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New dev blog: Team Security - Banning Bad Guys and also Bad Guys

First post First post
Author
Shepard Book
Underground Stargate
#221 - 2012-03-02 11:31:01 UTC
What is the time frame these bans were done? Is this a running tally since you took this job? What are those dates? I believe it would be better representation of the impact of what your doing by seeing these stats monthly instead of over a longer period of time.
CCP Sreegs
CCP Retirement Home
#222 - 2012-03-02 11:37:23 UTC
Lady Godwynn wrote:
Hey Sreegs

As the focus of this thread has mainly been on PVE bots, I would just like to mention that
us traders have noticed a significant drop in botting activity in market hubs these past days.
If this is what EVE is like with less bots, then I shudder to think about having to play with all of them again
after having seen what it's like not to.

The effect of PVE/Mining bots is perhaps not as instant as they aren't up close and personal and affect
the macro level of the game more with increasing mineral prices / inflation. PVE bots have an effect
on the economy of EVE but they are not in your belts/missions/anoms interacting directly with other players.
In the marketplace you have to deal more directly with them as you see the same account update more
orders than is humanly possible.

Finally, I got a comment on this observation from another player in an MD thread that said that the void
created by the bots would just be filled by human players .01 isking me all day long. if so, then that's
pure win for CCP as more people, perhaps turned away from Jita trading by bots, would try their hands
at one more aspect of the game that they didn't use. Nothing would please me more than to play market
games with fallable humans rather than scripts.


Yours
Lady Godwynn


Thanks for these posts. We've seen a lot of feedback directly related to market botting and how the trading quality of life has been increased tremendously since we did this. Because of how tremendous the feedback was regarding market bots specifically I asked Stillman to take a peek at what the scale was specifically with that bot type and the result may very well be telling when it comes to discussing perspective and impact and why we have a hard time reporting numbers related to these things.

Of all the accounts tagged exactly 10 were market bots. That's preliminary and there may have been some other detections we're missing, not really scientific, but a quick once over of the data shows that the impact that you've been seeing on the market has been caused by 10 accounts, which is pretty astounding.

I don't have any conclusions drawn from that yet as I only just got the information but I found it interesting enough to share with you guys since it seems to be something you've netted as having had an immediate positive impact and the scale of the activity from a number of people involved perspective was so low.

"Sreegs has juuust edged out Soundwave as my favourite dev." - Meita Way 2012

BashNako
Invisible Presence
#223 - 2012-03-02 11:40:38 UTC
Botter tears, best tears! Bear
Jackson Firn
Doomheim
#224 - 2012-03-02 11:44:08 UTC
Good information, i agree with the points about not just banning the ability to transfer characters but also to freeze all assets such that they cannot be traded or exchanged in game by any method. I also feel that you should have that DPA discussion and conclude that naming and shaming is yet another way to curtail the botters. I believe the WOT do something similar with Inappropriate names and corp names. Blink

Nice to see you guys on the case of the botters, if it helps i have this romantic view of CCP Sreegs doing a whole CSI, House, Sherlock Holmes thing, I a m sure you will get your Dr No CCP Sreegs, and always remember..

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth...


Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#225 - 2012-03-02 11:55:55 UTC
Since the other peeps got a reply, could I pretty please get an answer to my previous post about loans and 3rd party collateral? It's not like I am the only one in game handling large amounts of third party items and ISK and we don't have any way to know about their legitimacy.

CCP Sreegs
CCP Retirement Home
#226 - 2012-03-02 12:53:20 UTC
Vaerah Vahrokha wrote:
Since the other peeps got a reply, could I pretty please get an answer to my previous post about loans and 3rd party collateral? It's not like I am the only one in game handling large amounts of third party items and ISK and we don't have any way to know about their legitimacy.



I'm not quite sure what you're asking for here. It seems to me that you're involved in business ventures which carry with them some risk. In those ventures you're clearly dealing with people you can't trust and if I'm tracking this correctly you're asking me to ensure you that if bad people do things we won't reverse the transactions and I simply won't ever make a blanket statement like that based on potential future scenarios. Everything is dealt with on a case by case basis and every business venture carries risk. CCP does not subsidize that risk for you and it's to you to determine that the isk you're gaining is being gained legally. If you're engaging in markets such as loans which are beyond the intent of our systems by design then that risk is yours.

