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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the move-along-nothing-to-see-here dept.

Lagg writes:

"We're in a climate where it's easy to accuse a company of spying on you by various means with a distinct possibility that you could be right, but sometimes a reality check is needed. A Reddit user recently posted a thread accusing Valve of writing code for VAC that iterates your DNS cache and sends the hashed entries to their server. The proof provided of this was a prettied disassembly (that was not easily reproducible due to how VAC loads symbols) that showed only that VAC was indeed iterating the DNS cache, which any knowledgeable programmer understands is not exactly an uncommon thing to do, as no socket code was to be seen. Today, Gabe Newell responded to these allegations by confirming that no they do not in fact snoop your cache entries.

There are probably a few things to learn from this, including not trusting a screenshot of code that looks complex without actually understanding what it's doing. A lack of any level-headed investigation is a bad idea and it's important to handle these situations before they snowball into a mob (as Redditors are bound to do)."

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State of the Site: 02/23/2014 108 comments
Well, we've survived our first week as a functional website, and have yet to go belly up because of it. The speed and growth of our community is staggering to say the least, and we are working hard to get this site fully operational. I'm pleased to announce that a development VM is now available for public consumption, and if you're interested in site development, one should join us in #dev on irc.soylentnews.org. Beyond that though, I've got a few points to address on and updated statistics to share ...
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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Khyber on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:06AM

    by Khyber (54) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:06AM (#1411) Journal

    People take ANY scrap of information and run with it on that site. It's shameful.

    --
    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Statecraftsman on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:11AM

      by Statecraftsman (1149) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:11AM (#1415)

      To be fair the moderation system there is more geared to speed than accuracy. Loving this place already!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mrbluze on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:19AM

      by mrbluze (49) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:19AM (#1418) Journal

      "There are probably a few things to learn from this, including not trusting a screenshot of code that looks complex without actually understanding what it's doing. A lack of any level-headed investigation is a bad idea and it's important to handle these situations before they snowball into a mob (as Redditors are bound to do)."

      It also shows how easy it is to smear an individual or company with no evidence. Doesn't matter if it's complete garbage, some of the stuff will stick anyway.

      --
      Do it yourself, 'cause no one else will do it yourself.
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by dry on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:44AM

        by dry (223) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:44AM (#1428) Journal

        This is also partially what has broken democracy. Politicians repeat lies about each other until they're believed.

      • (Score: 1) by ableal on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:16AM

        by ableal (1179) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:16AM (#1494)

        > Doesn't matter if it's complete garbage, some of the stuff will stick

        Reminded me of the French "Calomniez, calomniez, il en restera toujours quelque chose", which seems to go back to a medieval Latin saying noted by Francis Bacon: Audaciter calomniare semper aliquid haeret

        To be fair, this instance seems more a case of "a scalded cat fears cold water" ;-)

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Sir Garlon on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:27PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:27PM (#1584)

        It also shows how easy it is to smear an individual or company with no evidence. Doesn't matter if it's complete garbage, some of the stuff will stick anyway.

        That's called confirmation bias. You see it all over the place in comments here: "the government is evil." "Corporations are evil." If that's what you're predisposed to believe, that's what you want to hear.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 5, Informative) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:36PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:36PM (#1588)

        It also shows how easy it is to smear an individual or company with no evidence

        Or how easy it is to absolve them even if they don't deserve it. Breaking with tradition, I actually read his response, and of course, TFS is full of crap. What Newell confirmed was that VAC does check your cache entries, if a suspected cheat is found, to identify "cheat DRM servers."

        VAC checked for the presence of these cheats. If they were detected VAC then checked to see which cheat DRM server was being contacted. This second check was done by looking for a partial match to those (non-web) cheat DRM servers in the DNS cache.

        So the code does what it was said to do, which is hardly "no evidence." Sadly, it looks like the almost Apple-like fervor people have for a scummy DRM system isn't one of the relics we'll be leaving behind for Dice to deal with.

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:43PM

          by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:43PM (#1593)

          Aaand, quote tags don't work.

          NB, for anyone not reading in threaded mode: The first line of my previous post was quoted (or supposed to be) from the post it was responding to. The rest is me.

          --
          "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
          • (Score: 2, Informative) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:50PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:50PM (#1599)

            Correction: Paragraphs 2 and 4 are me, 1 is the post I was replying to, and 3 was a quote from Newell's response.

