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thomfre

Locked Account - Lab Cache Logger

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How is it possible for this account to solve all new adventure labs? https://www.geocaching.com/p/default.aspx?u=labrador_gc
Even with his/her account locked!?

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47 minutes ago, thomfre said:

Even with his/her account locked!?

My guess is that the account was locked after all the new adventure labs were solved. But that's just a guess.

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9 minutes ago, niraD said:

My guess is that the account was locked after all the new adventure labs were solved. But that's just a guess.

Last visited yesterday, so it could have been locked today, yes. But how could he/she find all the adventures in the world..?

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2 minutes ago, thomfre said:

Last visited yesterday, so it could have been locked today, yes. But how could he/she find all the adventures in the world..?

Wrong question. The right question is, how could he/she LOG all the adventures in the world.

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Just now, niraD said:

Wrong question. The right question is, how could he/she LOG all the adventures in the world.

Yes, that was what I meant.

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6 minutes ago, thomfre said:

Yes, that was what I meant.

 

I have been told that the App verifies the position and the passcode before sending the find to the server. If this is true there is practically no means to prevent this happening. You need to alter the App not to verify anything before sending the find to the server.

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As usual, if it can be beaten, it will be beaten, even if it's very hard. Then all it takes is one person to automate the process for it to erupt. No one (at least that I've seen) believes the app-only solution will completely eradicate cheating.  That's not the problem. The problem is there's no maintenance, no ownership, or verification by human eyes that can tell when something's up and delete "false finds" like regular geocaches. A situation like this would need to be reported manually to HQ for them to deal with piecemeal. Most likely if someone is caught 'cheating', they could have their account suspended, perhaps. Depends how HQ wants to deal with people who insist on cheating the system, if at all, and how much we want to let those people's actions bother us.

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1 hour ago, thomfre said:
1 hour ago, niraD said:

My guess is that the account was locked after all the new adventure labs were solved. But that's just a guess.

Last visited yesterday, so it could have been locked today, yes. But how could he/she find all the adventures in the world..?

It was locked today. I had published my own ALC yesterday, and several hours later, "Labrador_GC" had logged location #2 as found, without finding location #1. With "linear gameplay" activated, this should have been impossible by now. I have no idea how he did it, because both "loopholes", which formerly existed (the Webplayer and another one) have been closed. So I reported the incident to GS, and admittedly suggested that this account should be banned outright (because it's plainly obvious that its only purpose is to accumulate bogus lab cache finds). Of course I don't know if ma e-mail was the actual trigger to lock the account or if GS was about to do it anyway.

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1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

Depends how HQ wants to deal with people who insist on cheating the system, if at all,...

About a week ago I attended a GC event, where local reviewers were also present. They made a short presentation about, among other things, the new ALCs. When the issue of cheating/armchair-logging came up, they told us that GS appears to be not amused at all about this. They said that "consequences to accounts" were under consideration.

1 hour ago, thebruce0 said:

...and how much we want to let those people's actions bother us.

Good point. For myself, I could shrug off a rate of, say, one or two cheaters for every genuine find. OTOH, I really wouldn't like to see hundreds of armchair logs for every honest find. I know that from a rational standpoint, it shouldn't make a big difference ;) , but to me it would feel quite different.

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Absolutely. Which is why it's nice to see that GS isn't just shrugging it off (akin to how it felt they treated Geocaching Challenges). It seems like they want to make these work. The trick is finding a way to make that happen.

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13 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Absolutely. Which is why it's nice to see that GS isn't just shrugging it off (akin to how it felt they treated Geocaching Challenges). It seems like they want to make these work. The trick is finding a way to make that happen.

Well for many years GS shrugging it off because he was able to log 3918 labcaches on the same day without raising a red flag last December.

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Lots of unanswered questions... did anyone notice it? Did anyone report it? Do they have scripts in play (then or now) to detect potential abuse? Did they care as much about "Adventure Lab Caches" like they do now, when they really were more of a test/temp holder type of thing? It's not much help to point to how things were, so much as how they are now. For whatever reason, the account is now locked, so that's good.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Lynx Humble said:

Well for many years GS shrugging it off because he was able to log 3918 labcaches on the same day without raising a red flag last December.

 

That is a good point. HQ should definitely implement systems to detect "unusual" activity.

