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Zwift Hackers Expose the Next Generation of Cycling Doping

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Zwift Hackers Expose the Next Generation of Cycling Doping

Old 09-15-19, 10:08 AM
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Seattle Forrest
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Zwift Hackers Expose the Next Generation of Cycling Doping

Last month, Dixon gave a 40-minute presentation at DEF CON, a popular computer security conference, called Cheating in eSports: How to Cheat at Virtual Cycling Using USB Hacks. He detailed how, with some standard hardware and an Xbox controller, he tricked the system into thinking he was humming around Watopia at race pace while doing nothing more strenuous than cracking open a beer.

...

“I unplug the dongle from my computer, and I plug it into the man-in-the-middle box. Then I plug the man-in-the-middle box into the computer,” Dixon said. “Once I do that, I can inspect all of the communications from my Kickr and heart-rate monitor and cadence sensor that are going to Zwift, and I can also modify those communications.”

https://www.bicycling.com/news/amp28...zwift-hacking/
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Old 09-15-19, 10:19 AM
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There are ways to detect naive cheating (and the article makes it sound like this falls into this category) but a clever dedicated motivated cheater can almost always find a way to make detection hard.
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Old 09-15-19, 11:13 AM
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TOTGAS.

Too old to...
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Old 09-15-19, 12:24 PM
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This really only impacts competition, and every organized Zwift event I've seen is at a specified location, so equipment can be constantly monitored.

If this is about KOM thievery or artificially climbing Strava leaderboards... ultra meh. A Zwift KOM is scarcely more than a party trick as it is.
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Old 09-15-19, 01:02 PM
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What is crazy to me is that you can win more money winning a virtual race than many real world races.
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Old 09-15-19, 01:42 PM
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I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! That people take Zwift seriously though to go to the trouble, or actually race in it.
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Old 09-15-19, 02:02 PM
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Zwift's chief developer used to post here.
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Old 09-15-19, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
TOTGAS.

Too old to...
I am not old and I still DGAS!

doping on Zwift is just dumb...I could care less who is doing what on there. I am there just to bike....
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Old 09-15-19, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
This really only impacts competition, and every organized Zwift event I've seen is at a specified location, so equipment can be constantly monitored.

If this is about KOM thievery or artificially climbing Strava leaderboards... ultra meh. A Zwift KOM is scarcely more than a party trick as it is.
Lol yeah, I am busting my behind in my local routes to get to 30mph on some 1-2% descents...and then I see the leaderboards on Strava for that same stretch at 80+mph.
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Old 09-15-19, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
What is crazy to me is that you can win more money winning a virtual race than many real world races.
It kinda makes sense, though. There's no permits, no staffing, no outdoor venues or streets to block off-- and you needn't worry about the weather.

It's also a more level playing field (at least for now) where the genetic freaks are out there on real bikes in the real world, and comparatively normal cyclists can compete virtually.

Which is to say, I get it. I don't wanna do it, but I understand the attraction.
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Old 09-15-19, 07:41 PM
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I couldn't even get far at Frogger, and it was fun.
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Old 09-15-19, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
I couldn't even get far at Frogger, and it was fun.
Now that you mention it, some days it feels like that game IRL.
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Old 09-15-19, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
It kinda makes sense, though. There's no permits, no staffing, no outdoor venues or streets to block off-- and you needn't worry about the weather.

It's also a more level playing field (at least for now) where the genetic freaks are out there on real bikes in the real world, and comparatively normal cyclists can compete virtually.

