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Using MAC Address to Uniquely Identify Computers 561

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-there's-a-useless-idea dept.
An anonymous reader writes "One of Australia's gaming networks, GamesArena has recently imposed a third party program required to access their gaming servers. One of it's features is that it records your NIC's MAC address to identify your computer, and subsequently in future, ban you if you cheat/break the rules etc. The response from players is mixed. It is not open source software, nor is it optional to install. "Install it or find another server to play on". Question remains, is it going too far?" Definitely not- unfortunately it won't work since MACs are changable.
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Using MAC Address to Uniquely Identify Computers

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  • by Brian Boitano (514508) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:24AM (#4503132) Journal
    not banned anymore :D
    • by shird (566377) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:26AM (#4503142) Homepage Journal
      Why bother? The MAC address is usually stored in flash eprom. Besides, whats to stop you from writing your own rogue '3rd party' program which is reverese engineered from the original, only reports a random MAC address.

      Implementing security/restrictions client side doesnt work. period.
      • by quigonn (80360) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:35AM (#4503214) Homepage
        And usually, the network card's MAC address is stored in RAM, to make it easily accessible by the different drivers that need it (e.g. Ethernet). This makes it changeable with e.g. Linux's ifconfig:

        ifconfig eth0 down
        ifconfig eth0 hw ether DE:AD:BE:EF:BA:BE
        ifconfig eth0 up
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Sorry if someone has already posted this. Here's a simple way to change a flash MAC address:

        ifconfig eth0 hwaddr ether $MAC_ADDRESS

        This might [ntfaq.com] also help of you are stuck with a Windows system

      • by shird (566377) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:41AM (#4503258) Homepage Journal
        Actually, now that I think about it more -- These cable companies (Telstra , optus) force you to use their cable modems, which they have tight control over. If everyone using these servers are using it through these modems, which have their own MAC, they could ban based on this MAC address because it would be sent to them directly via ethernet. - this wouldnt require a client side program however, so probably isn't what theyre doing.
        • I think you guys are missing the point. The MAC addresses aren't being used as MAC addresses. They're being used as ID Numbers. This dodgy little bit of software grabs the number, and uses it, out of context, as a component of the authentication process. This isn't a network issue, it's an authentication issue.

          So long as you don't change things that break your local segment (ie: duplicate MACs), then you're fine - go for your life.

      • by Unkle (586324) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:57AM (#4503819)
        Why bother? The MAC address is usually stored in flash eprom. Besides, whats to stop you from writing your own rogue '3rd party' program which is reverese engineered from the original, only reports a random MAC address. Implementing security/restrictions client side doesnt work. period.

        Not everybody knows how/has the ability to change the MAC address of their NIC. Also, three things stop people from writing that rogue program-Time, Skill (in both programming and reverse engineering), and Desire. Not being a huge online gamer I cannot say with 100% confidence, but I doubt that the majority of gamers using this system want to cheat.

        As for the statement that client side security doesn't work, well that isn't completely true. No, this system is not foolproof as I understand it, but that does not mean that there is absolutely no way this could work 90% of the time, which for a gaming network is not that bad. Sure, for the slashdot crowd, this might be easy to crack, but joe-average on the street probably doesn't have a clue what a MAC address is (or they think they don't have one because they use Windows).

        • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:29AM (#4504091)
          Sure it will work 90% of the time. For the 90% that dont cheat, that is.

          The average Cheater Joe off the street will definitely know exactly how to change it. Which makes the whole exercise pointless.

          Heck, client side security with no passwords and disks shared to the world works great 90% of the time. Unfortunately it isnt the 90% that is the problem. It's the rest. And for the rest, repeat after me, client-side security will never ever ever work. If you dont have physical control over a computer you cannot trust anything it tells you.
    • by Crewd (199804) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:27AM (#4503144)
      Or just change it in your registry settings (windows only of course), similar options exist for *nix...

