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Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
02-01-2013, 10:59 PM
Post: #1
Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
I believe the title says it all. I'm curious as to how this is handled. Are people given completely free usage of however many computers as they can use (could be dozens), to rack up uptime? It sounds way too easy to abuse for a lot of people.

Anybody could find a place with public computers (libraries, internet cafes, whatever), install Whatpulse on each of them, and just rack up insane uptime on your account when you pulse them all. Or people who simply have access to more than a single computer and leave them all on all day, or anything.

I would like to know more details about this, if possible. Thank you.
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02-02-2013, 12:07 AM
Post: #2
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
This happens now and again on distributed projects such as Folding@home and many Boinc projects, Seti@Home is one that springs to mind. A couple of people have even wrapped Folding@home inside dodgy files on pirate sites, finishing up with thousands of computers. Right now this won't be much of a problem as unlike Folding@home you can't install WhatPulse and hide it away as a service so it'll be easy for a systems admin to spot it and remove it.

I'm running multiple machines for various Boinc projects, I own them all and they are all at my house, I pay for the electric so I don't see any problem really.

Pete
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02-02-2013, 12:28 AM
Post: #3
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
The uptime would become higher than the 2.0 version has been out, so it would be obvious it was hacked, and they'd be banned from the project.
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02-02-2013, 02:54 AM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2013 03:00 AM by sellyme.)
Post: #4
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
(02-02-2013 12:28 AM)Suck My Trend Wrote:  The uptime would become higher than the 2.0 version has been out, so it would be obvious it was hacked, and they'd be banned from the project.

Or, y'know, the person could just own more than one computer. The issue of "hacking" hundreds of library/school/work computers for the purposes of WhatPulse is somewhat of a problem, and not particularly detectable. Restricting the number of computers someone can install WhatPulse on would be counter-productive and very presumptuous.

At the moment the protection that WhatPulse has against this kind of cheating isn't in software; it's in the fact that no-one is that incredibly pathetic so as to potentially get in severe legal issues just for imaginary internet points. I understand doing it for F@H or other distributed computing projects, but for WhatPulse... That'd just be sad.
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02-04-2013, 01:11 AM
Post: #5
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
I think there's 2 possibilities here. Either the user disabled key/mouse counting on a lot of their computers, which looks really suspicious. Or, the user somehow has keys/clicks coming in from all over the place and it looks like they're running around using each of their computers to type essays or play games, if not exceed human possibility. I'd also be suspicious if a user was pulsing from more than 6 or so completely different IP addresses in a matter of days, and hopefully WhatPulse admins can see that detail.

(02-01-2013 10:59 PM)Kaeri Wrote:  Or people who simply have access to more than a single computer and leave them all on all day

That's not abuse, that's legitimate uptime. It's just a waste of electricity unless the computers are being useful!

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02-04-2013, 02:24 AM
Post: #6
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
(02-04-2013 01:11 AM)Bloopy Wrote:  
(02-01-2013 10:59 PM)Kaeri Wrote:  Or people who simply have access to more than a single computer and leave them all on all day

That's not abuse, that's legitimate uptime. It's just a waste of electricity unless the computers are being useful!

Well, I don't know. I only have one computer, and I happen to leave it on almost all day long since years, rebooting once a week or so. It's basically on 23h59 minutes per day on average. I don't think it's fair that I am beaten by just anyone who can get double or triple the "normal" maximum time just because they have access to more computers than I. Or, at the very least, it makes those rankings absolutely pointless.

Now of course, that's only if you care about rankings and that kind of competition. I don't care about it that much, but I do a little bit simply because it's there. It's kind of a moot point to have rankings for something if you can "break" it. Somebody that gets, for example, 50 hours of online time within 24 hours, just because they have four computers, is not normal.

At the very least, they should overlap, instead of adding up. For instance, if your primary computer is on from 6 AM to 6 PM, then whatever other computer is on between noon and 6 PM should simply have its online time not count towards the total. (It should still show in its stats, but it shouldn't be added to the total.)

