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Spambot census

Discussion in 'Diablo 2 Community Forum' started by Rigel Kent, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Rigel Kent

    Rigel Kent IncGamers Member

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    Spambot census

    I found myself bored last night and suddenly interested in the demographics of battle.net spam, so to speak. Who's doing the spamming, how many are doing it, and how are they doing it? So I collected my own little mini-census:

    Method: Close monitoring of default channels and trading channels on USEast server. Randomly joining normal, nightmare, and hell games on USEast LoD softcore ladder. Data collected over a three-hour period overnight/early morning St. Patrick's Day, well after peak hours mid-week. Fewer actual players made it a bit easier to spot the bots.

    Theory: The spambots recorded in public channels likely represent "most" of such bots left on overnight, since I can access all the spammed channels easily. Spambots recorded going game-to-game I estimate represent only "some" of such bots, since I did not access nonladder, hardcore, or classic games, only LoD softcore ladder.

    Data: 8 spambots counted wandering public channels: 3 with out-loud messages, 3 sending whispers, and 2 apparently muted. 10 spambots counted joining games: 4 via normal login and 6 bypassing normal login (i.e., bots that battle.net claims aren't logged in even though they're right there). Not as much data as I'd have liked, but it's enough to make a reasonable estimate.

    Conclusion: Based on my counts, I estimate about 10 public channel spambots and about 30 game-to-game spambots operating on USEast at any given time. It's unsurprising that game-to-game spambots are more popular: they're not nearly as vulnerable to detection and muting by battle.net admins, whereas 2 out of 8 of the channel spambots I found seemed to have already been muted! So, about 40 spambots on USEast. Extrapolating to the other gateways-- USWest likely has a similar number, Europe and Asia fewer-- I estimate the whole Diablo II / battle.net spambot population at about 100, maybe less, worldwide. Not as bad as I thought coming into this project, but still too many.

    So who's the bad guy?

    I can now identify with some confidence the most prolific spammer on battle.net: _vip.com. (Duh, like we didn't know that already!) _vip.com was directly named by only a modest 25% of the spambots I recorded, but the site is also indirectly behind additional spam going on.

    To capitalize on _vip.com's "affiliate program", another spammer has recently begun aggressively spamming his site, _team.tk, which now invisibly redirects to _vip.com. I recorded two channel bots spamming for _team.tk, raising _vip.com's spambot share to 30%. That's roughly twice as many as the next runner-up (_matrix.com)!

    As a final note, a substantial number of players are infected by trojans which cause them to spam, unwittingly, for the _team.tk redirect site! I didn't include any of those trojan victims in my findings-- they're not really bots, per se, even though they are spamming. Therefore it's likely that _vip.com is actually responsible for significantly more than 30% of battle.net spam, due to the number of players infected by _team.tk's trojan.
     
  2. PhsycoTimmay

    PhsycoTimmay IncGamers Member

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    Wow, that was some good work, and hard study done there.

    Thanks for all the info!

    But I still have one thing to say...I hate spam bots :grrr:
     
  3. ReturnofVape

    ReturnofVape IncGamers Member

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    Definatly good work.

    Anyone who buys items from a site that spams should have there account deleted :/. I'm still waiting for Blizzard to start disabling the spammers cd-keys but I have a feeling that will be a few months.

    Its pretty sad but while on Hardcore east I pretty much had every spam bot memorized and muted then right after they joined the game :p.
     
  4. festers50

    festers50 IncGamers Member

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    I haven't had any spambots join my password games but I get whispered by d2legit (pretty ironic name for a dupe place) if i enter the chat channels.

    I wonder if there is a place to register for "Do Not Spam" like the "Do Not Call" for telemarketers? :scratch:
     
  5. syphon45

    syphon45 IncGamers Member

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    you can use /dnd and not get any whispers which might help. I'm not sure if there is a way to only recieve whispers from people on your freinds list, as that would probably be the better option if it exists.
     
  6. Rex

    Rex Banned

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    Nice study of the mating habits of Spambots :thumbsup:

    You mention a trojan, do you have some more info on that?
     
  7. Kip

    Kip IncGamers Member

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    Yes I believe there is a way to only receive whispers from people on your friends list and no I don't know how to do it. All I know is that my mule account that used to be my main account receives messages only from people on my friends list. It has been this way for about five months now and while somewhat cool, it makes it a nightmare to contact the people that I have to trade with....they can hear me but unless I add them to my friends list (which is already quite full) I cannot hear their whispers. Oh well. BTW, if there is anyone who knows how this works please fill me in. I have looked at the battle.net site and everything there is gibberish to me.

    Kip
     
  8. KranK

    KranK IncGamers Member

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    Someone answered this question in another thread. The answer was

    /options ignorewhispers (alias: /o igw)
    This command will ignore whispers from anyone who isn't in your friends list

    http://www.battle.net/info/friends.shtml
     
  9. Rigel Kent

    Rigel Kent IncGamers Member

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    To say nothing of these sites' prices! I could literally buy a modern desktop for the amount of money they want for commonly traded (and duped) equipment. I could literally get painful dental work for that amount of money-- I'm uninsured and overdue for a dentist appointment!-- and I'll sooner pay for the drill than I'll pay for the spam.

