University Researchers Discover Cure for FarmVille Bots

If you are a company who rakes in millions making social games for Facebook, I have good news for you. Researchers at N.C. State University have developed the means of more accurately detecting bot accounts without alerting their owners, so the game's developers can shut them down and kick those freeloading sons of bots out of the cityville.

If you actually play these games, well, sorry, this isn't of much help or use to you. And if you play a bot account, your days are numbered.

The key lies in how this technique analyzes how players move their mouse and click on the screen. Bots give themselves away because they don't show the same range of variability in how they interact with the screen.

"This will allow game designers to differentiate bot accounts from actual human accounts, with confidence, and then cancel the account," said Dr. David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work.

Roberts said some sophisticated bot programs may feature some interaction variability "but not enough to fool our monitoring technique consistently. If this technique tracks game play for any significant amount of time, it should detect a bot."

Roberts and his research team are optimistic that they'll have agreements to sell this technology to game companies soon. They'll just be paid in Facebook Credits.

Researchers Unveil New Technique to Detect Bots in Casual Online Games [North Carolina State University]