DOTA 2’s latest update patched a vulnerability that was being exploited by players using third-party cheating clients. By patching the issue, Valve could detect who was using the vulnerability to cheat in the game and ended up banning more than 40,000 players over the last few weeks.
These third-party cheating clients could access information internally used by the game client which isn’t visible to players during usual gameplay. By doing so, they were able to give players an unfair advantage. Valve patched the issue as soon as they understood how the cheating clients were working and in doing so, created a honeypot that allowed them to ban the players mentioned above from the DOTA player base.
The company hasn’t revealed exactly what information the cheating clients could see but has clearly stated its intentions of rooting out hackers and cheaters from the game.
According to Valve, the current ban wave is only the ” latest action in an ongoing campaign”, adding that since the cheating players were reading from a ‘secret’ part in the DOTA client, they have “extremely high confidence that every ban was well-deserved”.
As it makes an example out of these 40,000 cheaters, Valve wants to clarify its position on in-game cheating, clearly stating that cheating accounts will be permanently banned. This also includes any professional players who will be banned from all Valve competitive events.
Valve has struggled with cheaters and hackers in some of its most prominent games for quite some time. Another rather popular Valve game, CS:GO, has been plagued with hackers for as long as the game has been active. While Valve’s anti-cheat (VAC) and the Overwatch program combined do their best to counter this threat, with CS:GO going free to play in December 2018, the hacking problem became way worse than ever, causing Valve to take some serious action get the game under control and playable again.