You could make an argument that CCP should design some form of guaranteed loan system but that wouldn't be my department. Every time you make a transaction outside of the scope of our controlled systems such as the market or contract system you are choosing to accept that risk.

"Sreegs has juuust edged out Soundwave as my favourite dev." - Meita Way 2012

Lady Godwynn
The Scope
Gallente Federation
#227 - 2012-03-02 12:54:20 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:
Hey Sreegs

Thanks for these posts. We've seen a lot of feedback directly related to market botting and how the trading quality of life has been increased tremendously since we did this. Because of how tremendous the feedback was regarding market bots specifically I asked Stillman to take a peek at what the scale was specifically with that bot type and the result may very well be telling when it comes to discussing perspective and impact and why we have a hard time reporting numbers related to these things.

Of all the accounts tagged exactly 10 were market bots. That's preliminary and there may have been some other detections we're missing, not really scientific, but a quick once over of the data shows that the impact that you've been seeing on the market has been caused by 10 accounts, which is pretty astounding.

I don't have any conclusions drawn from that yet as I only just got the information but I found it interesting enough to share with you guys since it seems to be something you've netted as having had an immediate positive impact and the scale of the activity from a number of people involved perspective was so low.


Wow, that is some good information right there. Shows you how little everyone knew about both the scale and the
effect of these bots. We love information! :-)

Just want to stress again my hopes that they won't be returning in 14 days and that your numbers stay true.

Yours
Lady Godwynn
Miliolida
Hedion University
Amarr Empire
#228 - 2012-03-02 13:10:24 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:


you're insinuating that I'm such a brilliant puppetmaster that this is all part of my master plan to gain whatever,

Not whatever... THE WORLD!
I always knew it!!!!!!!

The truth is out there!!!!!

I bring proof!

http://i.imgur.com/nF7qH.jpg
Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#229 - 2012-03-02 13:23:47 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:


I'm not quite sure what you're asking for here. It seems to me that you're involved in business ventures which carry with them some risk. In those ventures you're clearly dealing with people you can't trust and if I'm tracking this correctly you're asking me to ensure you that if bad people do things we won't reverse the transactions and I simply won't ever make a blanket statement like that based on potential future scenarios. Everything is dealt with on a case by case basis and every business venture carries risk. CCP does not subsidize that risk for you and it's to you to determine that the isk you're gaining is being gained legally. If you're engaging in markets such as loans which are beyond the intent of our systems by design then that risk is yours.

You could make an argument that CCP should design some form of guaranteed loan system but that wouldn't be my department. Every time you make a transaction outside of the scope of our controlled systems such as the market or contract system you are choosing to accept that risk.


Thank you for your reply.
I did not mean about the risk of losing ISK. I meant about the risk of being banned myself just because someone cheated / RMT in the "chain" that ends with me holding collateral.

Also, I read that in other MMOs they flag players handling large amounts of ISK and I think the 100B I would get, could make me blacklisted somewhere.
Angus Minkiahead
Minmatar Bread Corporation
#230 - 2012-03-02 13:24:28 UTC  |  Edited by: Angus Minkiahead
CCP Sreegs wrote:

Thanks for being blunt but I've already explained that if "in order to gain the playerbase trust" I have to divulge our methods then you're simply not going to trust me. That's assuming that you personally speak for "the playerbase".

I will say that, as I've said in the past, I could only make a completely idiotic guess at how many bots there are. If I knew that they'd all be gone. I have been reminded about why I hate giving people numbers, as you are quite accurate in stating that you don't have the perspective to use them properly. The last time we did this I gave out none and everyone was all "JUST GIVE US SOME NUMBERS WE DONT NEED PERSPECTIVE WE WANT NUMBERS WE LOVE SPREADSHEETS".

