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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
Tags: Free Game, Misc, MOBA, Steam, Valve | Apps: Dota 2
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Bogomips Feb 23, 2023
Quoting: STiAT
Quoting: BogomipsI fully understand the challenge also the other way around, when I had a CS:S server (for 8 years) me and a friend developed a ton of plugins to manage and blacklist cheaters and make their life a nightmare by monitoring them. We also had a remote client console with alerts when nobody from the team was playing. It was fun too see them rage quit because everything was logged so when reconnecting with the same IP or SteamId everything was put back (K/D ratio, money, names), network stats were also monitored when choke and latency where out of thresholds the player was slowed down automatically.

Fun part is, when I turned 18 I actually started to work for a server provider and took the other route as well. We provided customers with tools to monitor players and know who they watch when they're online. Without client side tools it's damn hard to accurately detect them though without a human watching. We had automatic ban too, but that failed a few times too. I had an example of a really good player which I got the proof by watching him play. He really played as if he'd see and aim through walls, though it was his playstyle to start attacking through corners by sound, and sometimes by chance since he knew players would camp there and sniper through walls. He was just a really good player, but I can confirm - the performance he had was not because of cheats because I watched him play live on a LAN, my software identified him as a cheater though.

Software can fail as much as people can. Unless you're on the client as Valve seems to have managed. Then you can be pretty accurate if you know what you're targeting.

Yep indeed, that's why every sessions were recorded and stored to be played back and analyzed frame by frame when in doubt. In the first place we were banned from a lot of servers ourselves for no valid reasons and treated like cheaters, but when you only play a few maps 3h a day every day you become really good on those maps ($2000$). But we play for fun only, I have some friends that were in somewhat known team but it's very boring, making strats and training in wire frame is not fun at all.
The best anticheat we used was very resource intensive server side, but the idea was simple, every client POV was computed to only send other players positions when visible, so every frame was processed to send coordinates accordingly.
TheRiddick Feb 24, 2023
Hmmm, I wonder how many of those cheaters just instantly made a new account and started again. You can get to the top pretty fast when cheating after-all.
Mountain Man Feb 24, 2023
Quoting: GuestDota is free so all 40 thousands cheaters came back the same day on new account.
Valve bans 40,000 cheaters.

Later that day in a marketing meeting: "Good news, everybody, we saw 40,000 new accounts go live in the past hour! Keep up the great work!"
BlackBloodRum Feb 24, 2023
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Oooh.. so that's why I'm banned now. It's a bit unfair in my opinion, but okay
ElectricPrism Feb 24, 2023
I'm glad Valve is using advanced tactics.

I am generally against Anti-Cheats as I feel that there are too many false-positives is the case with EAC and for example Halo MCC or Infinite hurting Linux players.

I also feel that gamers should be free to self-host on LAN, or online and join servers and take that risk for themselves. In ranked it makes sense, but the war against cheaters always felt like a "think about the children" diversion to advance a malicious agenda that is anti-consumer (as is the case in EAC fucking over Linux gamers for years now -- Thanks Epic! /s).

I was really concerned when I read the headline the other day about 40k after having paid for in game content myself, but hearing their methodology I am relieved.

I just think, well fuck if I have $200 of in game content in a game, what's to stop them from giving me a false positive or getting booted if my power goes out or there is another unfair problem that isn't my fault.

I think Valve is on the right path overall, but this centralized, locked down gaming future is a little shitty -- same reason I didn't buy into the whole Google Stadia platform -- they wanted me to pay for something that I'm not sure I ever really receive.

I like owning things and being trusted to be competent enough to make my own adult decisions about which servers I join and not having some company dictate what I can and can't have or do. That doesn't make sense to give up control for nothing but a convenience.

Sometimes it feels like this generation has lost their balls and their fight, like they'll just roll over and take whatever comes. I am hopeful hard times will reignite standing up for hard working consumers to be respected instead of simply subjugated.
Mountain Man Feb 24, 2023
Quoting: BlackBloodRumOooh.. so that's why I'm banned now. It's a bit unfair in my opinion, but okay
You think it's unfair you were banned for cheating?
sarmad Feb 24, 2023
Quoting: BlackBloodRumOooh.. so that's why I'm banned now. It's a bit unfair in my opinion, but okay

Totally unfair that people like you are allowed to use the internet.
MisterPaytwick Feb 26, 2023
One of the issue Valve is going against when coming out publicly with that is the community echo chamber that Valve isn't doing shit on Dota. It is, I believe, still important to show some of it happening. If banning with this technique is anyway revealed by taking action, one can even use it for flexing out. Don't forget that cheating nowadays is a business, and can kill a game.

To those claiming it has no effect, shall we be reminded that to enable an account, one has to drop $5, and to get into ranked, one has to play 100 games.

Those clamoring for hardware bans, IP bans and such should just google how to spoof or change either, and just try a few methods that comes up first page. It's a 5 to 15 minutes issue, a hour if you never ever done so, with a decent video about it.

Those going on about VAC being userspace should look up what is happening to Valorant, a ring-0 anticheat, well, it still has cheater, and I'm definitely not OK to give a ring-0 access to a tool that has to scan what's going on on my computer and ship (some) of that data off to some remote server. It is also unbreakable until it is broken. Riot got hacked last month, let's not centralize even more worth into targeting a company. In theory it is safe. Now, reality will likely differ from that.

Forcing people into making another account is putting some requirements, which increase the efforts one has to recover from to play again. It is a good way to lower the amount of cheating, in the same way small increase in defences will enhance security of a system : people would rather cheat somewhere else.

I'm not found of the idea of non-permaban here, simply because of the amount of players that'll refuse to change their way. But I do agree there is an issue with going nuclear at first offence. At the same time, not locking steam inventories is a mistake here. It can soften the blow massively by letting people sell the banned account items from a new one (still need $5 to enable the feature, but this is piss easy)

Now, there was one proposition that'd be amazing to see to some extend, was shadow banning into a cheaters only queue.

Quoting: ElectricPrismSometimes it feels like this generation has lost their balls and their fight, like they'll just roll over and take whatever comes. I am hopeful hard times will reignite standing up for hard working consumers to be respected instead of simply subjugated.

I'll call this out. I do agree on a bit of the "let the community have their own servers and allow / manage their own blacklist for cheaters / persona non grata. And considering how easier can get, the issues isn't some lack of fight. It's lack of choice first, gaming becoming centralized makes the few services that run servers and rent them have less room for using sheer number of consumers to play on pricing as a competitive tool. The hassle it impose make it extra hard to get into it.

And hard times won't solve shit. For me, you do sounds like those out of touch people, here, we depict them, especially the older ones, as claiming "[young people usually being the topic] need a good war!". It's not just a bad take, it's some make-believe take.
14 Feb 26, 2023
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Quoting: GuestDota is free so all 40 thousands cheaters came back the same day on new account. In the old days punkbuster was giving hardware bans instead. Wikipedia says hardware GUID can be spoofed so it might be the reason why it's not in use anymore. I don't think this ban wave will change anything.
Since the game has been around forever now, they could change new sign-ups to require referral. Remember when Gmail was like that? You can only refer if your account is mature. If the people you refer cheat, you get warnings and an eventual suspension. It's like co-signing a loan.
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