Update regarding the Starbase exploit
On December 7th 2008, a date which will live in infamy, a petition from a concerned player alerted us to a serious problem with Starbase reactors. The petition had been filed five days earlier, a far longer waiting time than we can accept with our current queue status and we have now taken measures to fix that. We immediately started investigating the issue and found that there was indeed a problem and that it was being exploited to gain unfair advantages.
We discovered seven corporations with multiple Starbases set up for the express purpose of exploiting the issue. Three of those corporations were members of two alliances. We took immediate action against the offenders and banned over 70 accounts and destroyed all the Starbases run by the corporations in question. All the offending corporations are now effectively inactive as a result of our actions.
The corporations were producing high end materials for T2 production. Working with the Research & Statistics team we have established that the effects on the markets have been considerable and far reaching. The effects of our actions against the exploiters will also be felt on the market as the production of the materials has been cut substantially. However, supply should increase again once players have mastered the alchemy process.
We are still conducting operations to deal with this matter and we will keep you posted on the progress and results as things develop.
Update: This matter will be brought up at a CSM and CCP meeting this upcoming weekend.
Here is an update on the investigation into the Starbase reactor exploit that we are currently conducting:
1. CCP has confirmed that this bug has been exploitable since February 2007. Changes to the Starbases code from launch until February 2007 are minimal and very unlikely to have caused the bug. So at this point we are working on the assumption that this bug has been exploitable since the release of player owned structures on November 24th, 2004. We will therefore focus solely on looking at Starbases data in order to determine who has been using this exploit, and for how long.
2. CCP has been able to restore older databases that show us that the bug has been exploited since at least January this year, but at a lower scale than in the last few months. The players involved then were the same ones that we found and banned recently. We are now working on restoring data from 2006 which will take us several days. It is uncertain if we will be able to have answers on that before holiday vacations.
3. CCP has been able to access data from our old petition system. We have been unable to confirm that a petition was filed in 2004, 2005 or 2006 pointing out this bug with Starbases. We urge anyone with information on who and when a petition on this issue was filed to contact us directly through the petition system under the Exploit Category. Alternatively, an email sent to email@example.com with details on the matter would be much appreciated.
4. The full investigation will take several weeks. CCP will be in direct contact with the CSM to discuss this issue and we will provide information to the community as it becomes available.
5. We have done a thorough investigation on our staff members and CSM members and found no links to this exploit.
6. Our actions so far have included the eradication of 178 starbases that were exploiting this issue. Some had multiple reactors running in the bugged state. We have also banned all those we have found directly involved and all accounts we have found to be connected to those players. The investigation is still under way and will take a while to conclude.
We will continue to work hard to understand the overall impact of this exploit and how widespread it was. We ask for your patience until more information becomes available.
Please discuss this news in this forum thread.