At least, that's my opinion.
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02-04-2013, 03:21 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2013 03:25 AM by Bloopy.)
Post: #7
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
(02-04-2013 02:24 AM)Kaeri Wrote:  Well, I don't know. I only have one computer, and I happen to leave it on almost all day long since years, rebooting once a week or so. It's basically on 23h59 minutes per day on average. I don't think it's fair that I am beaten by just anyone who can get double or triple the "normal" maximum time just because they have access to more computers than I. Or, at the very least, it makes those rankings absolutely pointless.

Uptime ranking tables could at least show how many computers a user has. Maybe they could divide uptime by number of computers to get an "average uptime" ranking. Should it take into account when a particular computer was active, ie. between when it was created and when it last pulsed? It's kind of complicated.

(02-04-2013 02:24 AM)Kaeri Wrote:  At the very least, they should overlap, instead of adding up. For instance, if your primary computer is on from 6 AM to 6 PM, then whatever other computer is on between noon and 6 PM should simply have its online time not count towards the total. (It should still show in its stats, but it shouldn't be added to the total.)

Terrible idea. Tongue A large number of users would have 24h uptime and still beat your lousy 23h59m, and then the stats really would be pointless. Is it fair that your uptime beats anyone who can't run their computer for 24h for some reason? If your answer is to tell them "well, get a computer that can run 24h", then I could equally tell you to just get more computers to increase your uptime. For uptime, the personal stats themselves are very interesting. Just because the uptime rankings are not so interesting, doesn't mean the uptime stats should be crippled.

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02-04-2013, 03:36 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2013 03:37 AM by Mireille.)
Post: #8
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
Well, that was just a random idea I throwed in. My main point was made before that. In retrospect, the idea I suggested certainly wasn't ideal, I'll admit. Tongue
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02-04-2013, 08:49 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2013 08:51 AM by borandi.)
Post: #9
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
My HTPC, Main computer and laptop are on 24/7, and the machines (from two to four right now, will be more in the future, depending on workload) I have to use for work are on sporadically throughout most days. The hardware in those 2-4 are frequently swapped on a daily basis as well, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to track total uptime on them for Whatpulse.

There are users with a factor 20 or 40 larger than I, for either distributive computing or bitcoins. It's fair for us to have the cumulative uptime on our machines, it's either part of our work or what we have spent our money on. You probably have a better car / house / furniture / holidays than some of these people - that's what you've spent your money on.

Technically you could rig together a lot of simple machines very simply using a basic AMD fusion board ($55, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...13157324), 2GB memory $13 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...820146742) bootable Linux from a USB stick, and then a power supply jerry rigged to serve 10 of these systems for a total under $800. That'd get you 10 seconds every second. Most individual machines cost more than that. But it's only upload ranking, next to meaningless unless it really grinds your gears.
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02-04-2013, 03:38 PM
Post: #10
RE: Uptime with multiple computers - abuse possible?
(02-04-2013 01:11 AM)Bloopy Wrote:  I think there's 2 possibilities here. Either the user disabled key/mouse counting on a lot of their computers, which looks really suspicious.

Not particularly suspicious. Several users, myself included, run up to dozens of servers, seedboxes, and secondary computers that are only used to run scripts and torrent clients. These will rack up uptime/download/upload, but no keys and clicks, since it's rarely necessary to use them.

(02-04-2013 01:11 AM)Bloopy Wrote:  I'd also be suspicious if a user was pulsing from more than 6 or so completely different IP addresses in a matter of days

There's two things wrong with this. Firstly, if it was a library or school or workplace that someone had run WhatPulse on every single computer, they'd all be on the same IP address.

Secondly, a lot of shitty ISPs don't have static addresses. I know of at least 50 legitimate users whose IP addresses change every 24 hours on the dot because the ISP swaps it over. Obviously this won't be 50 different IPs each day, but if you have, say, 1 seedbox, 2 servers, and a home connection without a static IP address, that's 10 different IP addresses each week.

And no, having multiple computers is not "cheating" uptime. That's like complaining about losing a football match because the other team is better. The point of uptime is to count how many CPU hours each user has at their disposal (whether in idle or not). Restricting it to 24 hours a day would not only make the statistic worthless, it'd also be ridiculously unfair to those who are simpler better equipped for what the statistic is meant to measure.
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