[ETECH] Yahoo Buzz Game - Hacked!

There was some buzz here at ETECH about Yahoo Research’s announcement of the Buzz Game. It’s one of those online, simulated markets, ostensibly to extract “the wisdom of crowds” about Technology trends. It looks like a relatively complete immitation of a real trading site – a very nice job, and realistic.

The cool/amusing development is that hours after it was announced a player called “gogogo” posted did some really clever cheating. Given that this is a game, I can’t be mad, I think it’s a an impressive and interesting demonstration of how ‘easy’ it is to hack one of these things, if you are clever and dedicated enough. He revealed all of his secrets in the associated BuzzGame Forum:

“Not satisfied with the results of registering by hand I started to work on a script to do it for me. First I found a page with open proxies, I then parsed some 900 entries into a database.

I built a pseudo web browser that could imitate any browser with any operating system. Using the nations listed under the proxy list I constructed a timetable of usual times someone from that country would be using the internet. With a little scripting and about two hours of investigation I was able to build an automated buzz cheater.”

Posted on March 17, 2005 and filed under Life.