Hacker Finds A Way To Destroy Other SimCities, Hasn't Used His Power For Evil...

I have to commend this hacker. With great power comes great responsibility and, despite the fact he's found a way to disable observer mode in random regions, therefore allowing him to destroy other people's cities at will, he hasn't used his power for evil. All he's done so far is destroy his friend's cities, in a way that didn't synch, meaning that no lasting damage was done.

So, this was done by editing the SimCity packages, tweaking some code, and getting the game to think that, when I visited a random person's city in a random region, I WASN'T in observer mode, and force enabling of edit mode so that I had full access to the city as if it was my own. There is still no city syncing at this most basic level, so you can wreak havoc on a friend's city, quit out, log back in, and it's back the way it was - great fun! I am worried about people that go deeper into the code and start spoofing the owner ID's of cities and start doing this maliciously though. Hopefully there are server side safeties on this...

Very interesting, but we can only hope that another person doesn't find a way to make this an easily accessible hack for the multiple evil human beings out there. No-one wants their perfectly crafted city reduced to rubble and dust by some brutal troll!


    And here I was thinking you pulled this article because it didn't mean a damned thing. But here it is again, and it still doesn't mean a damn thing.

      What do you mean by 'it doesn't mean a damn thing'?

      Kotaku is not the only place who has posted an article about this exploit, even if the person who was able to accomplish this has chosen not to do any harm with it. Now that proof has been released that it is plausible to utilise SimCity's always-on capacity against itself, it is only a matter of time before not so noble hackers are able to permanently destroy other people's cities at whim, and given the bullsh*t that EA has consistently spewed out trying to deny the fact that the always-on online requirement was not a banal DRM move, and being proven wrong at nearly every turn, I think EA has given the aforementioned hackers more than enough reason to turn SimCity into an absolute wasteland.

      When your City is permanently turned to ashes by some vengeful trolls, will this matter still not 'mean a damn thing'?

      Last edited 18/03/13 4:23 pm

        What? All he's done is enabled playing someone else's game locally, that's a massive difference to playing someone else's game on a separate account.

          Maybe so, but the progress these people are making in understanding the inner workings on this game is frightening. The article I read about this initially stated that while they had not synced the game to EA's servers, thus allowing someone to destroy another person's city without causing permanent damage, it did state that to do so would be relatively easy.

          People are naturally jerks, hell the entirety of the SimCity franchise is based on this, why else would they allow you to destroy a city with earthquakes, Giant monster attacks and meteor strikes. EA through their money grubbing tactics have unwittingly opened up a possibility for people to be able to act like jerks on a grander scale than anything this franchise has ever seen.

          Even if such a feat may not have been accomplished yet, does not mean that it is implausible, and given the amount of animosity EA has generated for itself and Maxis through this, I doubt very few people would pass up the opportunity to shove EA's always on infrastructure in their face, even if doing so came at the expense of the entire player base.

            Read joe's reply below. He understands what I mean and communicates it better than me.

              I have read Joe's comment, but as I stated above, even if what this exploit is capable of doing at the moment is just being able to destroy cities client side, it is a vulnerability, and as such there is, as with all vulnerabilities, a capacity to get much worse. Even if you want to disregard the prospect of 'going deeper' as stupidity, People have found ways to do much worse things in the past.

              While I'm willing to accept it is highly likely that EA will patch this up and it'll be the end of it, to blindly disregard anything as a non issue when it comes to video games like this is never a good idea.

                Pretty much any game can be edited client side, it isn't as much as an exploit as you would think. Hacking engine and dll injection have always allowed aimbots and other tools throughout every FPS for instance. Server side exploits are something that is a worry, client side means nothing.

    It sucks that you can't reset a city in sandbox mode because i had a nuclear power plant in a city which had a university but for some strange reason it still said i needed skilled workers and a reactor went into meltdown and irradiated a quarter of my city when it exploded.

    What a train wreck.. I almost feel sorry for EA -- that's until I remember that they're greedy-money-grabbing-lying-bastards, who are single-handily destroying the gaming industry with their dubious business practises.

    Also Mark, you forgot to add the little 'Disaster Watch' icon to this article.

    Wasn't there already some glitch that allowed placing parks in other people's cities? Not city destroying like this of course.. but still.. it's a buggy mess. They are getting the traffic stuff sorted out, a recent blog post of there's shows some decent pathfinding in action.. but these are simple, truly basic, things that should have been in from the get go.. bugs are bugs.. no one plans them.. but these things are fundamental the game's simulation...

    ...and as the days roll along, more and more and more exploits and hacks are coming to light. Not the type that take people days and weeks to find.. not the type that take professional cracking/hacking teams to find.. no.. just regular people with a bit of reverse engineering savvy taking a crack at things. Very sloppy stuff by Maxis in this release.

    SimCity destroys other SimCities just fine without this hack...
    "Unable to load city at this time. Please try again"
    I think I got up to four borked cities before I gave up.

    It's like watching the Titanic hit another iceberg on the way down...

    He says the hacker chooses not to sync the changes.. Seems MUCH more likely that he cannot.. Logically, you can modify your local runtime data in ANY way you want, and accomplish any goal.. But from an infrastructure point of view - they would definitely employ the same exact anti cheating mechanisms as MMO's..

    It would more than likely also be entirely related to the fact you can play offline for ~15-20 minutes.

    Taking one "hackers" word and a youtube video as "news" is pretty fucking flimsy, and to state it as though it's fact is even worse.

      Your quote also cites no sources - and actually appears to be quoting.. yourselves.. talking about the story..

      I'm going to have to agree with a few comments above, including yours michael, that this is largely meaningless. Client-side alteration is something you can do with memory manipulation and injection in any game, and the reason it's not widely used is because it's pointless. Data is verified server-side, so even if altered data were sent from the client, the server would reject it. This is basic anti-cheat design that has been around for decades. This gives no window to what happens on the server, and if the server's data is unaltered then the whole thing is an exercise in pointlessness.

    Unless you have stuided data security, you probably couldn't understand how useless an exploit like this actually is.

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