Flight Sim Labs Adds DRM aka Malware to its Airbus

FrgMstr

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The company, Flight Sim Labs, that apparently makes and sells add-on planes for the game Flight Sim X, decided it would spike its Airbus A320-X with malware. If you downloaded its plane without paying for it, you were the target. The file would scan for a legit serial number, and if it did not find one, it would then send all your passwords stored in the Chrome browser back to the company. Not sure what was intended to be done with the information. The virtual A320-X costs $100. Funny that the company tried to pass it off as a DRM measure.

Check out the video.

“‘Test.exe’ is part of the DRM,” he said, “and is only targeted against specific pirate copies of copyrighted software obtained illegally.“… we realize that a few of you were uncomfortable with this particular method which might be considered to be a bit heavy handed on our part,” he said.
 

Armenius

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Sure its only targeted against pirates...today. But its pretty clear they were willing to deploy malicious code onto other computers - which is in fact a violation of the law even if it was a pirated copy. Ask yourself would you ever trust them to put code on your system again after reading this?
With the amount of money people spend on these virtual planes I'm sure they lost a lot of customers over this. But if you go to their forums there are still people white knighting FSL like they can do no wrong.
 

collegeboy69us

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I'd love to see this company get butt raped in court for this... they are pushing code to customers (paying or not) that's designed to steal sensitive information.... bank logons being the main one. I'd love to hear them answer the question why they think it would be okay to steal users private financial data because they "detected" someone didn't pay for a plane.

That's like saying: "you didn't yield to me in traffic and caused an accident, I now get to go through your house and take every bit of private bank logins you have"
 

kju1

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With the amount of money people spend on these virtual planes I'm sure they lost a lot of customers over this. But if you go to their forums there are still people white knighting FSL like they can do no wrong.
The universe will always build a better idiot?
 

Uvaman2

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Soooo, they have the means to check and block pirate SN#/copies... but instead chose to have the software trigger the execution of the malware... how is this a good idea?
So, how many years of jail is this going to be?
 

ccmfreak2

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"You steal from us? Fine! We'll steal from you!"

Yeah, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen, and certainly won't hold up in US courts. Two wrongs don't make a right.
 

ManofGod

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With the amount of money people spend on these virtual planes I'm sure they lost a lot of customers over this. But if you go to their forums there are still people white knighting FSL like they can do no wrong.
I am sure they did not lose a lot of customers over this. This is not some top gun shot up em vid game, these are highly sophisticated simulations of the real thing. Now, clearly, if the information is correct, that was the wrong this to do but, you are not going to find a more realistic PC flight simulator, anywhere or, even at all.
 

kju1

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I am sure they did not lose a lot of customers over this. This is not some top gun shot up em vid game, these are highly sophisticated simulations of the real thing. Now, clearly, if the information is correct, that was the wrong this to do but, you are not going to find a more realistic PC flight simulator, anywhere or, even at all.
No they probably only further encouraged the pirates to steal more ;)
 

ManofGod

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Sure its only targeted against pirates...today. But its pretty clear they were willing to deploy malicious code onto other computers - which is in fact a violation of the law even if it was a pirated copy. Ask yourself would you ever trust them to put code on your system again after reading this?
Yes, I would, if I did a ton of flight simming. However, I do not and therefore, the last version I bought was version 9.
 

Armenius

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I am sure they did not lose a lot of customers over this. This is not some top gun shot up em vid game, these are highly sophisticated simulations of the real thing. Now, clearly, if the information is correct, that was the wrong this to do but, you are not going to find a more realistic PC flight simulator, anywhere or, even at all.
No shit. I don't see how that makes things different. What made you have the assumption that I didn't know what kind of product was being sold here? This practice was a violation of trust and it will be almost impossible to get it back from some people.
 

ManofGod

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No they probably only further encouraged the pirates to steal more ;)
So, theft now has an excuse? LOL ;) Oh well, would not surprise me if this is not something that actually happened but, we will see. (Proof, after all, is key.)
 

ManofGod

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No shit. I don't see how that makes things different. What made you have the assumption that I didn't know what kind of product was being sold here? This practice was a violation of trust and it will be almost impossible to get it back from some people.
With the assumption that you thought they will or have lost a lot of customers over this? Good luck finding anything else that does what this software does because, you know, you can't. (Mostly, anyways.) Internet keyboard warriors unite! :D ;) Is there proof that this is an actual thing? I do not assume anything anymore, if I can help it.
 

thenapalm

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Ha, the joke's on them. I don't store any passwords electronically so come at me, bro.

(I don't use their software in any capacity)
 

kju1

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So, theft now has an excuse? LOL ;) Oh well, would not surprise me if this is not something that actually happened but, we will see. (Proof, after all, is key.)
What in my sentence implied I was excusing their actions? I made no excuse for piracy.

With the assumption that you thought they will or have lost a lot of customers over this? Good luck finding anything else that does what this software does because, you know, you can't. (Mostly, anyways.) Internet keyboard warriors unite! :D ;) Is there proof that this is an actual thing? I do not assume anything anymore, if I can help it.
Was anything besides that first sentance supposed to be coherent? Don't get me started on aviation simulators - you will lose. This product is utter shit compared to some of the sims I have used. Granted they arent home use ones but you did say "anything else that does what this software does"...