      http://www.ntfaq.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleI D= 23256
    • And give the old one to your mom... who is not likely to be pissed about being banned from playing Counter-Strike cos someone thinks she is a 1337 h4x0r.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:27AM (#4503150)
    1) Get your mac adress banned
    2) Sell Network Card
    3) Some one buys new card
    4) They are banned
    There will be plenty of second hand NICS for sale becuase of this. its a 1 2 3 profit plan.
  • Ban your Enemies (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:28AM (#4503153)
    It's all too easy. Figure out their IP, get their MAC, put it on your router, get banned, change your MAC back, enjoy your new unopposed domination.
    • Re:Ban your Enemies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Entrope (68843) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:42AM (#4503268) Homepage
      That is a fine plan -- assuming you can find their MAC address. I certainly hope the server-side software is not lame enough to advertise it to all users. Many do not even show clients' IP addresses. "Vanilla" TCP/IP does not have any way to give away the lower-level addresses past the first IP router; this includes the MAC address of some guy with whom you have a TCP session.
      • Re:Ban your Enemies (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dr. Evil (3501) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:06AM (#4503438)

        Microsoft machines will tell you their MAC when you do a NBTSTAT on them. At least one ISP I know of blocks NetBIOS traffic because of uncontrolled file sharing, but I don't know how common that is.

        Personal firewall software should capture the request or block it too, so there are a few ways to thwart the method.

        Of course you still need the IP address, but that's a little easier to find. You could even do a little social engineering to get it... "Hey check out my website dedicated to your demise!"

        As for changing your MAC, what if the third party program doesn't read the MAC from the network stack, but pulls it from the driver? i.e. using the same calls the Network stack uses to get it in the first place?

        • Re:Ban your Enemies (Score:3, Informative)

          by toast0 (63707)
          From the placement of the registry key to change the mac in windows... i imagine the driver reports the new mac address to all callers.
        • Re:Ban your Enemies (Score:5, Informative)

          by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @11:09AM (#4504942) Homepage
          Of course you still need the IP address, but that's a little easier to find. You could even do a little social engineering to get it...

          No need for social engineering. Anytime you play a game with someone you create an internet connection, that means your machine has to know their IP address. On Win98 (and probably all MS OS's) just open a dos window and type NETSTAT to see the text version of their address (userID.AOL.COM), or NETSTAT -N to see the dotted IP address (123.45.67.89).

          Lots of people hesitate to tell you their IP address, thinking it is some big secret. It's rather amusing to get into a game with them and say "Your IP address is 123.45.67.89, your ISP is RoadRunner, and you are in Southern California, right near the coast".

          How do I do the last part, naming their location? Just type their IP address into visualroute [visualware.com]. (Requires Java) One end of the line is fixed at the visualroute server, the line shows the physical location of every server along the route to the target. You can click the map to zoom in.

          It is interesting to note that it is not uncommon for servers locations to be completely different from the country code in the address. For example www.indymedia.org.il (Isreal country code) is actually hosed in Chiago USA. Often it is simply more convient getting content hosted on major US server farms, but sometimes it could be relevant for legal reasons, or it could even be intentionally missleading.

          P.S.
          I used www.indymedia.org.il as an example because it's the only example I remember off hand. I recall that one becase indymedia is anti-isreal, and I suspect the Isreal country code may be intentionally missleading. The indymedia "news" sites are certainly independant, but in my oppinion extremely biased and unreliable. It is a good source for certain stories the "major media" may have neglected, but double check any information you get there. The writing often drops to the level of pure propaganda.

          -
          • Anytime you play a game with someone you create an internet connection, that means your machine has to know their IP address.


            Untrue. Some games, like Warcraft3, use a grid topology (each player connects to each other), so you do know their IP addresses. But many other popular games like HalfLife/Counterstrike are star topologies, where each player only connects to the central server. In those cases netstat can't show you their IP addresses.


            (Sometimes the developers of star topology games create an ingame option to reveal other player's IPs, but they usually drop off the last one or two octets.)


            In the old days of internet Quake, it wasn't unheard of for an annoying player to suffer a PingOfDeath or plain old overload DOS.

  • Ban the IP. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lennywood1 (571226) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:28AM (#4503156) Homepage
    Too many violations from that IP range? Ban the /24 it came from. Send back a "Too many cheaters from your ISP" error. MACs are too easily changed, but then again, so are IP's. But considering most gamers have DSL with a static IP, an IP ban is a much better option.
  • by pumkinut (462268) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:29AM (#4503161)
    As if people whining on CounterStrike weren't bad enough, now we have to listing to 14 year olds complain about having to buy a new NIC every time they cheat online.
  • by MagicFab (7234) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:29AM (#4503162) Homepage
    ...until the MAC address generators have gone through all the "MAC-space" of possible addresses...

