A google search for “Memory Hacking Software” will bring you hopefully to memoryhacking.com. I want to discuss with you, what it is, and why it’s important for the Talking Moose.
I’ll start by saying that I haven’t ever used MHS (the actual running app called ‘Memory Hacking Software’ by L. Spiro (pseudonym).), but I have used similar software years ago, so my description will hopefully be approximately correct. By the way, MHS is most commonly used for cheating while playing video games. Other similar apps are ArtMoney, Cheat Engine and ACTool.
As background, way back in 1986 when the original Talking Moose first appeared, he had the uncanny ability to talk about what users were doing in other apps. For example, if you were opening windows or typing in MS word, the Moose would joke with you about those window names or documents you were using. How did the Moose know what you were doing?
Here’s how: He looked around in your computers memory, to see what programs were running, and he was able to recognize certain common applications, and then look inside the memory of those applications and see what documents were in memory. Now remember, I’m not speaking about spying on other peoples computers… I’m referring to “your own software on your own computer and your own Moose doing things for your own benefit under your own control.” There was no internet back then.
Nowadays, computer operating systems are very on-guard against viruses that want to find targets to attack on your computer, and commercial applications are very on-guard against breaking their copy protection schemes, so there are a lot of barriers that prevent one application, like the Talking Moose, from looking at what’s going on inside another application. But, it’s obviously not impossible because MHS can do it.
So, I’m about to tell you why I want some Memory LOOKING, followed by Moose Talking, but NO TOUCHING the memory and NO TELLING to the outside.
I want the new 3D Talking Moose to be able to understand what the user is doing on their own computer, and talking about it with them. That’s going to require looking at the applications running, looking at their memory.
Here’s the risk (and how I’m going to stop it): When the Moose becomes popular, I think users will create some new “abilities” for the Moose (that involve running scripts). Popular abilities scripts might get passed from user to user. Generally those scripts will decide if its the time to say something, then just say it. Some scripts might fetch content from the internet to speak. Some scripts might read things to say from files. All of that is OK.
Some scripts might want to LOOK IN MEMORY and talk about what’s going on. Just that would be OK. But not OK would be LOOKING IN MEMORY for passwords and then SENDING the info over the internet or storing it to be retreived later.
It would be dumb of me to create a scripting ability for the Moose that would allow scripts to search memory and send results out to the internet, so I must ensure that can’t happen, by segregating the Memory-reading abilities.
What I intend to do is this. I’ll only allow scripts to put values that came from reading-memory, into a few specific Variables in my scripting language, and I’ll clear-out those Variables automatically very quickly and only let their values go into one place… to the Moose to be spoken aloud.
I’m blogging about this because I’m worried about it. Worried because I want to get it right, and not create any risk to users. Worried also that I don’t want the Moose’s reputation to get tarnished by the word Hacking. The Moose must be good safe fun. So I’m going to explore this avenue, and see if some capabilities to read memory can be built into the new Moose. And then it’s going to get a thorough security review by experts to decide whether or not to keep or dump the idea. And thus, I invite comments.