The Sonic 2 HD fan project has been getting quite a bit of stick lately, due to the fact it had DRM with it. Well now the situation’s gotten plain ugly.
Today, Scarred Sun has put up a new post on Sonic Retro, revealing keylogging software has been found in the game’s registry files.
Earlier today, I was contacted by a professional antivirus employee who was interested in why Sonic 2 HD consistently popped up as a threat by multiple antivirus software programs and did some investigation. His results showed that a keylogger is part of theSonic 2 HD software. After receiving this notification, we conducted our own independent tests and found that there is indeed a keylogging program as part of the Sonic 2 HD alpha software.
I want to emphasize that at this time, we have found no evidence that the software has been “phoning home” any data—only that we have found the capability exists.
Because this vulnerability has been found, we are strongly advising that the software be removed. You will need to delete the files included with the Sonic 2 HD zip, as well as the registry keys hooked at HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/NakaSMK (if you are unfamiliar on how to do this, go to Start->Run.., type regedit, follow the folder path, and then delete the NakaSMK folder.)
One thing to note though-without the affected files, the game will still run. However it is recommended all of the files are deleted. Also, the Sonic 2 HD Facebook page has updated revealing 2 secrets about the alpha-
1. Collecting every single ring in the demo will unlock debug mode.
2. Unlocking Debug Mode and holding C+Start on the Title Screen will unlock Hill Top Zone for play-however it is heavily unfinished.
So… some secrets, some terrible news. Things aren’t looking good for LOst, the chap who apparently implanted all of this ‘DRM-‘ he’s come under heavy fire for implanting such heavy restrictions on a game starring a copyrighted character. Here’s to hoping all of this is resolved-it would be a shame to see the efforts of the Dev Team go to waste because one guy got a tad paranoid.
UDPATE: Canned Karma, the project’s head, has responded to the discovery:
All of us had the exact same reaction everyone here did, and we’re actively looking into it to the best of our abilities. That said, we’ve heard just as much from LOst as anyone here has lately, so I’m not sure what, if anything, we’ll be able to find that corroborated or refutes what’s been brought to light. I will say this though. LOst is no longer a part of S2HD. I’ll have a more in depth response soon. We’re just as pissed off about this as the community is.
So that’s the end of LOst’s involvement then…
UPDATE 2: A new statement has been released on Retro, revealing the keylogging was a false alarm due to “shoddy coding.”-
The Sonic 2 HD team announced today amidst the flurry and confusion of an alleged “keylogger” being detected in the program that it has decided to move on without their head programmer, LOst.
The decision comes on top of several allegations from team members that LOst held the project hostage through the inclusion of DRM, public feedback of a bloated engine running an otherwise simplistic game, and other behind the scenes issues. The final straw was the massive negative reception after reports of a keylogger were detected by various antivirus software.
After some careful examination by forum member Guess_Who, the “keylogger” was confirmed to be benign and a false positive, revealing that it was a result of shoddy DirectInput programming. This is how the program was able to register key presses even when the window was not selected and running in the background. In other words, it’s like how CW Cheat can trigger antiviruses as a trojan horse, despite having no malicious software behind it.
However, despite the fact it was a false alarm, LOst has not been reinstated, and remains off the project. Quite a relief that this was just a small error-Sonic 2 HD does NOT contain keylogging software. It is safe to play.