    Wireless APs like Linksys' already come with a web admin that lets you specify *any* MAC address, apparently to please some cable/adsl providers that measure traffic/authenticate (partly) based on this.

    Why not provide a public key server and ask people to submit they public OpenPGP key, signe by P. Zimmermann himself ? Get your identity trusted by Z. or go play somewhere else... After all, this seems to imply they want "real" players!
  • It's even simpler.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxon@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:29AM (#4503167) Homepage
    There's really no need to change your MAC address.

    They're violating the simple rule about never trusting the client. All you have to do is modify this third-party program to have it spit out a random MAC address each time and *poof* the system is worthless. You don't even have to change your MAC address. And since MAC addresses are only used at the Ethernet level, not at the [TCP|UDP]/IP level, it doesn't matter that the server thinks your MAC address is different than it is.
  • by bildstorm (129924) <peter,buchy&shh,fi> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:29AM (#4503168) Homepage Journal

    They've been trying this crap for years with cable modems. Until I got a router, I used to use two different machines, each with the same MAC address installed. Worked out great. It's easy to change, too. It's also let me on at friends' offices, where access is MAC controlled. We log on a machine, write down the address, shut it down, boot mine up, change the address, and log on.

    Who does it stop? Honest people.

    Who won't it stop? The same people hacking their games in the first place.


    • We log on a machine, write down the address, shut it down, boot mine up, change the address, and log on.

      Who does it stop? Honest people.


      I guess you're not honest then :)
  • ifconfig (Score:4, Informative)

    by Crewd (199804) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:30AM (#4503172)
    ifconfig eth0 hw ether aa:dd:rr:ee:ss
  • Open source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:30AM (#4503178) Homepage
    Of course it's not open source; the last thing they want is users making changes to this program. Then it would be of no use to them.
  • Which MAC-address will the server see if I'm behind a firewall ? The one from my firewall, or the pc which I'm woking behind ?
    • Given the description, it will send the one of the PC running this 3rd party program -- which means the PC you're playing/working from.

      Basically, they know how easy it is to change or mask IP addresses, and how (particularly for dialup users), banning an IP can punish a lot more people than just the original offender.

      So, in the mind of some idiot who failed his CSC networking class before he went to business school, he figured "Hey, MAC addresses are unique! Let's grab that, and ban based on that!"

      Just like back then, he didn't do his homework. As others have pointed out:
      1) These days, altering your MAC address at run-time is easy, either on your machine or at a router (which is a common component of broadband connections these days)
      2) Hackers will have little trouble cracking this "closed source" program, so they can make it emit any or a random MAC address, rather than the machine's actual MAC address. This will not affect connectivity, since its use in this context has nothing to do with the actual connection to the server.
      3) If all else fails, network cards are dirt cheap; cheaters/griefers that can't manage #1 or #2 will just buy another network card.

      Basically, this "solution" will only keep out the stupidest and poorest grief players. Smart cheaters won't be affected; smart NON-cheaters will probably hack the thing just to show them what a bad idea it was.

      I've yet to see an access control system that can't be broken or circumvented; this one doesn't even come close.

      Xentax
  • by Gambit Thirty-Two (4665) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:30AM (#4503184)
    I keep a fresh supply of token ring cards handy to swap out if the need arrises.

    And im not joking:
    http://gambit32.org/albums/other/aag.jpg
  • by isa-kuruption (317695) <`ten.noitpuruk' `ta' `noitpuruk'> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:31AM (#4503188) Homepage
    "Install it or find another server to play on". Question remains, is it going too far?"

    No, it's not going too far. The game server admins can run the server however they choose fit. If you don't like the rules, don't use the server!

    Definitely not- unfortunately it won't work since MACs are changable.

