HWLink

tl;dr Version

HWLink is a VM scanner and ban evader detector that uses hardware IDs to ban shitters.  IDs are only stored when the person connecting is banned.  A browser plugin is the only way this can work.  Pomf and SoS have access to the sourcecode and I have worked with them to implement this.

Long Version

HWLink is a new browser plugin I developed in concert with TGstation and /vg/station administrative staff.  BYOND – the platform on which Space Station 13 has operated on since 2006 – has many advantages, but is aging.  While I’m working on a replacement, one of the biggest problems with BYOND has become readily apparent to most server owners:  The lack of a reliable banning system.  Users wishing to bypass a ban only have to spin up one of several popular virtual machines, and can rejoin the server with a new account without issue.

HWLink proposes a simple fix:  Instead of just the hashed computer ID that BYOND sends to its users, HWLink will instead profile as many components on the user’s computer as possible, and use the globally-unique identifiers (although not necessarily proper GUIDs) of each of those components to detect ban evaders.  In addition, HWLink can detect most VMs, and can also detect randomly-generated identifiers.  Only a single matching hardware component ban can trigger an administrative alert.

While HWLink is an improvement upon the older CID-based “sticky ban” system, it’s not perfect:  Evaders can still bypass bans if they are determined enough.  What HWLink does instead is substantially increase the amount of time it takes for a given evader to bypass a ban, which serves as a harsh deterrent to would-be griefers and other troublesome individuals.

HWLink is a proprietary project, and works on Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer as a browser plugin, and does not use a centralized server for data storage.  Data retention policies are up to the server owner, but commonly are only the hashed identifiers of banned or flagged individuals.

If you would like to use HWLink on your server, please contact me via my email address, or join #vgstation on irc.rizon.net.  If you already use HWLink on your server, please consider donating to my Paypal.

Downloads

Beta 0.0.1.65:

Builds are available here.  The .exe installer will install both x86 and x64 plugins, if possible.

Changelog

Note:  The format is MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH.BUILD, so the last number may not be sequential.

0.0.1.65

  • Generates a Strong CID, primarily to identify webclients.
  • Version detection.
  • Bundled x86 and x64 plugins on Windows.
  • Server display dialog fixed, no longer silently errors out.
  • Beginning of unit testing framework.
  • Added database migrations system.

0.0.1.0

  • Initial Release.

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