We're just going to have to agree that this is as happy a medium as you're going to get for the time being and I'll apologize if that's not satisfactory to you. :)


The point I expressed was not a picture of my feelings, but of what I felt was the mood of part of the community. I bet you already knew it, but I think you don't distinguish between the "haters/naysayers" and those that are sincerely worried and would like to have some real information.

About numbers, every real world organization that fights any kind of crime usually has an estimate of how big the phenomenon is, even if they can't find the exact number for obvious reasons.
I understand that there are many reasons for you not to tell anybody about the estimations you have, but at least there should be a criterion to evaluate your work on a corporate level, at least as a way to decide how many resources must be devoted to security issues.

The contradiction I see is that you don't need to write devblogs and make fanfest presentations to do your security job (since you don't need to collect feedback on stuff you can't tell us about). So for what reasons do you write these apart from telling the playerbase "we are working hard and we are succeeding" for PR reasons?
But the hilarious part is that you can't state how you are effective and as I already said we can't understand from ourselves (since you are not helping us in this).

Good luck anyway, we'll never know how effective you are.
Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#231 - 2012-03-02 13:37:11 UTC
Angus Minkiahead wrote:

About numbers, every real world organization that fights any kind of crime usually has an estimate of how big the phenomenon is, even if they can't find the exact number for obvious reasons.
I understand that there are many reasons for you not to tell anybody about the estimations you have, but at least there should be a criterion to evaluate your work on a corporate level, at least as a way to decide how many resources must be devoted to security issues.


Real world organizations put people in jail.

Here, they might find the super-nuker algorythm to find and kill all the bots of a certain maker. Of course if they publish they found 2773 bots and that "brand" bot makers know they sold 2800 bots, they will be warned it's THEIR bot in particular to have been hosed for good. And thus they will go change it and make CCP's work harder.
CCP Sreegs
CCP Retirement Home
#232 - 2012-03-02 13:38:08 UTC
Angus Minkiahead wrote:
CCP Sreegs wrote:

Thanks for being blunt but I've already explained that if "in order to gain the playerbase trust" I have to divulge our methods then you're simply not going to trust me. That's assuming that you personally speak for "the playerbase".

I will say that, as I've said in the past, I could only make a completely idiotic guess at how many bots there are. If I knew that they'd all be gone. I have been reminded about why I hate giving people numbers, as you are quite accurate in stating that you don't have the perspective to use them properly. The last time we did this I gave out none and everyone was all "JUST GIVE US SOME NUMBERS WE DONT NEED PERSPECTIVE WE WANT NUMBERS WE LOVE SPREADSHEETS".

We're just going to have to agree that this is as happy a medium as you're going to get for the time being and I'll apologize if that's not satisfactory to you. :)


The point I expressed was not a picture of my feelings, but of what I felt was the mood of part of the community. I bet you already knew it, but I think you don't distinguish between the "haters/naysayers" and those that are sincerely worried and would like to have some real information.

About numbers, every real world organization that fights any kind of crime usually has an estimate of how big the phenomenon is, even if they can't find the exact number for obvious reasons.
I understand that there are many reasons for you not to tell anybody about the estimations you have, but at least there should be a criterion to evaluate your work on a corporate level, at least as a way to decide how many resources must be devoted to security issues.

The contradiction I see is that you don't need to write devblogs and make fanfest presentations to do your security job (since you don't need to collect feedback on stuff you can't tell us about). So for what reasons do you write these apart from telling the playerbase "we are working hard and we are succeeding" for PR reasons?
But the hilarious part is that you can't state how you are effective and as I already said we can't understand from ourselves (since you are not helping us in this).

Good luck anyway, we'll never know how effective you are.


There's a member of the community a few posts above you who seems to feel otherwise as an example. Thanks for the well wishes however and enjoy yourself!

"Sreegs has juuust edged out Soundwave as my favourite dev." - Meita Way 2012

The Snowman
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#233 - 2012-03-02 13:48:39 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:
I'm not quite sure what you're asking for here.


It seemed pretty clear to me.

We already know that accounts with large amounts of ISK are carefully monitored for RMT activity. No need to deny or confirm, its logical and obvious.

