Wednesday, April 29, 2009


According to a brief post by outspoken Infinity Ward PR kommander Robert Bowling at his blog, a new COD4 patch for the Xbox 360 is in process of certification by Microsoft in order to kill cheaters.

Since I am a COD4 trooper and haven't encountered any cheaters myself (well, except that one guy who wouldn't die on headquarters at shipment, who later told us that the program glitched for that single game and he hadn't done any mod at all), i did some research to find out what's the trouble about.

A quick visit at the game's official forums at reveals that there's been an awful lot of complaining by community members during these last two weeks.

Apparently there's been quite a few cheaters ruining the show at ranked matches lately. There's a god mode when you can fly and are invincible, you can also run all around the map at light speed or in slow motion, etc.

It's been quite a surprise to learn about this, because until now online cheating and modding was largely reseved to PC users. Consoles were supposed to be immune. Oh, of course there's been the guys glitching on the maps and accessing areas outside the normal map, also those glitching and having their names first on the leaderboards with impossible scores. COD4 players with modded rapidfire controllers are rather common too. This allows them to fire semi-automatic weapons (typically the G3 assault riffle and the pistols) at full auto rate.

Here's a few examples of how cheating looks like:

Ok so how does work the mod which will be soon annihilated by the patch? The methodology which apparently applies to both CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE and CALL OF DUTY: WORLD AT WAR, consists of the following steps:

1-Transfer a gamesave to your PC from the Xbox 360 HDD using a transfer kit.

2-Edit the gamesave with a hex editor.

3-Do a search and locate the configuration commands. Change the values. There's a few dozen of parameters to play with (gravity, invincibility, ammo, speed of movement, etc).

4-Transfer back the gamesave on the Xbox 360 and you're good to go.

You can find detailed guides on the forums, like this one.

If we believe the interweb, the guy who found out first is known under the nickname of cheater912 and he's actually selling the mod through the webpage for those who want to skip the hex editing part. If I got it right, you can download the modding program for free but in order to make it actually work you have to pay the guy $10 or $20. He's even selling mod tutorials for $100!!! Nice little business he got going huh?

The technical part is very interesting because consoles are still largely considered to be immovable boxes. It also demonstrates that hackers can take control and that we should expect far worst like stealing credit card details registered on XBOX LIVE or on PLAYSTATION NETWORK. So there's a lot to be done in terms of security and counter-hacker research.

As far as the actual gameplay alteration goes, well it sure looks like a lot of fun but for private matches only. It doesnt make sense to use it on ranked matches because except the moral part of ruining the party for the other players, there's the practical issue that you will be permanently banned from XBL since you'll be violating the terms of use.

What to do if you come across such an asshole on XBL? File a complaint with "cheating". If the guy plays a few matches he will get so many complaints on his ass that he will be banned soon enough.

Panos Agoros 200999

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