            I'm done posting until I get some magic brain juice in me.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 1) by Lagg on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:50PM

          by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:50PM (#1623) Homepage Journal
          Ouch, my pride. But seriously, hold on a minute. Where does your criteria for calling something snooping end? A program reads cache entries and sends the hash to a server if it's present in a set of hashes, to me, this is something that is common behavior in this sort of system. It doesn't exactly fit the original thread's implication that all your entries were being vacuumed up. For all the "actually reading the response" you were doing it would appear you didn't actually read the code. Are you seeing anything there that even opens a socket much less explicitly sends entries en masse? It would seem what we really didn't leave behind are the types that lash out against any attempt at objectiveness that might lead to a corporation being favored. But you know what? It happens.
          --
          http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
          • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:12PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:12PM (#1640)
            Considering that the code was a screenshot (seriously, WTF?) and my eyes aren't as young as they used to be, I'll cop to not having carefully read the code. But it's also irrelevant, since the very post you linked to confirmed that VAC was going through the DNS cache, which is what the original poster said (with the sole error of the qualifier "all"), and pretty much the exact opposite of what the summary suggested.

            Whether or not quibbling over definitions of "snooping" qualifies as "objective" is low priority right now.
            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:04PM (#1965)

          The summary is actually accurate. The poster used a double negative.

    • (Score: 1) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:11AM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:11AM (#1438)

      People take ANY scrap of information and run with it on that site. It's shameful.

      I wonder how much having such a crummy moderation system plays into it.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:23AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:23AM (#1441)

      They cannot help it that they are on an inferior site with inferior technologies and inferior user base, cut them some slack not all SysAdmin's know how to set up slash code.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by isostatic on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:08AM

      by isostatic (365) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:08AM (#1490) Journal

      (Disclaimer, I work in the "lame stream media")

      This is why I get so annoyed by people saying "we don't need the news, we've got twitter"

      Now don't get me wrong, news, especially 24 hour news, runs with rubbish too, but there is at least a little bit of fact checking behind it. The news machine does employ knowledgeable, dependable correspondents, who do tend to filter rumour. When I was in the office in Bangkok recently, I heard a lot of stuff coming in about the protests, which was later reported on twitter, but not reported by us. A couple of days later it was proven that the rumour was a load of rubbish.

      Breaking news: A greater than B!
      Then 12 hours later
      Breaking news: A not greater than B!

      • (Score: 1) by cormacus on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:51PM

        by cormacus (1403) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:51PM (#1850)

        I think the perception that the 24-hour news cycle doesn't in fact do any better fact checking than people microblogging on Twitter is one of the main drivers behind that statement ("I don't need the news, I have Twitter")

        • (Score: 1) by isostatic on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:05PM

          by isostatic (365) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:05PM (#2007) Journal

          Sure, there's a perception, but certainly in my organisation it's really not true, and from the limited first hand, and greater second hand, experience it's not true for a lot of the competition. Certainly not foreign news (where I work)

    • (Score: 0) by omoc on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:11PM

      by omoc (39) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:11PM (#1770)

      I will use this story to remove every news site that run this as legit from my daily reading. It's a good example to prove or disprove "quality" sites

      • (Score: 1) by Khyber on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:51PM

        by Khyber (54) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:51PM (#1999) Journal

        I must disagree with that. Reddit does have its strong points, in the areas where knowledgeable people reside. Sadly, those points between them and us overlap very heavily, so we either have to get their attention or lose that rank with how we run this site.

        But, in reality, I don't see in a statistical sense some estimated 60,000 others coming over to us. We might get 1,000 if we're lucky.

        --
        Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.
        • (Score: 1) by omoc on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:06AM

          by omoc (39) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @06:06AM (#2175)

          What are you talking about? I was talking about serious news sites, *not* about Reddit. Reddit cannot run anything as legit as content is user submitted. Your comment does not make any sense whatsoever.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by SpallsHurgenson on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:25AM

    by SpallsHurgenson (656) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:25AM (#1421)

    According to TFA, Valve does do some snooping. The Steam client / Valve Anti-Cheat system checks the DNS cache for certain DNS hits (for instance, the ones used by cheat-programmers to authenticate the licenses used in certain cheat programs). If VAC finds a match, it hashes the result and sends it to Valve, where the user is flagged for review. So they are peeking. However, Valve says they are not uploading the contents of the DNS cache in its entirety, so if you go to soylentnews.org or slashdot.org, they will never know because they aren't checking for the DNS entries on either of those sites.