 

9 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Lots of unanswered questions... did anyone notice it? Did anyone report it? Do they have scripts in play (then or now) to detect potential abuse? Did they care as much about "Adventure Lab Caches" like they do now, when they really were more of a test/temp holder type of thing? It's not much help to point to how things were, so much as how they are now. For whatever reason, the account is now locked, so that's good.

 

I wouldn't say that the account was locked "for whatever reason". The Terms of Use Agreement states, under Section 2 Use of Our Services, Subsection D Restrictions, that "Permission to use our services is subject to the following restrictions. Whether these restrictions have been violated shall be determined in our sole discretion. You agree not to":

 

   i. Use any robot, spider, scraper or other automated means to access our services for any purpose without our express written permission.

   ...

   v. Abuse or exploit bugs, undocumented features, design errors or problems in our services.

 

Clearly, Labrador_GC has used a robot/script to accomplish this, and that bugs and "undocumented features" were abused to accomplish this.

 

Also, I disagree in you saying that "it's locked so that's good" — Geocaching is a free game — it isn't hard to create an account and "start over"... especially if you have the "find codes" to 4500 Lab Caches. And, I'm sure that Labrador_GC is not the only one capable of accomplishing this.

 

A friend of mine recently won an Adventure Lab, and I know that she's waiting until the last possible moment (i.e. until as many of the bugs are fixed) to release it.

 

I think that the best course of action (for now) is to temporarily shut down "Adventure Labs" for a few weeks, during which problems and bugs can be carefully considered and addressed. That'll also give HQ the chance to fully define a set of strictly policed rules that cachers must follow. Although it might wreck the "Adventure Lab" promotion, I think that it'll help HQ figure things out. 

Edited by Hügh

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16 hours ago, baer2006 said:

It was locked today. I had published my own ALC yesterday, and several hours later, "Labrador_GC" had logged location #2 as found, without finding location #1. With "linear gameplay" activated, this should have been impossible by now. I have no idea how he did it, because both "loopholes", which formerly existed (the Webplayer and another one) have been closed. So I reported the incident to GS, and admittedly suggested that this account should be banned outright (because it's plainly obvious that its only purpose is to accumulate bogus lab cache finds). Of course I don't know if ma e-mail was the actual trigger to lock the account or if GS was about to do it anyway.

 

Seems like the account was operated as some sort of Black Hat Hacker. Its not like it was padding overall stats, just purposefully breaking the lab cache portion.

I'm not condoning the behavior, and have on idea if they were sharing the information, but the account shows that the App still needs improvement.

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12 hours ago, Hügh said:
21 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

For whatever reason, the account is now locked, so that's good.

 

I wouldn't say that the account was locked "for whatever reason".

 

The use of the term was merely to be state that "whatever the reason was", it was locked - and this is true.  Not that "the account was locked for any reason" (regardless if it was a good one).

 

12 hours ago, Hügh said:

I think that the best course of action (for now) is to temporarily shut down "Adventure Labs" for a few weeks, during which problems and bugs can be carefully considered and addressed. That'll also give HQ the chance to fully define a set of strictly policed rules that cachers must follow. Although it might wreck the "Adventure Lab" promotion, I think that it'll help HQ figure things out. 

 

I don't disagree, but I also think that that's a very drastic reaction. Because the solution is not a quick fix.

 

12 hours ago, Hügh said:

Clearly, Labrador_GC has used a robot/script to accomplish this, and that bugs and "undocumented features" were abused to accomplish this.

 

Also, I disagree in you saying that "it's locked so that's good"

 

This doesn't compute. You admit the account abused privileges. So the fact that it's locked (per terms of use) is good.  Whether they create another account or many accounts are abusive is irrelevant. That's a different issue. If that new account or other accounts show abusive behaviour, they should get locked too.

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I split the above posts off from the Adventure Labs Release Notes thread, so as not to distract from the discussion of the Adventure Labs app.  Feel free to continue the conversation here.

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Labrador_GC was not alone, lots of other fake logs. Why would people even want fake finds on their profiles?

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5 minutes ago, thomfre said:

Labrador_GC was not alone, lots of other fake logs. Why would people even want fake finds on their profiles?

To brag about their high number of ''found''

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48 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:
55 minutes ago, thomfre said:

Labrador_GC was not alone, lots of other fake logs. Why would people even want fake finds on their profiles?

