Management reports mining
Each GMC-team while getting new knowledges has one main problem - search for new data for analysis. Main data-source is management report, the more, the better - more opportunities for team to analyze and develop winning strategies. If we know the fact that each round every team make decision with 75 different combinations and each of them has unique impact on the result, then we should have really a lot management reports - hundreds and thousands to make representative analysis. If you play in GMC by all rules, then you will collect, for example 100 reports at least 5 years - 1 championship a year, 4 rounds in the championship, 5 management reports in the round (of cause if you wil not lose in 1 round). During this time, your competitors (which are less legible) will go far away and will be invincible for you. Therefore, search and analysis of new and new management reports - basis of successful performance in the championship.
Lets examine main methods of mining management reports:
- Exchange - honest, legal way
- Hacking - dishonest, but relatively legal way
- Inside - dishonest, illegal way worthy public quartering
Simple, easy, convenient, legal. Find contacts of necessary teams, do exchange offer and use invaluable experience of your opponents. The only requirement is presence though any communication skill. When you have already played in the championship once you have 1 pack of management reports, which can be exchanged for another one, they you have 2 packs. 2 packs can be exchanged for another 2 packs, etc. Additional bonus - you get valuable relationships with other teams. Of course, in the beginning you can not get valuable reports, but they will be pretty good for start. Slowly you replenish your database and can exchange really good reports - history about Canadian man who set out to trade a paper clip to get a house.
This requires specific skills, like finding bugs in simulator. Web-interface for input decisions and web-sites for GMC-championship make ordinary people who also make mistakes as we all. And if site contains a vulnerability, it is necessary to find and use it. Of course, this method does not correlate with official rules of fair-play, but nevertheless it is necessary to use every bug or vulnerability to get an advantage over opponents, like in business.
Before mass start of regional cups in Russian championship, few years earlier, there was standalone pilot Cup in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. Site was written by especially advanced programmers. To get access to management reports of competitors, it was enough to type in browser address of directory, something like http://site.com/reports/ and you can see its contents (all reports of course). Ie apache server was configured that allows you to view the contents of any directory by default. Over time, server settings were changed and access to view permitted, but the structure of site remains the same. Instead of direct access to the directory with reports, you had to download each report separately with direct link, for example http://site.com/reports/1/w051132.xls In addition, decision form send data to the server without re-checking on server side. Ie you can send any decision for any team, and team will knew it only after receiving management report (surprise, you drained market). Now site does not exist.
Official GMC-servers are protected much more better, but also have bugs, which are very important to find. Management reports, as in the case with Cup in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug can be downloaded by direct link from server. But it is not so easy to find pick such link, because report filename in link includes a unique login of the team, which no one knows except team. This is where we need to use specialized software products which can brute force to find right combination for not very long time. For example, unique login name contains a combination of 6 random characters from possible 36 (26 letters and 10 digits), and therefore number of possible combinations is 36 ^ 6 = 2176782336, only about 2 billion, that you can iterate over few weeks. But on the other hand processing time imposes a limit on the number of reports which you can hack, so choose the most valuable reports. After transfer to the new GMC-server this vulnerability fixed.
Yes, sometimes it happens. Besides server, reports are also stored on computers, becuase they are calculated each period in GMC-simulator, and therefore there are specialists who have access to all reports. Even if server is protected by 100%, and team refuses to exchange reports, you can refer to these experts for help. And if your interests are the same, you will probably get reports and some extra bonus. In addition to targeted inside (specialists also have friends, husbands, colleagues, etc., which play in the championship), about what ordinary players can only guess, reports can also get into the public access because of carelessness, and it is important not to miss the moment.
An important difference between management reports received by insider from those which received by hacking is in their completeness. Head to Head rounds (national final, regional cup, world cup), as well as online rounds are proceeded on the same official GMC-server. Each time team downloads management report in personal account, calculate and insert decision for the current period. Team do it from 1 to 4 period. After entering decision in 5 period team goes to the official ceremony, where they receive results of the game. But last report from 5 period is never uploaded to the server, it is sent by email to the team or gave in sealed envelope to the captain (confidential of cause). It means that in any case legally you can get full set of reports (5 periods) from head to head round (yes, even from world cup) only personaly from the team.