    However, the majority of people don't know how to reset their MAC addresses. Also, as I believe to be true, some broadband providers specifically use MAC addresses to verify access. For instance, my Comcast cable modem does everything by MAC, so if I change my NIC in my machine, I need to power off/on the cable modem in order to get back through to the Internet. Although this is sort of a minor issue, some other ISPs may be more strict about MAC changes.

    Overall, the admins figure they will cut out 99% of the hacking attempts as people would just go elsewhere, or once they did cheat, just wouldn't know how to change their MAC.

  • Modems (Score:5, Funny)

    by DJPenguin (17736) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:31AM (#4503191)
    What happens if you are logged in via dial-up? Will it ban the MAC address of the box at the ISP that you're dialed in to? :)
    • Re:Modems (Score:3, Informative)

      by XaXXon (202882)
      No, of course not. This is just a client side program that tries to grab your MAC address and send it along with handshaking data when the connection is established. The server can't actually see you MAC address in the data you send.

      When you're dialed up it won't be able to find a MAC address. They could try and use something else unique, like your intel number on p3's and higher (sorry, forgot the actual name), or they could hash together a bunch of information from your bios and stuff.

      There's no way it could get any information off the server you're dialed into. Hell, they may not even be running ethernet (MAC addresses are how ethernet addresses packets. It's not used by TCP/IP or UDP/IP)
    • by rcs1000 (462363) <rcs1000.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:27AM (#4503598)
      Simple: if you are winning at Counter Strike despite a ping of 1,000+, then you must be cheating.

      I mean, duh...
  • NAT routers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MartinB (51897) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:32AM (#4503193) Homepage
    NAT routers such as the Linksys range allow you to specify the MAC address from their web-based setup - ideal if your broadband provider insists on you registering (and limiting the number of) MAC addresses of all the machines going to connect.

    I wonder what they'll do when they discover several simultaneous connections to the server (and sessions) from the same MAC?
  • by Bookwyrm (3535) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:34AM (#4503206)
    Does not the current IPv6 address allocation standard specify using your MAC address as the suffix portion of the IPv6 address? This is merely a taste of things to come if/when IPv6 becomes widely deployed, when your very IPv6 address can uniquely identify the hardware you are on (unless you use IPv6 NAT, of course.)

    And yes, presently, you can probably change the MAC address of your system. However, once software vendors and DRM technologies and other things start locking themselves to your computer hardware, I suspect changing the MAC address would cause problems. The only thing this game company has to do is when the game is installed is to lock the licence to the present MAC address so it will not run with a changed IP address without a new licence.
    • by iainf (158986)
      Does not the current IPv6 address allocation standard specify using your MAC address as the suffix portion of the IPv6 address?

      Not quite:
      It should be noted that the 128-bit address space is divided into three logical parts, with the usage of each component managed differently. The rightmost 64 bits, the Interface Identifier [RFC2373], will
      often be a globally-unique IEEE identifier (e.g., mac address). Although an "inefficient" way to use the Interface Identifier field from the perspective of maximizing the number of addressable nodes, the numbering scheme was explicitly chosen to simplify Stateless Address Autoconfiguration [RFC2462].

      (my emphasis) From ripe-246 - http://www.ripe.net/ripe/docs/ipv6policy.html

  • by ph0rman (460358) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:34AM (#4503211) Homepage
    here's how to change it for nt/2000
    windows2000faq [windows2000faq.com]
    -advanced tab in adapter properties

    linux
    eepro100 list [geocrawler.com]
    -ifconfig eth0 hwaddr ether 00:11:22:33:44:55

    this is exactly why microsoft's registration process uses a lot more than just the mac address.
  • hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by awing0 (545366) <adam@bad t e c h.org> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:35AM (#4503215) Homepage Journal
    Nope, MAC addresses won't work. You'd have to have a unique number that's hard coded into something expensive. The Pentium III's CPUID feature would work. However, as much as I hate cheaters in my favorite games, I don't like an ID number open to abuse.

    Quake III has recently enabled anti-cheat software called Punk Buster. It does a ban via your Quake III CD-Key, so you can't play on any Punk Buster enabled servers if you get banned. But with the game under $20 at BestBuy, I'm not sure if it will stop many of the problems.
  • by KeithH (15061) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:36AM (#4503226)
    When I was involved with the initial deployment of DSL service in Canada, our customer ran into an interesting problem: many of the low-cost NICs that they shipped with the DSL modem had the same MAC.