    Of course, this all assumes Valve is telling the truth, or that their software is working as intended. Given the current climate and unabashed greediness of corporations and governments for our personal data, you will have to forgive me if I take any and all such assurances with a large grain of salt.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Lagg on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:10AM

      by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:10AM (#1434) Homepage Journal
      Snooping to me would be actually sending records in the clear in their entirety. From what I can tell and what I'd expect anyone with some sense to do when writing their stuff, only matched hashes to a given list are sent. Far from the implication that your cache is being given to Valve as is stated in the original thread. Though I do have to give them credit for saying "Yes hashes are sent" and confirming the fact since they didn't actually have to do that due to the fact that there was no proof they were even opening a socket. They could have pulled the standard "there is no evidence that we do or do not do this thing" excuse.
      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
      • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:50PM

        by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:50PM (#1622)

        Well, it's pretty clear from TFS which way your biases lie.

        --
        "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
        • (Score: 1) by Lagg on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:04PM

          by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:04PM (#1635) Homepage Journal
          Accuse me of bias if you want. Maybe it's even true, Valve is one of the best software companies I've seen in years, I have friends there, I'm a recognized community contributor and I spend money on Steam games. I don't deny this, but what I will deny is that the summary is in any way intentionally inaccurate. I probably could have added a disclaimer. But would that have really helped in your impression of me and the summary? Something tells me no. But to say it's false and biased because the situation shifted in Valve's favor is really pushing it. There are a lot of things to criticize Valve for and some of them are pretty genuine concerns, but making up things from a prettied disassembly that shows nothing besides the fact that DNS cache entries are being iterated will only damage those concerns. And that is a situation where everyone loses. The fact of the matter is that this is not snooping, you can stretch the definition of it to make it fit under that term. But you'd really be grasping at straws. If you're going to go on a crusade about how me and the editors are slashdot relics at least make an attempt to distance yourself from the behavior you're complaining about.
          --
          http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GeminiDomino on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18PM

            by GeminiDomino (661) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:18PM (#1644)

            The fact of the matter is that this is not snooping, you can stretch the definition of it to make it fit under that term.

            Perhaps the "fact" is that anti-cheating systems need to "snoop" as part of their primary function, but no, the contents of the DNS cache -- data unrelated to the game being executed -- are being read, without disclosure (until now), and reported back. But no, you can repeat it as much as you like but you're the one redefining "snooping" in an attempt to put a positive spin on your particular brand-tribe.

            And I never said anything about "the editors", but even one of them acknowledged the slant after called out [soylentnews.org] by someone else.

            --
            "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by FatPhil on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:05PM

      by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {asdf.fi}> on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:05PM (#1550) Homepage

      But surely DNS is a red herring. If they're sniffing for dodgy DNS records, implying a connection to a dodgy site, then why don't the dodgy hackers just use an IP address, and disappear under that radar?

      --
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by kru on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:26AM

    by kru (795) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:26AM (#1422)

    I read TFA (are we allowed to do that here?) and it has this bit in it.

    "VAC checked for the presence of [kernel-level] cheats. If they were detected VAC then checked to see which cheat DRM server was being contacted. This second check was done by looking for a partial match to those (non-web) cheat DRM servers in the DNS cache. If found, then hashes of the matching DNS entries were sent to the VAC servers. "

    So, from the horse's mouth comes the story that Valve does indeed snoop on DNS entries when it think it has detected a potential cheat. Valve has somewhere north of 10 million clients, so that it at least 10k people who have had their DNS caches snooped. Are they snooping on you and me? I doubt it, but I don't know for certain. I have no idea what it takes to trip VAC into peeking at my dns cache.

    I do appreciate the integrity of Valve with the quick, concise and transparent announcement made in the wake of this news. The NSA could learn something from Gabe.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by bugamn on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:32PM

      by bugamn (1017) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:32PM (#1557)

      I read TFA (are we allowed to do that here?) and it has this bit in it.

      No, we aren't. Return your new id.

    • (Score: 1) by sar on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:51PM

      by sar (507) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:51PM (#1849)

      Not only was original "accusation" right on. It is very good it snowballed.
      It is possible that Valve use this snooping with good intents. Nonetheless this story may detract some other companies from doing something evil if they now know it could be easily discovered...

