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Was the problem that Hard Knocks didn’t patrol the inside of its wormhole?

Not exactly, but that certainly matters.

The problem is that to maintain total control, you have to have players available nearly 24 hours a day who are willing to put in the legwork to find every wormhole in and out of the system as the game auto-generates them. This is tedious work, and so it's basically impractical to have that level of control.

The attackers utilized small gaps in the otherwise extensive hand-monitoring of wormholes that HK undertook to move freighters full of ships through wormholes. Then the player controlling that freighter logged out of their account, and when a player logs out, the ship they're controlling warps off "to infinity" automatically and is completely safe.

For HK to protect against this attack completely, they'd have to have ships on patrol at all times AND those ships would have to be sufficiently equipped to catch and kill a freighter before its player can get logged off and the freighter auto-escapes. It's a tall order.

... and it's worth noting that even given those constraints, this attack was basically thought to be impossible. The Initiative took a year to make this work with enough freighters to shift the balance of power.

I don't play Eve. Is it possible to patrol inside the wormhole? If possible, is it practical? (e.g., if there's a lot of volume to be covered it can be possible but not practical.)

If so, this is going to be a one-off event most likely.

It's time-consuming and tedious to monitor every wormhole that is created and destroyed. In practicality, player teams (corporations and alliances) monitor their local wormholes while players are logged in, but most teams don't have enough people in enough timezones for anything like total situational awareness.

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