Simple anti-cheat monitoring

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The Purple Panzer
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Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by The Purple Panzer » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:36 am

When I'm an admin on a server, I'd like the server to tell me (say, via a one-line message) that some player has exceeded what should be possible: turning speed, acceleration, tank speed, and maybe something about unusual shot accuracy, if it could be computed.

I don't want all of the info I get when observing; indeed, I'm playing, and it wouldn't be fair to have all of that. And I don't want to read through constantly-updating parameters; rather, just a message like:
"Player Newbie1 exceeded maximum turning speed by 7%"

The server should of course only send these sorts of messages to admins, maybe no more than once every 10 seconds or so (a deluge of messages might be counterproductive). As an admin I'd need only a few such pieces of evidence to kick/ban.

I would think, given the data I see presented to observers, that the underlying data is already being computed (unless that observer data is computed in the client), so it would really be a matter of conveying it to admins.

A variation might be "close observation", sort of like "hunt", in which I tell the server I want it to track a player more closely and report any unusual dynamics - this is the sort of thing that might identify cheat clients.

But the simple message mechanism would help a great deal in server management.

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blast
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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by blast » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:46 pm

Why bother notifying the admins of such things? If the server knows that someone is cheating, why not just automatically kick/ban them?
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Spazzy McGee
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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by Spazzy McGee » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:05 pm

blast wrote:Why bother notifying the admins of such things? If the server knows that someone is cheating, why not just automatically kick/ban them?
Machines can't use discretion.
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The Purple Panzer
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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by The Purple Panzer » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:24 pm

Automatic kicking/banning might be good, but:
1. The server owner (or admins) should have something to say about how long a ban is, etc.;

2. Automatic machinery like that might just let someone more rapidly test a cheat client - a human in the loop might pick up patterns given the data, and issue a ban after substantial evidence is present. The cheater wouldn't get immediate feedback on whether his client is detectable;

3. I'm not sure the data is really clean enough to make a clear-cut decision. Lag, etc., may mask a cheat client, or alternatively toss an innocent into the wrong bin;

4. I like to be able to tell the person, and others, about the nature of the cheating; I'd rather be in a position of having made an evidence-based judgement than in one of having to go through logs to figure out what caused the automatic mechanism to kick in. This also lets me talk to other admins about patterns we've been seeing, again without having to datamine logs.

None of these objections are fatal to an automatic mechanism, but wouldn't it be simpler to just start with messages?

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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by Spazzy McGee » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:41 pm

The Purple Panzer wrote:None of these objections are fatal to an automatic mechanism, but wouldn't it be simpler to just start with messages?
Or if an automatic system was put in place, it would follow that it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to have the option to send an admin message rather than kick/ban built in.
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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by joevano » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:32 pm

I find that a plug-in does a fine job of banning people. We use one on FoxBurrow that does identify some cheats and also monitors TKing (among other things) and it has done a fine job of keeping that server towards the top of the list because it gets rid of the trouble whether an admin is around or not. This is unfortunately a closed source plug-in as some of the detection pieces could be exploited if it was distributed, but it does work and works well.
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Re: Simple anti-cheat monitoring

Post by Quantum Tank » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:12 am

Perhaps the plugin could be set that it kicks/bans automatically when there are no admins but sends the messages when there are admins? I suppose you would need some calibration to deal with admin loggers and afk admins though.

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