Which is to say, I get it. I don't wanna do it, but I understand the attraction.
I think it is still generically advantaged individuals winning, it just takes out the additional need for bike handling skill. Some 10k guy can get on and be very competitive without really having to pay any dues. You can even have a coach telling you when to attack and sit in. All the rider really has to bring to the table is fitness.
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Old 09-15-19, 09:33 PM
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The whole issue of hacking/cheating in Zwift or any other unregulated game or “competition” is bogus. Yes, the platform is attempting to attain legitimacy for true competition. There will always be someone utilizing a workaround if the platform or real world competition isn’t controlled, regulated, and officiated. Even then someone will find someway.
This is a hot topic in the zwift forums. It’s surprising how many participants get twisted because someone is sandbagging, not being upgraded, or tweaking their smart hardware/software/sensors. For the vast majority, it’s simply a great way to maintain condition when riding outside sucks.
I actually look forward to getting on my indoor trainer when previously I would typically find any excuse not to.
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Old 09-15-19, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I think it is still generically advantaged individuals winning, it just takes out the additional need for bike handling skill. Some 10k guy can get on and be very competitive without really having to pay any dues. You can even have a coach telling you when to attack and sit in. All the rider really has to bring to the table is fitness.
Or an intercept device.
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Old 09-15-19, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jbbr View Post
The whole issue of hacking/cheating in Zwift or any other unregulated game or “competition” is bogus. Yes, the platform is attempting to attain legitimacy for true competition. There will always be someone utilizing a workaround if the platform or real world competition isn’t controlled, regulated, and officiated. Even then someone will find someway.
The article complains that how this all works isn't secured. People can find a way around most systems with enough time, energy, and money; this one in particular is really easy. Zwift is a soft target.

Not that I care, I'm just clarifying. To be honest I'm more interested in this as a software developer than as a cyclist.
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Old 09-15-19, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
Lol yeah, I am busting my behind in my local routes to get to 30mph on some 1-2% descents...and then I see the leaderboards on Strava for that same stretch at 80+mph.
Flag it, clearly in a car...also, if a car can get to 80+ when Jo Bag of Donuts forgets to turn off strava after his 15km/h avg ride, what are you riding a bike on there for?
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Old 09-16-19, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Flag it, clearly in a car...also, if a car can get to 80+ when Jo Bag of Donuts forgets to turn off strava after his 15km/h avg ride, what are you riding a bike on there for?
Actually it’s surface streets in an affluent area. Speed limit I believe is 40. So they’re clearly doing it at probably 4am and praying cops aren’t hanging around there.
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Old 09-16-19, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CarloM View Post
Actually it’s surface streets in an affluent area. Speed limit I believe is 40. So they’re clearly doing it at probably 4am and praying cops aren’t hanging around there.
Gotta love how people think rules don't apply to them when driving a car.
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Old 09-16-19, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I think it is still generically advantaged individuals winning, it just takes out the additional need for bike handling skill. Some 10k guy can get on and be very competitive without really having to pay any dues. You can even have a coach telling you when to attack and sit in. All the rider really has to bring to the table is fitness.
I've done a ton of real world racing and a fair amount on Zwift & this is a reasonable statement. The game also really tilts the table towards riders with very high aerobic capacity, the true impact of drafting in a pack is very under simulated. It's a tough environment for a wheel sucking sprinter.



I "line up" with the attitude of trying to gain fitness & racing against the game/myself (not other riders) for me all of the various forms of "cheating" are a non-issue.

I think the future is going to require a certain number of monitored competitions for you to be a legit racer in certain classes. Anyone cheating to reach that level would be exposed in <5m of racing.

Last edited by Voodoo76; 09-16-19 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 09-16-19, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
The article complains that how this all works isn't secured. People can find a way around most systems with enough time, energy, and money; this one in particular is really easy. Zwift is a soft target.

Not that I care, I'm just clarifying. To be honest I'm more interested in this as a software developer than as a cyclist.
It is interesting from that standpoint, as is the depressing fascination, or even preference, for things virtual over their real world counterparts. I will forward the piece to my quasi-son-in-law, who is a software developer, and would sit indoors all day, experiencing the world on his screens, subsisting on fake foods, and solipsistically monitoring his vital signs, if my daughter didn’t yank him into the daylight once in a while. In his defense, I think that’s the main reason he needs her.
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Old 09-16-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
Now that you mention it, some days it feels like that game IRL.
Funny. During my walk to work this morning I had to jump out of the way of a motorist while crossing the street legally in a crosswalk. Choice words were uttered in her direction.
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Old 09-16-19, 07:33 AM
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Electric bike on the trainer.
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Old 09-16-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
Electric bike on the trainer.
Brilliant.
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Old 09-16-19, 08:31 AM
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People will always find a way to cheat, no matter the activity or medium. I bought a trainer last winter when I first started riding, and never even took it out of the box, so I returned it to the store. Decided I'd rather ride in the cold than in the garage. But there's also only a few days in the winter where it's not safe to ride around here due to ice, the rest is just dealing with the temps. If I was up north, I'd def have a nice trainer setup with a big screen.
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