    Under most circumstances, this is seldom an issue since the NICs aren't likely to be deployed on the same network segment. However, when the MAC is used for other tracking services (in this case, a layer-2 NAT), you have a problem.

    And of course, as others have said, most NICs permit the factory MAC to be overridden.
    • Was this an NE2000 clone by any chance?

      Due to quirky differences between the NE1000 and NE2000 cards, it was possible for the card to present an incorrect MAC address which would be identical across all cards if either the driver wasn't written correctly or the specification badly cloned.

      I saw this problem myself many years ago on a Banyan network. Updated card drivers resolved this.
  • by e8johan (605347) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:40AM (#4503253) Homepage Journal
    "The response from players is mixed. It is not open source software, nor is it optional to install."

    Neither is windows for playing many of todays top-selling titles. I want an outcry here but I don't see it. Is it because software not being open source does not matter to the average user or is it because people are too ignorant to care? It is funny to see an outcry when a company tries to stop actual cheating which spoils the game for all, instead of putting energy where it matters.
  • by mary_will_grow (466638) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:43AM (#4503272)
    >"...Question remains, is it going too far?" Definitely not-

    Thanks for answering that one for us. Without your moral framework we would be lost in the chaotic hell of self determination.
  • by limekiller4 (451497) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:45AM (#4503285) Homepage
    This is just as silly as gun control because it makes the assumption that you can pass "laws" that will stop people that, by their very definition, do not obey laws!

    Here, they're saying "we're going to introduce a software "lock" that will prevent you from cheating." Great. So the people who want to cheat in the game are going to (say it with me now) ...cheat the protection.

    Are the people who wrote this bit of client-side [*cough*] security really under the impression that MAC addresses are immutable? Perhaps they know damned well it isn't but was kinda hoping that nobody would tell their client? This has the earmark of an initiative by some dip in a suit who never bothered to consult a single knowledgable, technical person.

    Whatever. It might take two days before a patch/spoofer is readily available for the habitual cheaters. All it has to do is spit out a fake MAC address when queried.
  • Nothing new (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quantax (12175) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:47AM (#4503299) Homepage
    This has been going on for a while, though without MAC addresses, a much simpler system. Most multiplayer games thesedays come with a CD-Key thats authenticated by a central server whenever you play a game. The CDkey usually has a unique ID strapped to it that is publically accessible by admins or players. You ban the ID, they cannot connect to the game without changing their CDkey (which means either buying a new copy or finding another cdkey that works online, neither are 'easy'). If MAC addresses can be changed, then as soon as a couple of like-minded gamers find out about that, you can count on their being a guide on how to do it for gamers eventually. The best way handle this is on both a MAC, and CDkey-ID level. Ban their MAC, and ban their ID, that will stop all but the most determined/knowledgable.
    • Re:Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quantax (12175)
      Oh yea, I should mention that if you are going to ban a player, whether by IP, CDkey-ID, or MAC address, you are banning them. A ban is a ban; if your goal is to keep that player off the server, how is that 'going too far'? One does not 'kinda' ban someone, you either do or don't bother at all. Its the same concept as an IRC channel: there are multiple ways to ban someone, using different nick/user/host options. Each of these has different properties, but in the end they are all doing the same thing, which is stopping the banned person(s) from joining the channel. If you are going to do something, you might as well do it to completion.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @07:59AM (#4503393)
    It's solid code of honor amongst Clans not to cheat. Anybody as dedicated to playing online action games would render his pasttime pointless by cheating. And if anyone found out you've cheated your way into Ladder position you'd get an extremely hard time (on and offline).

    And when you're playing on a public server, cheaters are easyly identified by playing like crap and either scoring immediate kills once they actually *do* manage to hit or by simply not throwing the towel no matter how many times you flak them at point-blank. Both area mostly less than minor drags to a skilled player and have a somewhat funny aspect to it.