But some players legitimately posses large quantity of ISK and large quantity of ISK legitimately 'pass through' their account. Often this is how such players gain incredibly large amounts of ISK, because they have whats known as a very high "Money velocity"

Since CCP provides no function of facility for players to check, for certain, that the money they are handling is legal in the first place then in almost all cases illegal money can be passed through several innocent players.

Its not like we can put the currency under a scanner and check it for fraud, its not like you provide a telephone number for us to call you and ask "hey is this ISK Legit?"

Logically, it would be unfair to simply ban an account that happens to have either handled or is handling illegitimately obtained currency.
Vaerah Vahrokha
Vahrokh Consulting
#234 - 2012-03-02 14:00:15 UTC  |  Edited by: Vaerah Vahrokha
That's also my concern. To end up in a Dante's hell RMT circle because of missing game mechanisms to defend good faith big turnover players.

Edit: I just got an idea!


Like we are / were meant to warn CCP in advance about reinforcing a node, couldn't we also get a way to warn CCP in advance we are about to get a large amount of money / items so they can "mark them" / screen them?
CCP Sreegs
CCP Retirement Home
#235 - 2012-03-02 14:01:41 UTC
The Snowman wrote:
CCP Sreegs wrote:
I'm not quite sure what you're asking for here.


It seemed pretty clear to me.

We already know that accounts with large amounts of ISK are carefully monitored for RMT activity. No need to deny or confirm, its logical and obvious.

But some players legitimately posses large quantity of ISK and large quantity of ISK legitimately 'pass through' their account. Often this is how such players gain incredibly large amounts of ISK, because they have whats known as a very high "Money velocity"

Since CCP provides no function of facility for players to check, for certain, that the money they are handling is legal in the first place then in almost all cases illegal money can be passed through several innocent players.

Its not like we can put the currency under a scanner and check it for fraud, its not like you provide a telephone number for us to call you and ask "hey is this ISK Legit?"

Logically, it would be unfair to simply ban an account that happens to have either handled or is handling illegitimately obtained currency.


You are correct that it is logical to assume that in a scenario where there are high volumes of illicit isk changing hands some of this isk could be funneled through legitimate means. If there exists a scenario where you're involved in one of these transactions and you're somehow impacted then you'd have to discuss it with us at that time. As I said I'm not going to make blanket statements based on potential future scenarios and everything will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

I can't really think of an example that fits what's being described as a potential problem today. When we take action we will do our best to ensure that innocents aren't impacted but I won't make promises and I don't see some magical tool that's going to give you the knowledge of whether the isk you're using is dirty or not ever existing.

EVE is a social game. Much like in the real world you make decisions about who you will do business with and there's an entire community of people out there who will give you their opinions about those people. Sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong and you get had, but what seems to be being asked for here is really not something I can ever see occurring as things stand today.

"Sreegs has juuust edged out Soundwave as my favourite dev." - Meita Way 2012

Jarnis McPieksu
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#236 - 2012-03-02 14:14:14 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:

Of all the accounts tagged exactly 10 were market bots. That's preliminary and there may have been some other detections we're missing, not really scientific, but a quick once over of the data shows that the impact that you've been seeing on the market has been caused by 10 accounts, which is pretty astounding.

I don't have any conclusions drawn from that yet as I only just got the information but I found it interesting enough to share with you guys since it seems to be something you've netted as having had an immediate positive impact and the scale of the activity from a number of people involved perspective was so low.


10 market bot bans but how many other botters quickly taking theirs offline in the hope of not getting whacked...

Also 10 accounts can do a lot if they keep playing the market game 23/7 on maxed out market order capabilities and obviously concentrating on high volume items - stuff where larger number of active traders see the effect of automated trading constantly undercutting you.
CCP Sreegs
CCP Retirement Home
#237 - 2012-03-02 14:36:58 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Sreegs
Jarnis McPieksu wrote:
CCP Sreegs wrote:

Of all the accounts tagged exactly 10 were market bots. That's preliminary and there may have been some other detections we're missing, not really scientific, but a quick once over of the data shows that the impact that you've been seeing on the market has been caused by 10 accounts, which is pretty astounding.