    To _vip.com's credit, they do have the closest thing to an "opt-out" I've seen. They've taken extraordinary care to keep all their spambots level 1, and they advise on their site to set a level 2 and up limit on games to stop their bots from entering.

    Sure, it doesn't excuse the sheer amount of spam, but it's something I wish other spammers would do. And at least it guarantees placing a level 2 limit will reduce the spam you get!

    As for the _team.tk trojan: I checked out the trojan about a month ago, though I've since deleted it from my hard drive. If I remember correctly, it's 180 kb in size and standalone-- I've never seen it included with an actual working hack. That is, the site trying to get me to download had stuff like maphack.exe, tradehack.exe, cdloader.exe all different names for the exact same file, rather than infected versions of working hacks. I also suspect that it has an incoming filter which may block messages including words such as "spam" and "trojan" to prevent the infected user from getting clued in, though I can't be sure... people infected by this trojan are reluctant to provide much info to me!
     
  10. Omikron8

    Omikron8 IncGamers Member

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    Want to see an extreme case of spambots practically spamming everyone else out of existence? Go to USWest ladder trading channel. There are usually 6-8 spambots there (you can tell as they are all level 1 naked barbarians with similar name prefixes) all from the "MTC" website spamming pindlebot and maphack websites. It has become so bad there that you can post your trade offer and it will be just crushed by the next 2 pages of spams just from these 6-8 bots.
     
  11. Reggitsan

    Reggitsan Banned

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    What I don't understand is.

    Isn't it bad business practice to annoy and piss off your target audience? I want to know how many people are actually buying from these sites.

    I went to _items.com [ie, _matrix.com] and they were selling Enigma's for 30 dollars. On ebay, they're 12-15.

    Correct me if I am wrong - but they can't possibly be selling a damn thing.
     
  12. conan

    conan IncGamers Member

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    You are wrong, obviously if no one was paying those idiotic prices they would wither up and die, they havent, too bad though.
     
  13. Reggitsan

    Reggitsan Banned

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    Wrong. It's costing them nothing to advertise. 1 sale per month is enough to keep going.
     
  14. Herald of Doom

    Herald of Doom IncGamers Member

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    Cool stuff :)

    But about Europe being less poluted with spambots, I'd have to disagree.Once I made a Baalrun game, but then I had to go and help my mother, but I forgot to save&exit so I was still standing in my game. In the 10 minutes I was gone, THREE spambots entered, and one of them entered twice. Now I don't know if this was bad luck or anything, but almost every newly created Baalrun on normal gets a visit from a spambot once (or more I guess, but mostly just once ^_^). It's getting really, really annoying :grrr:
     
  15. zodiac66

    zodiac66 IncGamers Member

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    I wish Bliz would do something about them. I was playing yesterday and some bot came into my hell lvl game, spammed over and over filling up the upper left hand corner of the screen. It is very difficult to play with all that spam going on.
     
  16. CoWa-Avatar

    CoWa-Avatar IncGamers Member

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    guys, just use the level restriction option on games you create. if it is a baal run for example. you know what levels should be doing normal baal runs. so if your level 30 put the restrictions say 7 levels so 23 to 37 level characters can join you. With doing this you can keep the same party for a good number of runs since you will all level roughly around the same time.
     
  17. conan

    conan IncGamers Member

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    You! are wrong buckwheat, just take a look at a few sites, many are OUT OF STOCK on those 30 dollar enigmas, and their prices are very high compared to pre 1.10 days. They are making plenty of money even with their stupid advertising practices. How much money you want to bet they would quit if they just sold one enigma a month?? dont be deluded
     
  18. Greengoo

    Greengoo IncGamers Member

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    If you do not wish to receive the spams anymore you can put in a lvl restriction and the bots will not annoying you in your game.
    Works for me!
     
  19. PikachuMolester2003

    PikachuMolester2003 IncGamers Member

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    Isn't it bad business practice to annoy and piss off your target audience? I want to know how many people are actually buying from these sites.

    I went to _items.com [ie, _matrix.com] and they were selling Enigma's for 30 dollars. On ebay, they're 12-15.

    The advertising works, it got you to go there.
    So they will continue to do it till somebody comes alongs and falls for it.
     
  20. Reggitsan

    Reggitsan Banned

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    You would be better off to stop posting. I've yet to see an intelligent thing come from your mouth.

    What if - WHAT IF - they didn't have any items to begin with? They'd be out of stock that way too, until they found one. Wow, what a little practical thinking would do for you.

    Wrong. I was looking for ChippyDips skill tree thing, and I found it. Why he hosts it on a dupe site, I'll never know. I couldn't help but notice the giant advert on the front page, "ENIGMA for 30 dollars! Free rune if you spend over 50!"

    Yeah, thanks for the El guys, I'll keep my money.
     

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