    I've seen entire matches in UT (1st) where cheaters we're just plain ignored because of the simply fact their skill level (not trained by playing under real conditions) rendered them something more like 'moving obstacles' rather than actuall participants.
    Anyhow, some one using more subtle cheats, such as see-through textures or so, can be anoying. Then on the other hand, if you're that good to know for shure that someone is using such a cheat, you'll be playing clan games most of the time anyway. And I haven't met a single Clan player cheating yet. At least none of mentionable Clans.

    BTW: I once had a cheater on my team in a pub UT CTF match. I switched sides and telefragged him 'til he gave up and disconnected. That was fun. :-)
  • by larva (82883) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:08AM (#4503455)
    Since anything that runs on a client can be compromized (there is _no_ way to make sure this doesnt happen) the only real option for games is to just send pre rendered graphical images to the client which in turn sends back the client keystrokes. this is ofcourse way too bandwidth and serverside intensive to work with current technology, imagine doing this for a MMORPG with 60k users online simultaniously :) .. and even if you use this method the cheaters can respond by writing pattern-reqognition systems which still will be able to autoaim and such (although it raises the bar considerably).

    it DOES remove the threat of wallhacks and clientside radars but a good game protocol shouldnt send information about things outside of the clients vision anyway.

    K
  • by bartman (9863) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:10AM (#4503475) Homepage Journal
    I wonder how many people will change theirs to same as mine...
  • Why MAC? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mnordstr (472213) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:10AM (#4503476) Homepage Journal
    If they want something static, why go with MAC? They could just make an MD5 of some system specific info. That can't be easily tampered with. I'm not suggesting this, just making a statement :-)
  • by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:12AM (#4503491)
    Yeah, this definitely won't work with my Sun IPX. (As if that's an issue...) Ever since I left it in the trunk of my car for an entire winter (a harsh one, at that - nary a night of temperatures above -10F did we see, and quite frequently it was much colder even than that), the NVRAM gets reset when the box is powered down. So now I get errors from the PROM at power-up, because my MAC address is ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff and my machine ID is also all 1's. So I have to write some Forth every time I boot up (the only bad part being that I have to do it at the console, and I don't have a serial console cable, so I have to lug out the behemoth 19" monitor that goes with it), in order to set my MAC address to something valid and to generate all the parity and checksums and whatnot.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @08:24AM (#4503570) Homepage
    For a bunch of reasons, but two to think about:

    1) Many windows drivers let you put in arbitrary MAC's. Ban me? No prob, I'll change it to something else.

    2) Many firewalls will let you do the same thing.

    3) Ethernet cards cost what...a dollar or two at a used computer swap meet? If it comes down to it just keep a stack of 10.

    It appears this is intended to catch people clever enough to cheat, but not clever enough to change their MAC address.

    Another example of poorly contructed solutions to a badly defined problem.

  • Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Bitman (95493) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:11AM (#4503918) Homepage
    Set up a few computers with bots hacked onto them and have the clients send out increments of MAC addresses, until all of them have been marked as cheaters.
    Once nobody can connect they wont be able to use the system anymore. Shouldnt take too long if a few people here help out.
  • by aphor (99965) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:12AM (#4503927) Journal
    This sounds like a good application for GPG. Join a league, get your key signed, get on the "good list." Cheat (get caught cheating), and your public key is placed on the signed "bad list." Servers would "belong" to leagues by checking the league listings to authenticate users.

    If you get on the bad list, you can make a new key, but you have to start from scratch paying dues or otherwise earning "member in good standing" status.

    Thanks again Phil!
  • by reallocate (142797) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:22AM (#4504013)
    What's the big deal? If a private network doesn't want to let you in, why should they? A unique MAC addess is just another way of establishing who you are.
  • by Tomster (5075) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:43AM (#4504212) Homepage Journal
    It seems people tend to confuse privacy with anonymity. Privacy means preventing others from getting information about you -- whether it's what kind of toothpaste you use or your SSN. Anonymity means preventing others from finding out who you are. The two are related, in that in practice they often go hand-in-hand. But they are distinct.

    -Thomas
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:46AM (#4504232)
    I'm using a PC.
  • by Tomster (5075) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @09:47AM (#4504238) Homepage Journal
    For many people, being anonymous online means "I can do whatever I want" because there are no significant consequences for their misbehavior. To these people, I say: life is much nicer when you are nice to other people. Try it, you might be surprised.

