How To Fix LittleBigPlanet: What Happens Next
Updated: Jul 9, 2021
On May 22nd, 2021, the LittleBigPlanet team shut down the LittleBigPlanet servers once again. They acknowledged that community members had been "attacked," marking the first time that the LittleBigPlanet team has publicly recognized malicious activity in regard to the recent server problems.
Everything began on March 6th with the server outages. After 77 days of server maintenance, the LittleBigPlanet team was forced to shut down the servers again. How did this happen, and what happens now? How can we fix LittleBigPlanet?
The solution is simpler than you might think. In fact, it may only take one line of code to prevent this from happening again.
North Pole, Auto-Heart, and Pop-Ups
According to the official LittleBigPlanet Twitter account, the servers were supposedly online for "[testing]...new security updates" over the past few weeks. However, users reported a variety of oddities and problems with their online experience during this time. One of the most prominent issues was something users referred to as the 'north pole' effect, a phenomenon where levels were moved to the north pole of user's profile Earths. This has effected reportedly thousands of levels in the game.
Players have also reported that there were users added to their hearted list without their permission. Although it's easy to presume that this and the north pole effect may have been the fault of server instability, this isn't the case. Rather, it was intentionally caused by another player.
Sometime later, users began to start seeing pop-up messages as they were browsing community pages, such as this message seen by Lordmann,
By visiting this profile, you agree to let us mine Bitcoin in the background. If you decline, you may leave this profile.
It was a humorous message, but how did this happen and what does it mean?
The north pole effect and the Bitcoin message are both caused by scripts. Cancerious, a LittleBigPlanet modder, describes scripts as "funny little files that handle all the UI, tweak menus, modifications to your Earth and Moon, and more." He goes on to explain that "Scripts are like any other file in the game. They can be loaded via their hash or their GUID (globally unique identifier). The hash loading is what allows custom content onto the server."
MysteriousCube, owner of the Dreamiverse Discord server, explains in a little more technical detail. "It's possible to take an object with a custom script attached to it and save that onto a planet. Scripts are capable of doing many different cool things and we still don't understand the full scope of what's possible with them yet."
The Danger of Scripts
To go into a little more detail, the auto-heart script is a good example to talk about LittleBigPlanet scripts. MysteriousCube explains that "it's possible to have a custom script made that forces you to heart users which are specified in the script itself. While this may seem relatively harmless in theory, malicious people have figured out they can force other unsuspecting players to heart accounts that don't exist, which will completely break the victim's hearted user's list."
"Attempting to unheart the malicious accounts on LBP2 & 3 will cause yourself to heart them again, since they have the autoheart script on their planet," MysteriousCube explains.
However, the potential for damage runs deeper. "It's been