Epic Games Launcher appears to collect your steam friends & play history

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by RCJayce, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. RCJayce
    OP

    RCJayce The Defender Of Tomorrow

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    Madjoki from Resetera forum wrote this, kudos to him.


    "So this comes originaly from Reddit, I found out via lashman Metacounil post.
    (This is not endorsement of those findings)

    But I tried to replicate those and found out that Epic Games Launcher on start up searches for Steam install
    and proceeds to get list of files in your Steam Cloud (this includes mostly game saves for every user that has logged in on your PC)

    Steam Cloud is stored under userdata\[account id]\ if you wanna check

    It will also create encrypted copy of config\localconfig.vdf.
    This file contains your steam friends, their name history (groups you're part of, are considered "friends").

    It seems friends might be used for friends suggestions, but I don't even use that feature and it collects more than that.

    While it's called "localhistory" it is synced from cloud

    It will read, encrypt and then write copy to: C:\ProgramData\Epic\SocialBackup\RANDOM HEX CODE_STEAM ACCOUNT ID.bak
    It will also keep historical entries there.

    As for contents of file:

    Example of friends entry:

    [​IMG]


    Play history, will contain last playtime

    [​IMG]


    300 = Day of Defeat

    Code:
    "300"
    {
    "LastPlayed" "1384125348"
    }
    (1384125348 is unix timestamp near end of 2013). Apparently I have played this then.

    To replicate these findings you can use Microsofts Process Explorer:

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/process-explorer

    To replicate these findings you can use Microsofts Process Monitor:

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/procmon

    It's recommended to add filter: "ProcessName is EpicGamesLauncher.exe" otherwise there will be tons of crap. Also you can set Drop Filtered events to save on memory.

    First step is finding out where Steam is:

    [​IMG]


    Then it will enumerate everything in Steam Cloud.

    It doesn't seem to read anything, but just names of all your saves of games

    [​IMG]


    Then it will read localconfig.vdf

    [​IMG]


    after it's done:

    [​IMG]


    42834588 = steam account id

    76561197960265728 + account id = steam id = 76561198003100316 (this is my account)"


    Source: https://www.resetera.com/threads/de...llect-your-steam-friends-play-history.105385/
     
    Last edited by RCJayce, Mar 14, 2019
  2. Memoir

    Memoir Just a Memory

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    Jun 24, 2007
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    Somewhere, over there!
    Ah, so it's intrusive as well? Not saying this is, in any capacity, a bad thing. Just weird they do this without letting the user know?... Or did I miss this?
     
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  3. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Dec 26, 2013
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    Spiraling Out
    So basically they spent way more time writing code to spy on local Steam data than they did on creating features to make a passable launcher. Cool.

    I wish ForkNife would die already so that Epic's massive ego could at least lose its gravitational pull.
     
  4. RCJayce
    OP

    RCJayce The Defender Of Tomorrow

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    Literally Spyware, This is done before you use the "Find my friends of Steam" This happens after your install and run the client, then it starts to scan your files.
     
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  5. Memoir

    Memoir Just a Memory

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    Somewhere, over there!
    Can't wait to see people defend this...
     
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  6. RCJayce
    OP

    RCJayce The Defender Of Tomorrow

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    Epic's VP Of Engineering Response:



     
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  7. Memoir

    Memoir Just a Memory

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    Jun 24, 2007
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    Somewhere, over there!
    So, they try to justify it with the "none of your information is shared" shtick but don't make it obvious they're doing this? Like pointing you toward some hidden (read: not in your face as you register) jargon makes this okay?
     
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  8. Taffy

    Taffy If specified, this will replace the title that...

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    "The launcher makes an encrypted local copy of your localconfig.vdf Steam file. However information from this file is only sent to Epic if you choose to import your Steam friends, and then only hashed ids of your friends are sent and no other information from the file."

    Seems reasonable enough... but I'd rather you not touch my stuff to begin with unless I say you can Mr. Engineer.
     
    Last edited by Taffy, Mar 15, 2019
    Memoir likes this.
  9. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    None of your info is shared...buuut we'll collect as much of it as possible anyway. Just "in case." ;)
     
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  10. RCJayce
    OP

    RCJayce The Defender Of Tomorrow

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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    So apparently Tencent bought a 40% stake in Epic Games around the time Fortnite was in early development. That being the case, all this data probably goes straight to the Chinese government.
     
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  12. Minox

    Minox Thanks for the fish

    Former Staff
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    Aug 27, 2007
    Japan
    I don't find it reasonable that they collect data before it's actually requested. Collection should take place after user consent, not before.
     
  13. Bladexdsl

    Bladexdsl ZOMG my posts...it's over 9000!!!

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    yet another reason not to play fortFAD
     
  14. Taffy

    Taffy If specified, this will replace the title that...

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    I forgot to bold the last part lmao

    "Sure, I guess that makes sense but why the hell are you accessing the data at all before I say you can or can't"

    Because people don't like that! me included.
     
    Minox likes this.
  15. lol that's sick

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    i say sick and based

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    epic games should retire
     
  16. codezer0

    codezer0 Gaming keeps me sane

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    The Magic School Bus
    incoming mass data breach of every epic games account in 10... 9... 8...
     
  17. i last what you said friend

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    gosh i hate that game too
     
  18. nathone

    nathone Member

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    Feb 22, 2019
    United Kingdom
    I try to support GOG whenever I can, with Steam as a backup, no way am I using this spyware.
     
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