To brag about their high number of ''found''

Which again honestly doesn't make sense because as soon as it's found out the finds aren't "legitimate" and anyone could technically get that count in the same way, all that bragging goes down the drain. Unless the bragging really is about how many fake finds you can log.  It's just so strange why people find value in such ridiculous claims.

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43 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Which again honestly doesn't make sense because as soon as it's found out the finds aren't "legitimate" and anyone could technically get that count in the same way, all that bragging goes down the drain. Unless the bragging really is about how many fake finds you can log.  It's just so strange why people find value in such ridiculous claims.

 

I would appreciate such riduculoius claims. It is not criminal and does not  hurt anyone* and it gets me smiling when I think about it. :D

* excluding the pride of the designer

 

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2 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I would appreciate such riduculoius claims. It is not criminal and does not  hurt anyone* and it gets me smiling when I think about it. :D

* excluding the pride of the designer

 

 

How special. <_<

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

Please don't encourage the abuse of the system.

 

The possibility to abuse the system is the reason to the abuse - not my smiling. :D

 

At this week, on a local geocaching bulletin board, there was a conversation about users who have stickers with 12 usernames already printed on the sticker to be inserted a logbook and only one or few of these users actually visited the cache. Should these users also get banned - or does it matter at all?

Edited by arisoft

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29 minutes ago, arisoft said:

The possibility to abuse the system is the reason to the abuse - no my smiling. :D

I'd like to modify that phrase: "The possibility to abuse the system and the total lack of respect for the game is the reason for the abuse".

Any gaming system can be abused in some way, but that's not enough reason to actually do it. You know for a fact (from the various threads on this topic), that many ALC owners are not amused at all about armchair-logging. If you do it anyway, or at least just smile when thinking about the possibility, you are - and excuse me for being extremely blunt here - acting like a jerk:mad:.

35 minutes ago, arisoft said:

At this week, on a local geocaching bulletin board, there was a conversation about users who have stickers with 12 usernames already printed on the sticker to be inserted a logbook and only one or few of these users actually visited the cache. Should these users also get banned - or does it matter at all?

They shouldn't be banned, but they should be regarded and looked down upon as the cheaters that they are.

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6 minutes ago, baer2006 said:

If you do it anyway, or at least just smile when thinking about the possibility, you are - and excuse me for being extremely blunt here - acting like a jerk

 

I'm just honest when I tell about my feelings. I am not the only one who seems this more amusing than shocking. It is also interesting to see how the issue will be solved.

 

6 minutes ago, baer2006 said:

They shouldn't be banned, but they should be regarded and looked down upon as the cheaters that they are.

 

Now, I'm shocked. You think about public punishment. There is not a  word about public punishments or public disgrace in the guidelines.

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Etiquette, arisoft.  It's how you affect other people with your actions.  You don't need rules to tell what is good and bad etiquette.  Abusing the system, knowing how it affects others, even if it's possible and there's no rule against it (though there is, since accounts can and will be banned for such behaviour) is bad etiquette.

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22 minutes ago, thebruce0 said:

Etiquette, arisoft.  It's how you affect other people with your actions.  You don't need rules to tell what is good and bad etiquette.  Abusing the system, knowing how it affects others, even if it's possible and there's no rule against it (though there is, since accounts can and will be banned for such behaviour) is bad etiquette.

 

It's not clear for me what actions you may refer. Do you mean that we should pretend to be shocked because of etiquette even the situation is ridiculous?

From  my view, when someone logs all ALCs in a single day, it is not a etiquette question any more, it is something more important. It is a proof of failure.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/3/2019 at 4:27 PM, thebruce0 said:

Please don't encourage the abuse of the system.

 

I believe that there are two very different types of people who abuse the system. 

  1. "For The Numbers" — in other words, people who abuse the bugs for their own benefits. And yes, I admit that in the past I did "cheat" Lab Caches to get the find codes, but recently I've started to regret that. For the most part, I think that people cheat excessively deserve some kind of punishment.
  2. To prove a bug — it is obvious that "Labrador_GC" is doing this solely to point out the flaws and bugs to HQ. I normally do not condone cheating, but I am glad that someone has taken on the responsibility to keep HQ on their feet.

