Game developer Valve has announced that it has permanently banned over 40,000 accounts for using cheat software to gain an unfair advantage over other players in the Dota 2 game.
The cheat gave players access to internal client application information that is not visible during normal gameplay, thus gaining a competitive advantage.
Dota 2 is a popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game. It has a professional competitive scene with numerous tournaments and leagues for all levels of play.
Success in Dota 2 relies on strategic thinking, quick reflexes, and teamwork.
An unhealthy competitive spirit drives some gamers to look for alternative ways to gain an edge over their opponents, and there’s an entire industry of third-party cheats that cater to that demand.
In order to maintain a fair gaming environment for all to enjoy, it is crucial for Valve to identify and stop the use of these cheats as soon as possible.
Setting up a honey pot
In this case, Valve developed a fix that acted like a honeypot, picking up requests on areas that shouldn’t be queried or monitored by the game app.
“This patch created a honeypot: a section of data inside the game client that would never be read during normal gameplay, but could be read by these exploits,” Valve explains.
“Each of the accounts banned today read from this ‘secret’ area of the client, giving us extremely high confidence that each ban was well deserved.”
After the Dota 2 gaming community applied the patch, which is a mandatory requirement for joining multiplayer games, it was revealed that over 40,000 accounts were using the cheat software.
This makes it one of the most widespread cheats ever seen in gaming history.
Valve says it’s decided to go public with this crackdown, which is just one of many they’re waging in their efforts to crack down on cheaters, to send a clear message to all gamers, including professionals who attend official Valve events, that using software to read customer data while playing will result in permanent account bans.
It should be noted that game cheats are often a threat because they can also infect players’ computers with information stealing malware and cryptocurrency miners.
Earlier this month, security researchers discovered malicious Dota 2 game modes on Steam, which exploited a flaw in the game to infect players with malware.