of your entire company hinges on the way you handle this issue.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    It would probably make more sense for DCS to make a PB "blessed" version of PG that had a deliberate and visible omission for the PB processes. If indeed the two companies were co-operating that much already it would have been a pretty simple route to follow

    DCS have been around for a while and I am sure that they would be very aware of the implications of putting in hidden backdoors, not to mention the fact that it would be very easy to detect such a thing by comparing the old PG 3.15 behaviour with any newer versions
     
  3. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    By this I assume you mean "see if you could block PB in previous versions but not anymore"?

    I agree that would be the obvious first step, although it's possible PB might have developed ways to hide from PG on their own. Another possibility is that of a payoff and the signing on a Non-Disclosure Agreement, in which case any answer from DCS would be meaningless. I'm not implying this has happened, just that it's possible. One can surmise based on their impressive list of clientele that EB has fairly deep pockets.

    In any case, I don't have the means to do such a comparison. Perhaps a forum member with experience on this topic can enlighten us all. An official statement from DCS would be best though.
     
  4. FirePost

    FirePost Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    Too funny.
     
  5. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    That is exactly what I was meaning, and the test doesn't require "extra" technical skills for someone that has already been doing this (for whatever reasons)

    It will be interesting to see if there is an "official" response, especially given that you have given no references to substantiate your speculations
     
  6. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    I didn't mean to imply that all gamers cheat, although it does sound that way when I read it back.

    I haven't made any speculations. My questions arise from a private conversation with an online acquaintance who suggested I remain skeptical about PG because of things he has heard. I value his opinion so I asked what he could tell me about PG, as I've been considering purchasing it. I was told the story of DCS's runin with EB, and came here to ask for clarification.

    I'm sure you can appreciate why I would be wary of buying a security product if it's developers are making backroom deals with anyone, whether it would affect me directly or not. First a rather benign agreement with a relatively small niche company, then who? Microsoft? Government agencies?

    Anyway it's a simple question requiring a simple answer. I see no reason to avoid the question unless the rumor were true. If it were false, I would expect to see a DCS official leap forward to deny it.
     
  7. FirePost

    FirePost Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    Perhaps you should read the thread? The reason it is here is because the Punk Buster does not want to let you use Process Guard, so posting about a rumour of collusion here is amusing.

    EDIT: This comment has little relevance now that the thread is split from the "Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard" sticky.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2006
  8. Disciple

    Disciple Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    (bold emphasis mine, italic emphasis OP)
    OK let's get this straight, you were told this by someone because of "things he has heard." :eek: o_O
    Just how reliable is/are the online acquaintance's sources? Ever play a child's game called gossip? Where the starter whispers a phrase into some ones ear, they in turn whisper it in to the next and so-on until it gets to the last person. They have to reveal the phrase, which is usually nothing like what it started as.

    What was termed speculations is more like accusations. Which is based on what someone told someone.
     
  9. gottadoit

    gottadoit Security Expert

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    Disciple,
    I was just being charitable to someone that doesn't use games and yet cares about PB

    I was also hoping (without basis it seems) that Wayne might actually spend the 30 seconds it would take to make a comment one way or the other, it would have stopped this idle speculation/gossip

    iamnotreal,
    If you don't like DCS for some reason there are at least a few other choices in this application space that are similar/equivalent, there is no need to use ProcessGuard if you don't want to "trust" DCS
     
  10. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    Another inaccuracy to address is that PG does not "hide" processes - it can prevent a program from obtaining further details on a process but it does not stop it from seeing it in the first place.

    If you want to hide a process completely, then you need to consider a rootkit. ;)
     
  11. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    I don't think some of you are comprehending me. It's not about PB, it's about the precedent that would be set by any "dealings" with PB.

    As for why I posted here, who else should I ask? I heard something pretty outrageous about software I was interested in. My very first thought was "OK then, I'll go ask them personally". To me that was the most logical thing to do.

    Try to turn down the defensive posture a few notches, I'm just seeking clarification from the only people authorized to give it (none of you qualify AFAIK).
     
  12. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    Wayne has made statements here and here (from page 1 of this thread) which seem to provide a clear picture of DiamondCS' position on this. If you have any reasonable indicators that they no longer apply (i.e. something more than a vague statement from an unnamed source of unknown expertise), then it may become appropriate to seek confirmation from DiamondCS.

    Until this happens, I'd rather see them spend their time fixing outstanding issues with PG. ;)
     
  13. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Re: Running PunkBuster with ProcessGuard

    I've read those statements, and any others I could find. None of them answers my question because AFAIK it's never been asked. I'm asking if, in light of those statements and others, EB and DCS have worked together in the manner described earlier.

    Again, if you're not a DCS employee, there's really no need to respond here. Them taking 15 seconds to answer a few questions will not divert anything from your own concerns with PG.

    On a personal note, I'm sure you think I'm here to spread FUD, but I assure you this is a real concern whether you agree or not. This is the official forum of DiamondCS, it exists for people to discuss DCS products and ask questions. When a non-official tries to tell me my concerns are not "appropriate", you immediately get labelled Forum Xenophobe.

    Crikey!
     
  14. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    To all,

    Let's keep all personal comments out of this thread. Failure to do so will result in closure of this thread without further comment or warning.