I don't have any conclusions drawn from that yet as I only just got the information but I found it interesting enough to share with you guys since it seems to be something you've netted as having had an immediate positive impact and the scale of the activity from a number of people involved perspective was so low.


10 market bot bans but how many other botters quickly taking theirs offline in the hope of not getting whacked...

Also 10 accounts can do a lot if they keep playing the market game 23/7 on maxed out market order capabilities and obviously concentrating on high volume items - stuff where larger number of active traders see the effect of automated trading constantly undercutting you.


This is also a prime example of me not being able to say "There are x number of market botters in EVE and we caught x" but what I can do is say "We banned 10 and players are reporting a noticeable impact on the market". The same can be said for other figures. For instance, as I've said, when we action on botters overall CPU per user usage on the cluster drops.

There's indicators of things being effective even when you don't know the entire scope of the problem. You make educated guesses and hammer things you know to be bad and measure the results. I don't think the same measurement would work for instance with ratting bots because everyone who cloaks when you jump into a system ever is a bot, so player feelings aren't necessarily the greatest indicator there. What we can do though is show a sharp decline in things like mission payouts and bounties as a total picture of the payout pie in relation to average amounts of time spent playing, etc. and that's kind of the direction we need to head.

I concur with some of the sentiments expressed that overall players have a particular attitude and we do have to come up with ways to show that there's some effective work being done. That's actually part of the challenge and it's not always the easiest because it's often based on feelings or guessing the intuitions of others.

"Sreegs has juuust edged out Soundwave as my favourite dev." - Meita Way 2012

Vincent Athena
Photosynth
Just let it happen
#238 - 2012-03-02 14:55:54 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:
Malcom Dax wrote:
-----------

Releasing some sort of monthly statistics on the number of bans might be a good way to keep the playerbase informed as to the fact that this is ongoing.


That's something we've discussed but we always end up back at the point where there's no context for the numbers. If we don't know the scale completely then the numbers really don't have much meaning. That said something is better than nothing so once we've had a few days to let this percolate we'll sit down and see what we want to do long term.


There is a bit of context for the numbers. Many players look at the concurrent users value, and that gives a scale to ban numbers. For example, currently we have an average of 31000 concurrent users, so if 1500 bot got banned and we assume they were running 50% of the day, then 2.4% of the "players" logged in at any given time were bots that just got caught.

Further context is obtained with time, as the ban data builds up. We compare the ban numbers to their history, look for trends. For example a declining rate of banning coupled with anecdotal reports of bots everywhere indicates someone at CCP needs to wake up. But a declining rate coupled with few seeing bots indicates the botters have decided to take their business elsewhere.

Finally, blogs and threads like this get buried with time. A player who joins in a month may never see it. What deters such a player from trying botting? At the moment just the EULA. Better would be some continuous, persistent reports of bot bannings. If we can deter players from botting, even once, the problem (and your problem!) is reduced. In addition if we deter players from trying botting then they do not buy botting software. As their income drops, that will deter bot software sellers from continuing to offer their product.

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David Forge
GameOn Inc.
#239 - 2012-03-02 15:17:13 UTC
Might there be a way to crossreference the ten banned market bot accounts with their past market activity to determine for certain that they were indeed responsible of such a noticeable effect on the markets or if we are coincidentally experiencing a time of less vicious competition? It seems hard to swallow that ten bots were doing so much and this way we could know for sure one way or the other. If they were responsible their owners must be sitting on a massive pile of ISK and assets.
Angus Minkiahead
Minmatar Bread Corporation
#240 - 2012-03-02 15:20:36 UTC
CCP Sreegs wrote:


I concur with some of the sentiments expressed that overall players have a particular attitude and we do have to come up with ways to show that there's some effective work being done. That's actually part of the challenge and it's not always the easiest because it's often based on feelings or guessing the intuitions of others.


Re-posting just to say that I had some confirmation I was looking for, that is, some really hard core botters I know were banned. This tends to make my own perception of the game better and keeps morale high, but it's a rather irrational thing.