    -Thomas
  • by Jeppe Salvesen (101622) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @10:08AM (#4504417)
    Great. This is another way to get rid of those pesky, honest players and my enemies.

    I'll just assume their MAC address, misbehave like hell. Their MAC gets banned, and I get rid of the losers.

    Alone, I shall reign through spite and malice.
  • ifconfig man pages (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobKali (240342) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @10:17AM (#4504506) Homepage
    Since the ifconfig man pages contain instructions on how to change MAC addresses and
    Since changing the MAC address would allow a cheater to circumvent access controls
    Then are the ifconfig man pages now illegal in the US under the DMCA?
  • Not just for gaming (Score:5, Informative)

    by chazzf (188092) <cfulton.deepthought@org> on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @11:04AM (#4504905) Homepage Journal
    I work tech support at a small liberal arts college, and we require all students to register their machines within three weeks of getting on campus. We then lock their ports to their MAC addresses. If you need to move or change your card you can re-register, usually the change goes through in a day. We did it to make it easier to detect and limit email worms. If we see it coming from some specified port we close it off and the flag passes to the techs. So far it's worked pretty well, often we get people coming to us complaining that "their Internet doesn't work," usually it's because they got Klez and we shut their port off. Decent alarm system, really.
  • Better idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @11:17AM (#4504997)
    If there's someone who's clearly cheating, why not let the game participants (from BOTH sides) vote to kick him out?

    "FuckStar31337 is using a wireframe hack. Press K to cast your Kick Vote."

    Sure, I could get booted out of games arbitrarily by assholes, but I wouldn't want to play with said assholes, anyway. Not that I've even played a game since about 1999...

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @01:09PM (#4505897)
    You can ban CD keys. Basically the only way around that is to buy a new copy of the game, which I doubt many people are willing to do.

    Teh CD keys are also an effective anti-piracy measrure, and one that isn't bothersome to legit users. When you are using the game for local play, the CD key doesn't matter, it's never checked. When you play on the Internet, however, the CD key is authenticated.

    When you first go to play multiplayer games, you client talks to the master server and lets it know what it's key is, the server chekcs and authenticates this against its list. Then, when you connect to a server the server checks your key, and asks the master if this is a legit key and if that key has authenticated. If not, the server refuses the connection.

    Hence, you can ban a CD key, and be very certian that the person it belongs to has been completely banned. Things like key generators aren't effective because while they can know the algortihm used to make legit keys, the keyspace is huge and they have no way of knowing which are actually legit and which aren't.

    So it ends up working out pretty nice for both parties. Bioware gets some copyprotection that there is actually a reason for srever owners to want to use.
    • Many of them based on id software's engines, there are many games nowadays that use CD keys to prevent piracy. One of the first was Half Life, and unfortunately Half Life sold very well and used too simple a key... so it is relatively easy to 'generate' a valid Half Life key.

      However, Quake 3 and related games have a CD Key system as well, and their keys are much more cryptographically secure. They have a legal keyspace in the trillions, making it very difficult to generate valid keys.

      The system works. You can crack the game to make the key unnecessary, but you cannot crack all the Internet servers you could connect to. So a warez monkey can only play the game in single player or on a LAN, not on random Internet servers.
  • by Junky191 (549088) on Tuesday October 22, 2002 @01:19PM (#4505982)
    Q. How can I change my media access control (MAC) address under Windows NT 4.0?

    A. Each network adapter card has a MAC address, which machines on local subnets use to talk to each other. MAC addresses are usually burned into the adapters during the manufacturing process. To overwrite a network adapter card's default MAC address, perform the following steps:
    1. Start the registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe).
    2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Servic es\\Parameters.
    3. From the Edit menu, select New - String Value.
    4. Type a name of NetworkAddress, and press Enter.
    5. Double-click the new value, and enter the adapter's new MAC value.
    6. Click OK.
    7. Close the registry editor.
    8. Reboot the machine.

    This makes me very happy- One should be able to deliver their cutting remarks and wage psychiological warfare upon the weak with one liners like "Yeah thats what your mom did last night, cock jocky."

    That is the essence of multiplayer gaming, and any attempt to deprive us of that should be fought bitterly.

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