Strange Gaming Data Saving....
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Thread: Strange Gaming Data Saving....

  1. #1
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    Strange Gaming Data Saving....

    Sorry if this is the wrong place to put this, but it seemed to fit here best (because it did not fit anywhere else?)

    I have a low boredom threshold, lemme say that straight out, so I regularly visit several places to dissapate aforementioned problem. Newgrounds, MiniClip and so on. Recently on MiniClip I was playing a game (Gutterball bowling game by all means check this out for yourself and see if it is mabye just me. ) And somehow (this is the question part) it is saving MY specific gaming data!
    Let me just say that I surf as safely as I know how, personal research and constant reading herebouts have led me to be, I feel, fairly competent and up-to-date. I have no cookies of any kind enabled, surf with SurfGhost and Smart Popup Blocker, run AdAware and Spybot S&D (and have all the innoculations and so on within Spybot enabled). No ActiveX controls that anything has been able to detect were installed without my permission.

    Is there something I am missing?
    Anyone have any ideas on how this is being accomplished? It has me both paranoid and intrigued.
    Outside of dogs, books are mans best friend; inside a dog it\'s too dark to read.
    -Groucho Marx

  2. #2
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    I would say first off if you don`t trust the site don`t play there.

    I`m sure it is harmless...does this file or data exist only when you play the game or when you log out as well? I`m sure it keeps some sorta .DAT file for your prefrences and such.

    Anyhow i would contact the people that host the website (game) and ask them.
    NORML

    Signature image is too tall!

  3. #3
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    I do not trust any site that saves information without asking, personally. However, I had not previously encountered anything similar to this. I have found a folder full of text files down deep in shockwave flash directories that was saving all kinds of data apparently.
    Anyone know if this is 'normal' or safe? Anyone out there shun the use of Flash player/shockwave for this type of reason?
    Outside of dogs, books are mans best friend; inside a dog it\'s too dark to read.
    -Groucho Marx

  4. #4
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    TheZog,

    I guess that it is a case of "if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" I would say that you need Shockwave/Macromedia Flash to play the game?

    I do not have them, but I tend to get rid of anything that I do not need, or at least prevent it from loading automatically on boot. I do this because the fewer things you run, the faster and more stable your system is likely to be, and potentially more secure.

    I have not played network games for some time, but isn't their some sort of "top players/high scores" list, and have you any way of setting options/preferences.

    I would not expect the technology to be that advanced? I presume you set up a player profile and login?...........well that gives you an "account"............a bit like a user profile in Windows. Just like stand alone games, I would imagine the game itself is recording your player stats and so on, and just writes them to your account/profile?

    When you logged into the site, did you read the "Privacy Policy"/AUP and so on............that counts as "asking"

    Cheers

    EDIT: Just look at your profile on this site..........your stats are being recorded............I consider it pretty normal, just be wary of giving information that you know they don't need?
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  5. #5
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    Thats what I found so strange, I have never signed up in any way, with the exception of this and one other message board, a travel website with a complete privacy policy and an online store run by someone I know personally and trust (no information is saved and his encryption is significantly higher than standard), I give out very little information about myself. My wondering came because I noticed information being saved when I had done nothing at all to initate it, other than I suppose using Flash/Shockwave in the first place.

    Setting up an account would totally go against my generally paranoid nature, I figure if i wanna make it THAT easy I may as well dump my firewall, and go hang out in a AO* chatroom.

    For now though Nihil, let us say that I am retreating from the kitchen.
    Until myself or someone else can figure how potentially dangerous this information is, perhaps it is only saving a wee byte to remember me by, but it looks a helluva lot like a cookie to me, and chocolate chip and girlscout aside, I'm not fond of cookies
    Outside of dogs, books are mans best friend; inside a dog it\'s too dark to read.
    -Groucho Marx

  6. #6
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    I'm not sure how shockwave flash works, but isn't it possible that it allows the shockwave games access to write in a certain part of your disk. (a shockwave folder if there is one). Could that be the folder with all the text files you were talking about?

    It's possible that the game saves simple data in a text file on your computer, but normally you would expect to be prompted about that. I know that java applets have the ability to write to the client's computer, but this has to be enabled in the html tag where the applet is declared, and I believe the user is prompted about it. There could be some similar feature with flash.

    It would seem strange, however, that you are not receiving some sort of message that asks you whether or not you want to save data on your computer, which would then lead me to believe that the data is, in fact being stored on the server.

    Are you sure that you are not even typing in a username when you start the game (as apposed to creating an account on the site), because it could be that it saves data on the server with a username. That seems doubtful also because of the fact that you could get someone else's game data by accident if you chose the same username.

    All of this would lead me to believe that there are two possibilities:
    1) As you suspected, the site is saving some sort of cookie for you (doubtful since you said you did not allow cookies)
    2) There is some sort of file (possibly just a text file) being stored somewhere on your computer (doubtful because it is unlikely that macromedia would allow this in flash programs without some sort of prompt)

    Both of those options in turn lead me to contradict my previous statement and guess that there must be some other option and that my whole post is, in fact, complete crap.

    ac :P

  7. #7
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    <chuckles> Nope gothic not crap made sense to me anyways. Although making sense to me does not make it sensical, if that makes any sense.
    There is NO login prompt on the site unless you choose to become a 'power player' and pay bucks, I am against paying for things I can get for free, so I have never even investigated this.
    The part that worries me is that Macromedia is a very widely distributed software, and since there were indeed text files in the directory pointing to various websites, and I never was asked if I wanted this to happen....well it's kinda funny.

    After work today I am going to shoot Macromedia and MiniClip.com e-mails and see if they have anything to say about it.

    If this is cookie-type behavior could it not be exploited in some way?
    Would the problem stop if Marcomedia's program permissions were changed to allow only incoming traffic?

    For now plan A.) is to wipe macromedia and just not do it anymore, but I worry about some deeper and more sinister possibility.
    Outside of dogs, books are mans best friend; inside a dog it\'s too dark to read.
    -Groucho Marx

  8. #8
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    I wouldn't wipe Macromedia if I were you. I would wait to see what is really happening. Wait to see what response you get from your emails, and if you are really worried, don't use macromedia while you are waiting for responses.

    I would think that a fast reply is more likely from miniclip, so don't worry if the macromedia one is taking a while. Apart from anything else, it is quite possible that the people who answer the emails do not know a lot about the software, or the email has to be rerouted once it gets to the address that you are sending it to.

    Basically, I doubt very much if macromedia is any less secure than many programs on your os, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. And remember, there has to be a balance somewhere between security and freedom (or in this case, fun). If you put too much emphasis on your security you may find that you lose your freedom.

    hehe...that was a nice wee speech there. Need to do more of them, and if it sounded like I was being patronising and telling you stuff you already know, just ignore it. I didn't mean it; it can be difficult to tell what people have already thought of.

    ac

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