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by FalleStar on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:27AM

    by FalleStar (875) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:27AM (#1423)

    Steam practically prints money for Valve. There would be little to no incentive for them to data mine their users DNS caches. I'm not saying that Valve is incapable of doing evil, but if they were going to, it would be by doing something far more profitable than this.

    As a disclaimer, I am a huge Valve fan that spends hundreds of dollars on Steam games annually. So yeah, there could be some personal bias.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nesh on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:38AM

      by Nesh (269) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:38AM (#1470)

      FalleStar makes a valid point. You may not agree, but this post isn't flamebait.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by combatserver on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:15AM

      by combatserver (38) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @11:15AM (#1528)

      "Steam practically prints money for Valve."

      And why do you think this is so? Games? Of course, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't also be gathering data to be shared for even greater profit. In this day and age, it would be foolish to think they wouldn't be doing this--corporation after corporation is being shown to have hands deep in NSA data gathering, and trust me--they are NOT doing it for free. It's a bit of a straw-man argument to claim that someone wouldn't try and make more money just because they are already wealthy.

      Greed is a disease, never satiated.

      --
      I hope I can change this later...
      • (Score: 1) by spiritfiend on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:55PM

        by spiritfiend (964) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:55PM (#1665)

        Perhaps it would be foolish to do so in your opinion, but I trust Valve. It's a matter of trust as Gabe said in his release. Valve has a reputation of being pro-gamer, and I trust that it was done is for this specific anti-cheating policy. Why do I trust Valve? Because hats.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by juggs on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:47AM

    by juggs (63) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:47AM (#1430) Journal

    ... programmers should get used to justifying why they need to iterate a user's DNS cache.

    It may be necessary it may not, all this article offers is along the lines of "programmers have been doing it for ever" and "trust me I'm a programmer". Ergo it is OK. It's like doffing a cap to the local GP because he's "a doctor".

    Having always done it in the past is not justification for continuing to do it. The article could do with some balance on ~why~ programmers think it OK to go snooping around around in DNS caches.

    • (Score: 1) by Lagg on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:13AM

      by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:13AM (#1439) Homepage Journal
      It's less "it's okay because I'm a programmer" and more "this is a pretty common micro-optimization". Meaning that it doesn't necessarily equate to malicious code, just that by itself it cannot be used to come to the conclusion that it's snooping. Personally I think rolling one's own hasher is kind of silly, except for on embedded stuff maybe.
      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by biff on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:15AM

      by biff (170) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:15AM (#1440)

      Anti-cheat code is necessarily intrusive as part of its function, but I agree. The range of acceptable behavior from computer programs continues to expand and is still almost entirely defined by entities that aren't end users. At the very least it should be clearly defined and prominently featured (i.e. not buried in EULA) when a program is about to do something unrelated to its direct function, such as scan the drive, collect device identifiers and information, communicate with a third-party service, or so on. I doubt it'd put most gamers off, especially as multiplayer gaming that relies on client-side optimizations would be completely unenjoyable if cheaters weren't kicked, but gamers should still be informed participants in the process.

      Gabe Newell handled this like a champ though.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:42AM

    by mattie_p (13) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @07:42AM (#1471) Journal

    There is every chance that the code does what someone says it does. I checked out this blog [tumblr.com] and it was, umm, ok. Nm.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Marquis on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:21AM

    by Marquis (454) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:21AM (#1508)

    I love how by the time this news reaches me Gabe himself has already responded to douse the flames

  • (Score: 2, Funny) by zim on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:26PM

    by zim (1251) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @12:26PM (#1555)
    Anything they can do to combat cheating is a good thing. Especially in the 'f2p' area of games..

    Cheating people really ruin most multiplayer games these days. And most companys don't seem to be willing to DO anything about it. Even tho it's costing them millions i'm sure. People get fed up. And stop paying because they left that game community.

    Besides. It's not like everyone else involved isn't spying on you anyway. Goverment, every company you do business with, your isp, their isp. Everyone in the chain.

    One more data gathering company isn't going to hurt much.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by dilbert on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:56PM

      by dilbert (444) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @02:56PM (#1626)

      One more data gathering company isn't going to hurt much

      This is how we got ourselves into the surveillance state that we're in.

  • (Score: 1) by MrGuy on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:25PM

    by MrGuy (1007) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:25PM (#1580)

    I don't love Reddit's sensationalism. I don't love that this story gained more traction than it had proof.

