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Valve tricks Dota 2 cheaters and then bans 40,000 of them

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In a new post titled "Cheaters Will Never Be Welcome in Dota", Valve mentioned how they managed to get a whole lot of cheaters to show themselves and then gave them a swift boot to the buttocks.

Valve mentioned how they managed to ban 40,000 cheaters that were using third-party software over the last few weeks. How though? It's actually quite clever! They created a honeypot to trap people, and similar to a way you used to be able to fight some spam bots on website registration forms.

This third-party cheating software was able to show people things they weren't supposed to see during normal play, giving them an unfair advantage. So Valve added a bit that no one should see, which this cheating software showed people and so Valve could then have "extremely high confidence that every ban was well-deserved".

Valve make it clear that while the initial ban wave was "particularly large", it's just all part of their ongoing effort to remove cheaters from Dota 2, which is usually done in secret but they wanted a public example of their effort.

Good job Valve.

Dota 2 is free to play on Steam.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Free Game, Misc, MOBA, Steam, Valve | Apps: Dota 2
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Eike Feb 23, 2023
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Good catch! :D
miro Feb 23, 2023
I hate cheaters so much.

I also play GTA 5 a lot, so you get the idea.
InhaleOblivion Feb 23, 2023
Well played Valve. Nice to see that they still care about removing bots.
Termy Feb 23, 2023
every little damage that is done to any (MP-) cheater is a service for humanity. This scum deserves everything bad that comes to them, so kudos valve! ^^
Cyril Feb 23, 2023
Ah yes, the Ban Hammer.
MayeulC Feb 23, 2023
I agree with hash punishment, but... I cheated once in TF2 as a teen more than 10 years ago, and I still am banned.

Bans shouldn't be permanent, I can't imagine a 5-year ban being less deterrent than a permaban. I think a warning (1 month or couple weeks ban) would be better all around, actually, as you don't use the atomic option right away and leave some room for escalation, so that the cheater knows they have to behave, but I understand that cheats are hard to detect... And some cheaters are not like the others: clueless people, serial cheaters, and cheat developers. The last two categories are the more dangerous, and both will just move on to a new account if one gets banned. VAC bans are not instant to make it harder for the last category.

I wonder if some "serial" cheaters do it in order to level up accounts to sell them, or to sell dropped items on a secondary market?


Last edited by MayeulC on 23 February 2023 at 1:09 pm UTC
Floyd Feb 23, 2023
Now if only Valve would do the same with TF2
tuxerman Feb 23, 2023
The problem with cheating in general is the same as with security back in the -90. While coding it wasnt even on topic but rather an afterthought. Same goes for games, the anti cheat is most often just bolted on afterwards like Steams VAC is.

Biggest problem with VAC is that it runs in userspace and thus is extremely easy to hide from. In short, VAC is an old antivirii app that is fed with cheat signatures. And the darker sides of the net is chock filled with binary obfuscators and all sorts of software that make using checksumming to find cheats pretty useless. You need to look at what the software really does instead. If a user is using a software connected to the mouse input AND the screen, well, chances are extremely high someone is cheating.

It is also very easy to find cheaters using "AI" or what it really is, pattern matching. But the problem Valve has is finding a pool with clean players, at all levels. Its current attempt is like making an AI find mugs by throwing kitchenware catalogs at it and expecting it to find out what mugs are by itself, not going to happen. Only by giving it a large clean base of matches to then compare the bottomless pit of cheaters with will VACnet be able to discern who is cheating and who is playing legit.
StalePopcorn Feb 23, 2023
Oh man, I hope videos are posted of some of those cheaters being banned live! In the couple of decades I've been playing online, I've found cheaters are always dog shit to online PvP gaming—ban them or siphon them off to cheater-only servers. They want to cry "it's just a game!" Call the cheaters-only server 'It's Just a Game!' where their cheats will only randomly work, see how long they stick around.
Izaic Feb 23, 2023
My concern is that this tactic may not work again because now it's public.
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