Also it stands to reason: deploy dangerous code that STEALS from people and then they find out about it you can expect to lose customers. I mean come on even if the company promises to never use it on legit people they still have the ability to do so and have opened up the ability for a bad actor to use that code for malicious reasons. Its only LOGICAL that you would trust them less...
 

natos

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And this is exactly why I never store passwords in my damn browser.....I know they are exploitable, and not encrypted.
 

zexelon

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I really dont know about jail time, but a hefty fine, or better yet a court order to provide reasonably high end version for free, would be a good way to go. What they did was stupidly wrong and a message should be sent that if you do this sort of thing you loose the right to whatever you a developing! Outside of that X-Plane is the best sim out there, just use X-Plane ;)
 

kju1

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I really dont know about jail time, but a hefty fine, or better yet a court order to provide reasonably high end version for free, would be a good way to go. What they did was stupidly wrong and a message should be sent that if you do this sort of thing you loose the right to whatever you a developing! Outside of that X-Plane is the best sim out there, just use X-Plane ;)
No what they shouldve done is what any other company does:

1) Report back IPs w/out serials. Send piracy notices
2) Disable their software

Yes all of that can be bypassed. But I am not sure what they were thinking when they thought they could steal from people...
 

arnemetis

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I mean it's also possible their software screwed up and missed the valid serial number of a paying customer, and now has committed crime against their paying customers. This is an open and shut case of a company committing identify theft, and internet based crime. There should be no scenario where this company doesn't close and some higher ups are in prison. We actually have them admitting to stealing personal login information, I will be so pissed if this doesn't end with convictions.
 

capt_cope

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I really dont know about jail time, but a hefty fine, or better yet a court order to provide reasonably high end version for free, would be a good way to go. What they did was stupidly wrong and a message should be sent that if you do this sort of thing you loose the right to whatever you a developing! Outside of that X-Plane is the best sim out there, just use X-Plane ;)
Well considering most other people who knowingly distribute a computer virus with the intent to cause harm spend around a year in prison (in the US at least) I'm hoping everyone involved in this decision gets at least that much. With any luck their company won't be around when they get out.
 

silk186

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I am sure they did not lose a lot of customers over this. This is not some top gun shot up em vid game, these are highly sophisticated simulations of the real thing. Now, clearly, if the information is correct, that was the wrong this to do but, you are not going to find a more realistic PC flight simulator, anywhere or, even at all.
I'm sure that some are concerned about false negatives.
 

oROEchimaru

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back in the day EA couldnt combat UO cheat tools because it was illegal for them to search your pc etc outside of the client. How is this legal?
 

One2Zero

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"You steal from us? Fine! We'll steal from you!"

Yeah, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen, and certainly won't hold up in US courts. Two wrongs don't make a right.

I wonder what their EULA says about this. My guess would be that there's some obscure paragraph that says " by using this blah blah we will scan blah blah might steal some shit blah blah"....That is, unless their counsel is just as retarded.
 

B00nie

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back in the day EA couldnt combat UO cheat tools because it was illegal for them to search your pc etc outside of the client. How is this legal?
That was probably just an excuse. How could punkbuster work if it were illegal?

Oh wait, it doesn't work. But I digress...
 

Lakados

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I worked for a software company once and pirated versions of the software would systematically just start replacing random database entries with random values. We always got a laugh at the support calls when people would call to troubleshoot.

We wrote warehouse and inventory management software for lumber mills and other heavy industries.
 

zalazin

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They need to be crucified for pushing malware I have one word for them and it starts with an "A" ......
 

Gigus Fire

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One crime does not excuse another. This was just really badly thought out.

They should have instead done something creative fully in the game, like 5 minutes after you start the plane no matter what the altimeter controls only point 90 degrees downwards. That would have been a fairly interesting way to enforce copyrights in a beneficial way.
 

arnemetis

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let's not forget that they quite possibly now have a cache of people's passwords, and have possibly already acted upon that information. This needs to be dealt with swiftly, before anything else can be done with the compromised information. We all know you can't just flip a switch and fix someone's credit (but you sure can flip a switch to ruin it!)
 

sirmonkey1985

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One crime does not excuse another. This was just really badly thought out.

They should have instead done something creative fully in the game, like 5 minutes after you start the plane no matter what the altimeter controls only point 90 degrees downwards. That would have been a fairly interesting way to enforce copyrights in a beneficial way.
i like that idea... sad thing is i was actually planning on buying this mod for my dad last night since he was asking me about it a few days ago until i saw the article pop up on google but i won't be buying it now.
 

NeghVar

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Uhm, how in the world are passwords stored in Chrome able to be read by a 3rd party app? Are they not encrypted?? Wtf!
Technically they are, but there are many programs which can decrypt them.
 

M76

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Heavy handed? It's simply criminal. Anyone with half a brain should know that. This means all the people at this company whose desks this idea crossed are so profoundly dumb that they failed to realize the legal implications.

What would they do with the stolen passwords anyway? Sell them on the black market? This is not even something that would teach pirates a lesson.
 

MavericK

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Pirate or not...this is straight-up bullshit and most likely illegal. There is zero excuse for a software company to install a keylogger on a customer's machine.
 
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