    That said, "Gabe Newell Said It's Not True" is hardly PROOF that the story was untrue. Indeed, he said it (at least partially) IS true - they DO look through your DNS cache and DO have the ability to upload hashed values. They just (he claims) don't do it for ALL the DNS entries.

    Reading the summary, it reads like "Valve denies it!" is by itself definitive proof that a.) the story accusing Valve is untrue, b.) Reddit has terrible editorial standards, and c.) A noble company was clearly slandered here.

    Consider whether any other company in the games industry would have "we said it's not true!" given such deference. What if the story was about EA, and they were the ones claiming "we don't exactly upload your WHOLE DNS cache!" Would the summary read similarly? I somehow doubt it.

    Sure, many people trust Valve more than other game companies. I'm one of them. But for a NEWS site to accept one not-exactly-uniterested party's unverified assertion is fact, to the extent that the "story" is all about how horribly wronged they were, is mistaking your personal belief in Valve's credibility for fact. This is a horribly slanted summary. This ain't news- this is the editor's opinion. And it should at a minimum be marked as such.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:48PM

      by mattie_p (13) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @01:48PM (#1597) Journal

      Hey, editor here. Thanks for your feedback on this. I have to admit that 10 days ago I didn't think I'd be here, doing this. Neither did the other editors, but then again, tech writers don't grow on trees. Everything is moving pretty quickly and we're still hashing out some things. Part of that is learning how to be editors. Hopefully we'll get better at this and learn to detect bias or slant in the summary submitted, and either negate it or work around it. Thanks for reading. ~mattie_p

    • (Score: 1) by Dopefish on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:09AM

      by Dopefish (12) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:09AM (#2197)

      I'm with mattie_p on this one, and I was the editor that greenlit this submission. To that end, I will be more cautious going forward with how details are represented in the submissions that go live to ensure accuracy and fairness. Thank you for your feedback MrGuy!

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:35PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:35PM (#1654)

    "VAC was indeed iterating the DNS cache, which any knowledgeable programmer understands is not exactly an uncommon thing to do,"

    I'm a knowledgeable programmer but I never deal with games or DNS (believe it or not!). The programming domain might be larger than you realize. Why is this not an uncommon thing to do? Thanks.

    • (Score: 1) by Lagg on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:42PM

      by Lagg (105) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:42PM (#1657) Homepage Journal
      Sorry for that. I should have explained. It's a micro-optimization sometimes used when the code needs to do a lot of resolves to a small set of names. I'm not going to vouch for the usefulness of it, but it is done. Particularly in environments where the overhead of repeated resolve calls is not wanted or needed, like in embedded stuff. I guess bypassing the resolver entirely can help to a degree in those situations, but it's not needed much in today's systems in my opinion. It all comes down to whether or not you think that the overhead of your given resolver lib is worth working around after the initial query to the nameserver. Basically, you implement such a thing when you think you can do the caching better. When I first saw this thread I didn't think it too out of the ordinary since goldsrc was based on quake's engine and there could very well be such code leftover that is shared with other stuff. Since iD loved to do these kind-of-silly-even-for-the-time micro-optimizations it kind of made sense. If you've worked with net code before you've probably heard of this more than you think.
      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    • (Score: 1) by paddym on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:55PM

      by paddym (196) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @03:55PM (#1667)

      The only thing I can think of is that when dealing with DNS for looking up IP address information, it is definitely faster to find that in the cache than elsewhere. So iterating through the cache may happen; although I would tend to think that calls to the operating system's gethostbyname would do that iteration for the programmer. That would make it very common, but examining each entry is not common, to my knowledge. I don't see why a program would iterate through the cache looking at entries that have nothing to do with the context of the program, unless it's security software.

  • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:16PM

    by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @04:16PM (#1676)

    The article linked says the exact opposite. They ARE snooping cache entries, but only reporting back those in violation. The message does claim that it is only server connections and not web traffic that initiate a ban, so looking at a website of a cheat (for instance, if you were doing research on it) should not result in a ban.

    To state that they do not look at the cache is a misstatement in the summary.

    --
    "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 1) by Serial_Priest on Thursday February 20 2014, @09:22PM

    by Serial_Priest (2493) <accusingangelNO@SPAMautistici.org> on Thursday February 20 2014, @09:22PM (#3721)

    "Our software is designed to spy on you, but we promise we won't!"

    Valve is just following in the rhetorical footsteps of the telecoms/major Internet players/US government. With about the same credibility, if sentimental attitudes towards "Gaben" are filtered out.