Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm anti-hacking defences may be a bit overzealous

Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard has a system that checks out what kind of software you’re packing, and will ban you from playing Heroes of the Storm if it detects anything nefarious. If you’ve got some kind of hacking software running, you can bet you’ll be booted. But it seems like the system is a bit over eager, and is accidentally discovering false positives if you have certain software installed. 

As noted by users on the Battle.net forums, Xonar audio drivers were responsible for a number of users being banner. This has since been resolved by Blizzard, but there are still players who remain banned. 

Through the use of a program called ‘HookShark’, which detects ‘hooks’ that Heroes of the Storm would consider ban-worthy, Nvidia video driver files are being flagged, suggesting that Blizzard's anti-cheat system brings out false-positive results for some Nvidia users. People with the files nvd3d9wrap.dll and nvdxgiwrap.dll that are part of the GeForce drivers have found themselves subject to bans. 

The forums, as well as Reddit, contain stories of players who have struggled to gain response from Blizzard through the traditional ticket support system. Blizzard are apparently working through the anti-hack system results though, hoping to overturn any false results. A post from a Blizzard representative reads: “Our Hacks team has been tirelessly reviewing the actions taken to ensure we're actioning legitimate users while also defending our game from exploits and cheats. We've recently overturned some account actions that affected legitimate users. We're still committed to providing the best possible play experiences, and apologize for any users that were actioned in error!”

Have you been banned from Heroes of the Storm despite not cheating? 

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Mountain_Man avatar1mirg avatarFlappers avatarDog Pants avatarAntonius avatar
Mountain_Man Avatar
729
2 Years ago

What I find most troubling about this is that Blizzard is apparently snooping through your system and logging what software you have installed. Isn't that a rather extreme breach of privacy?

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Flappers Avatar
301
2 Years ago

I'm not defending anyone here... but how are cheat programs supposed to do their job?

Granted, this one is way too OTT, and detecting anything that is hooking into the game... but you'll find that a decent anti cheat will intrude your system to look for known files.

The problem with the internet is:

"We want proper cheat detection! We deserve it! Cheaters are ruining this game!"

Then:

"Why is this anti-cheat scanning my PC! It's too intrusive! I want it to stop!"

People can't have it both ways...

Besides... are you running a Windows OS? You'll find Microsoft does the same thing. As well as Valve... as well as a ton of other companies.

In fact, I'm willing to bet there are numerous companies that know what you have installed on your system, because you agreed to their terms of use

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Mountain_Man Avatar
729
2 Years ago

This is one of the reasons I use Linux and open source software from trusted sources.

1
Flappers Avatar
301
2 Years ago

So what you are saying is, you don't use Steam or a Windows Operating system, or Battle.net or any other distribution platform?

How do you play games? Do you only buy the DRM free games from GOG? So you haven't experienced any games that are exclusive to Steam or any other platform?

I find it incredibly hard to believe that you will limit your gaming experience because you are worried about the tiny amounts of data being sent.

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1mirg Avatar
15
2 Years ago

it most certainly is but diehard blizzard fans will defend this, which is pretty much where most of blizz's income comes from. So, they won't be caring nor changing anything unless most of those diehard fans start rioting over it, which isn't gonna be happening.

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Dog Pants Avatar
1388
2 Years ago

I'm no expert on software design, nor am I a Blizz fan, but wouldn't hooking be detectable by checking processes running at the time? It wouldn't necessarily need to scan for installed software.

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In fact wouldn't that be pretty ineffective anyway? If it was recorded in your registry then it would be a pretty poor hack, and if they scanned your entire hard drive it would take quite some time.

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Privacy breach is a very black and white term too. Scanning your hard drive, holding the results, and using them to sell you a new graphics card would be privacy abuse. Scanning your current processes, sending them back to a server to check, then dumping them without recording would be a stretch to call a breach.

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VAC scans your RAM and processes, compares them to a blacklist, and since it can be replicated manually by Valve's staff is presumably stored for an amount of time. I don't see this as being any different, unless there's something else to it not mentioned in this article.

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As I say, I'm no fan of Blizzard particularly, but lets keep things in perspective.

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Antonius Avatar
80
2 Years ago

Dog Pants is entirely correct.

Warden scans your running processes and RAM, same as VAC.

If you're worried about privacy breaches, then you should have read the EULA better, as it lays out exactly what Blizz can run on your system and collect from you.

And before you call me a fan boy, when it comes to EU privacy laws, Blizz treads very carefully on the side of extreme caution.

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