 

Once again, I do not see a problem with HQ taking Adventure Labs offline for a week or two while they patch things up. They could probably also get Labrador_GC to identify some of the weak points so that they can fix those first. (Of course, they won't be able to address every bug in that short a timespan, but I'm sure that they'll be able to at least fix some of the bugs and maybe re-define the Labcaching rules)

Edited by Hügh

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1 hour ago, Hügh said:

I've started to regret that.

just delete your bogus find logs and the gods of Geocaching will be generous and deliver your soul from sins ;)

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Hügh said:

I believe that there are two very different types of people who abuse the system. 

I believe there is at least a third species.

The ones who abuse the system just because they can. The don´t [care] aubout geocaching or numbers. They just want to be jerks, they are Trolls.

Edited by Keystone
potty language edited by moderator
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, DerDiedler said:

The ones who abuse the system just because they can. The don´t [care] aubout geocaching or numbers. They just want to be jerks, they are Trolls. 

 

It doesn't work this way in a real life. There are people who complain that someone is cheating just because they can not cheat themself. But when they learn to cheat, they will do the same without hesitation. I give an example: I learned to solve a popular puzzle 60 times faster than an ordinary geocacher and got some FTF:s with this ability. Many competitors complained publicly that I cheat just because they couldn't do the same. Guess what happened when they learned the same skill? Did they start to cheat themself or not? Just guess 😁

 

 

Edited by Keystone

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7 hours ago, Hügh said:

 

I believe that there are two very different types of people who abuse the system. 

  1. "For The Numbers" — in other words, people who abuse the bugs for their own benefits. And yes, I admit that in the past I did "cheat" Lab Caches to get the find codes, but recently I've started to regret that. For the most part, I think that people cheat excessively deserve some kind of punishment.
  2. To prove a bug it is obvious that "Labrador_GC" is doing this solely to point out the flaws and bugs to HQ. I normally do not condone cheating, but I am glad that someone has taken on the responsibility to keep HQ on their feet.

 

The sentence I have underlined is somewhat disingenuous. Is it really  obvious that this was done with no reason other than to draw attention to the problem at Groundspeak ?

 

Not to me. I'd say it was obviously one or more cachers creating a sock puppet account to check out their answers for the ALCs before sharing and logging  them. The reason for the sock puppet was probably to isolate any repercussions from their actual, player accounts. Which rather suggests they knew this was a thing they should not be doing, doesn't  it ? 

Did the sock puppet contacted Groundspeak pointing out what they had done ? As far as we know, it was Baer2006 who did that after seeing bogus logs.

 

I don't think that any amount of arguement about where the line should be drawn between what you call excessive cheating and , say, a single instance of cheating on ALCs will convince me that it's OK to cheat.   Can you in all conscience bogus log once, twice, ten times , fifty times, that's OK, but somehow it's not OK to cheat fifty one times ? Who sets the bar for what each individuals conscience allows ? Unless you are the sort of person who steps back and  does their own thinking , it is too easy to be swept along by the over excited facebook/twitter/instagram/whatever mob think and believe cheating is normal and even to be celebrated.

 

7 hours ago, Hügh said:

...............

Iyes, I admit that in the past I did "cheat" Lab Caches to get the find codes, but recently I've started to regret that.

..............

 I normally do not condone cheating

.............

Well then ...

 

 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, hal-an-tow said:

The sentence I have underlined is somewhat disingenuous. Is it really  obvious that this was done with no reason other than to draw attention to the problem at Groundspeak ?

 

Not to me. I'd say it was obviously one or more cachers creating a sock puppet account to check out their answers for the ALCs before sharing and logging  them. The reason for the sock puppet was probably to isolate any repercussions from their actual, player accounts. Which rather suggests they knew this was a thing they should not be doing, doesn't  it ? 

Did the sock puppet contacted Groundspeak pointing out what they had done ? As far as we know, it was Baer2006 who did that after seeing bogus logs.

 

I don't think that any amount of arguement about where the line should be drawn between what you call excessive cheating and , say, a single instance of cheating on ALCs will convince me that it's OK to cheat.

 

Well, I was simplifying a little, but you do bring up some strong arguments. 

 

40 minutes ago, hal-an-tow said:

 

Yes, yes. I've slowly been making my way through my finds to work out which ones were legitimate. What makes it difficult is accounting for the Challenge Caches I've found, and working out whether I've "disqualified" myself by deleting a find.

Edited by Hügh

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1 hour ago, hal-an-tow said:

Is it really  obvious that this was done with no reason other than to draw attention to the problem at Groundspeak ?

