Saturday, August 2, 2014

Soul Seize - Another Griefer Tool Alert

Dear me, it seems that these days I'm posting more and more often to alert you readers to yet another scam or pitfall in Second Life.

Today's subject is the "Soul Seize" HUD.  This is an item that a griefer can use to try to trick you into granting PERMANENT permission to animate your avatar.

It masquerades as a more or less standard "hugger" item.  It will send you the standard animation request, "(object name) owned by Lindal Kidd is requesting permission to animate your avatar.  Accept/Deny/Mute?"  What it does not tell you is that, unlike most such requests, if you grant it permission, it will ALWAYS have permission to animate you, with no way for you to take back that permission.

What this means is that whenever you are in the same region as the person wearing the HUD, they have the ability to impose an animation on you.

There is a JIRA bug report on the LSL code that permits this, but it's been a known bug since 2007 and still has not been fixed.  So, don't count on any help from LL any time soon.

There are several things you can do, although none of them is a perfect solution.
  • Leave.  Go to a different region.
  • Go into Appearance mode.  The stand animation has a higher priority than any animation the HUD is likely to impose on you.
  • If you know who the villain is, file an Abuse Report on them.
  • If you use the Firestorm viewer, try using the Avatar/Avatar Health/Revoke Permissions menu item.  This may only be a temporary fix, because the villain can delete the HUD and wear a fresh copy from his inventory.  The new copy will once again be able to animate you, until you revoke permissions again.
  • Try Muting the villain.  This may block the animation control.
The best thing is not to be caught in the first place.  Don't accept animation offers from people you don't know and trust!

This sort of annoying griefer tool should give LL some serious pause about their new "Experience Keys" feature that is now in open beta test.  Experience Keys would, in effect, provide this same capability to control your avatar repeatedly, after you give a one-time permission.  The idea is to improve the flow and the immersion in certain types of games and quests.  But I certainly hope that LL will build sufficient safeguards into the Experience Key functions to allow us to take back our permission!

No, I am not going to give you a link to where you can buy a Soul Seize for yourself.  But be aware that several purchasers have also had complaints about it...apparently, it isn't as all-powerful (or at least not as versatile) as the extravagant claims made for it by its creator.  That's what I call a thorough job...not only does it annoy its victims, but its users, too.  You Have Been Warned!

1 comment:

  1. Yup, "soul seize" has been around for a while. However, the Lab implemented a partial fix in late 2013 / early 2014 which should put a stop to problems if you find yourself a victim.

    Essentially, the Stop Animating Me command (on the Me) menu now revokes all animation permissions for the region you're currently on (it used to just reovke permissions viewer-side, which didn't work with this type of griefing).

    So if you find yourself a victim of one, you should be able to stop it by immediately using that option.

    As to the Experience Tools - the Lab is aware of the risks (when the Experience permissions - now called Experience Keys - were first deployed in 2012, an exploit was used to enable griefing through forced teleports).

    As such, they're actively working to minimise threats (hence the 2-year wait for the permissions system to reappear). specific safeguards include the fact that Experience Keys cannot be used "anonoymously" - they are all tied to a specific account, which can be banned if the system is abused. Further, the Lab may actually charge creators a fee to obtain access to the tools (or restrict the tools to Premium accounts), to further discourage those who might otherwise attempt to make throwaway "experiences" which are actually intended to grief.

    note that if the Lab go this route, it will not stop those wishing to take part in a experience - it will only affect those wishing to create experiences using the capabilities.