    As for the topic thread, I did find some third party comments here (see March 1 2005 and Feb 27, 2005 listed items) mentioning "working together". However, that does seem at variance with comments of a much more recent vintage, see here (July 2005) and here (Dec. 2005) for example, which I would interpret as indicating a somewhat more adversarial posture.

    Blue
     
  15. lordpake

    lordpake Registered Member

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    If so interested about this issue, and not interested about opinions of non-DCS ppl, why not contact DCS directly? Their website does offer method for this. That way you would avoid getting answers from ppl who are not "authorized".
     
  16. sukarof

    sukarof Registered Member

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    You took the words out of my mouth lordpake :)

    Anyway, if one puts some thoughts into the matter, it is hard to see any collaboration betwen PG and EB since EB has blacklisted PG.
    Now, that was not very bright since there are other programs that do the same thing as PG. If EB was serious (rather than acting in panic imo) to stop cheaters they would have blacklisted the other programs too or done other, more adequate measures, to stop cheaters.
    I know that one of the authors of these other softwares said that he would do countermeasures against blacklisting his program if EB decided to blacklist his software. It is quite easy even today to bypass EB blacklisting of any software in this category anyway. Even PG can coexist with punkbuster if you tweak it a bit fyi. And if it actually has happened that PG has been used to cheat, then it is quite obvious that the cheaters do the tweaking too, so the only loosers in this sad story are the gamers that use PG and don´t cheat - not the cheaters.

    I am a gamer and I do think that cheaters have something very important missing in their brains.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2006
  17. Wayne - DiamondCS

    Wayne - DiamondCS Security Expert

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    No offence, but this is quite an absurd rumor if ever I've heard one - where did you read/hear that, and who started it? (And why?)

    Let's get straight to the point - if I had anything to do with EvenBalance I would tell you right here, right now - why wouldn't I? The simple fact is we have absolutely nothing to do with EvenBalance or PunkBuster. We develop security software, they develop game-related software, and we don't have time for their problems. Feel free to contact EvenBalance about this.

    I don't see how we could be "instrumental in the development of the driver used by PunkBuster" when we have nothing to do with them or their developers. And why would they need us when they're quite capable of writing their own drivers? Let's remember that EvenBalance has blacklisted ProcessGuard rather than fixing the problem in their software that ProcessGuard highlights (other programs such as PrevX could also be used to prevent PunkBuster from working the same way ProcessGuard can - this isn't a ProcessGuard problem). And why would I waste my time fixing their problems when I've got enough work on my own To Do list? Nothing in this rumor makes any sense.

    For those reading this thread who aren't sure why ProcessGuard was blacklisted, the reason is because game crackers were using it to prevent PunkBuster from protecting its target by preventing access to the process using process-specific ProcessGuard settings. That is the problem - simply by denying access they were able to defeat PunkBuster. ProcessGuard itself is not the problem.

    The only "collaboration" we've ever had were a few emails last year where I tried to explain to them that blocking users from using security systems like ProcessGuard simply to play a game is unacceptable. They wanted us to modify ProcessGuard to make it easier for them to detect - I refused. Again, ProcessGuard has simply highlighted a problem in their software, and rather than develop a solution they've taken the easier option of simply blacklisting ProcessGuard so that users can't use ProcessGuard while they're playing Punkbuster-protected games - one or the other. Please understand that there is nothing I can do to prevent programs like PunkBuster from blacklisting ProcessGuard.

    However, if you do want to use ProcessGuard and play Punkbuster-protected games at the same time then search this forum here at Wilders, as several clever folks have come up with various tricks to hide ProcessGuard from being detected by PunkBuster.

    I hope that clarifies things and we can kick this silly rumor to the curb? I've got work to do. If you're still not convinced then simply read back through all my previous posts here - my position is stated quite clearly.

    Best regards,
    Wayne
     
  18. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    After reading this whole thread, I must say that games that use anti-cheating software are in no way good. Take for example the case that happened to gunbound, was it PG's fault? No. These game vendors hire 3rd-party companies to supply their games with software designed to block wannabe cheaters in the game and at the same time cause conflicts with some other program.

    I seriously wonder if these game developers are people who really know how computers work. Some computer users may have little knowledge of software like this, I asked some people at random and they said that they feel that the anti-cheating software will protect their in-game accounts from being hacked.

    Do they REALLY know what all these anti-cheating software programs do? The game developers claim it to be security software, but I think otherwise.
    Let's put this question across to the experts: Do you think that anti-cheat programs which are used in some games can be classified as security software?

    These anti-cheat programs, I am referring to all anti-cheat programs out there, they DO NOT protect your computer system in any way, they are designed to protect the games that they were built for, not your OS or any other part of your system.

    And it is obvious that game development companies who use anti-cheat software to protect their games put the security of their games before the security of their users. To quote an earlier thread:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=47827&highlight=softnyx
     
  19. iamnotreal

    iamnotreal Registered Member

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    Thank you Wayne for finally replying. After no response to this thread or my email I figured you were just hoping the question would go away.

    I fully accept your denial of the rumor. No previous material addressed this specific question, so I had to ask it. All I wanted was a direct response to a direct question, and you just gave it.

    I'll most likely be talking to your sales depertment soon.

    Regards
     
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