 

It looks obvious but you are right, that the player may be too stupid to work against his own interest by exposing himself too early. Or may be there is some reason to hurry, like plans to fix the leak, or it was a bug in the code, instead of logging some of the nearest caches the program didn't stop and continued until all caches were logged to found. :D

 

 

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Given this text on the profile, I'm going to say that the intention here is pretty obvious:

Quote

Since Groundspeak seems to be unable to provide us with a definitive list of all Lab-Caches out there, I made it my mission to find and collect them all.

Found something missing? Don't hesitate to contact me ;)

 

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I had reported all the fake logs on a series I created. GS assured me after the GPX capabilities were stopped on or about March 25th it would end. I helped on another series and within 12 hours there were more fake logs. I really would like to know how they hacked the GS servers to get the answers in the first place. I have sent emails to the cheaters telling them they are cheaters. Makes me sick that we have no recourse to delete logs. Lots of time and gas was spent to create these. I call BS that a jerk in Europe gets to log them. So GS, what are you going to do about it now?

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9 minutes ago, mainiac1957 said:

I really would like to know how they hacked the GS servers to get the answers in the first place.

I'm not going to explain how they do it, but it's really easy, and it doesn't involve hacking the GS servers. I have reported the hole to Groundspeak.

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3 hours ago, thomfre said:

I'm not going to explain how they do it, but it's really easy, and it doesn't involve hacking the GS servers. I have reported the hole to Groundspeak.

 

There's the fact that the app "works that way", but also the fact that many people choose easily-guessable find codes. 

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5 hours ago, mainiac1957 said:

I have sent emails to the cheaters telling them they are cheaters. Makes me sick that we have no recourse to delete logs. Lots of time and gas was spent to create these.

 

Let's put things in the correct order. All players who complete your adventure will get the full experience. The fact that there are some more players, who practically can not participate to your adventure but have completed it by other means, does not change the experience for your real audience.

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3 hours ago, Hügh said:

There's the fact that the app "works that way", but also the fact that many people choose easily-guessable find codes. 

The latter is probably the primary reason for wide-spreading armchair logging. On my own ALC, I have been very careful to make 4 of my 5 find codes unguessable (including a physical first stage, with my own phrase). After 6 days,  I have 11 completions - all of them "genuine" ones, by local cachers. So it can't be that easy to work around impossible-to-guess find codes.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, baer2006 said:

The latter is probably the primary reason for wide-spreading armchair logging. On my own ALC, I have been very careful to make 4 of my 5 find codes unguessable (including a physical first stage, with my own phrase). After 6 days,  I have 11 completions - all of them "genuine" ones, by local cachers. So it can't be that easy to work around impossible-to-guess find codes.

 

Well, yes. I know how the bug works, but I won't elaborate. That said, I can say that selecting "find codes" that are comprised of random alpha-numeric characters reduces cheaters.

Edited by Hügh

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On 4/13/2019 at 11:03 PM, Tealby said:

It looks like this person may have created a new account as https://www.geocaching.com/p/default.aspx?u=thedoglady  ???

Yup, not long after I published my adventure, thedoglady had logged it, all the 5 points within 2 minutes.

A day later another user from Germany had logged mine (mine is in New Zeland) https://www.geocaching.com/profile/?u=Die Lu.Tze AG

 

I have two genuine logs and two fake ones at the moment. 50/50 ratio...

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14 hours ago, ivss_xx said:

Yup, not long after I published my adventure, thedoglady had logged it, all the 5 points within 2 minutes.

A day later another user from Germany had logged mine (mine is in New Zeland) https://www.geocaching.com/profile/?u=Die Lu.Tze AG

 

I have two genuine logs and two fake ones at the moment. 50/50 ratio...

Did you report those 2 to Groundspeak?

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On 4/21/2019 at 6:27 PM, Lynx Humble said:
On 4/21/2019 at 4:21 AM, ivss_xx said:

Yup, not long after I published my adventure, thedoglady had logged it, all the 5 points within 2 minutes.

A day later another user from Germany had logged mine (mine is in New Zeland) https://www.geocaching.com/profile/?u=Die Lu.Tze AG

 

I have two genuine logs and two fake ones at the moment. 50/50 ratio...

Did you report those 2 to Groundspeak?

The user account "Die Lu.Tze AG" is currently locked. I won't go into details, but some of these armchair loggers can get really nasty, when you call them out in public :wacko: .

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