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posted by Dopefish on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:00AM   Printer-friendly
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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  • (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.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +4  
       Redundant=1, Insightful=1, Informative=4, Total=6
    Extra 'Informative' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (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.