Valve Bans Nearly 100,000 Cheaters Over Two Days

Nobody likes a cheater. Yet people who struggle in their video game of choice, especially when it comes to first-person shooters, keep using software to gain perfect aim or see through walls. (Among other things.) Preventing these cheaters from ruining the experience for the many people who don't cheat isn't easy, but that didn't stop Valve from banning almost 100,000 of them from its platform over the course of a single week.

Those figures arrive courtesy of SteamDB, which offers a peek into what's happening on Valve's platform every week. The company noted that its figures might not be totally accurate because it compiles them by scanning through public Steam profiles. It can't scan every profile every day, and even if it could, people whose profiles are private wouldn't be included with the figures. Still, this is more information than Valve itself gives out.

SteamDB shows that Valve banned 28,469 people on July 18 and 61,479 people on July 19. That's a marked increase from the 1,000 to 2,000 bans tallied up in the days before, and the number of bans quickly dropped to just over a dozen in the days after. Unless Gabe Newell simply wanted to do his best Thanos impression, odds are good that Valve simply chose those days to conduct a mass ban instead of keeping up a steady pace.

These bans resulted from the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) System that automatically scans devices that connect to VAC-Secured servers. The company says VAC bans result when someone uses any "third-party modifications to a game designed to give one player an advantage over another," including any that make some "modifications to a game's core executable files and dynamic link libraries," and connects to VAC-Secured servers.

Valve appears to put a lot of faith in this system: VAC bans are "permanent, non-negotiable, and cannot be removed by Steam Support." VAC bans that were incorrectly made, however, will be automatically reversed. (Which presumably happens when a mod is mistakenly flagged as a cheat.) Steam users can still play games that aren't secured by VAC, or games that offer VAC-free servers, but they're barred from everything else.

That means 100,000 fewer people should be waiting to beat you with software instead of their own skill. Those who are truly dedicated to cheating at their favorite game will come back--they can always make a new Steam account--but at least the cheaters get a strong dose of short-term inconvenience.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • roger_hardang
    does that include swearing on call of duty or is it just CS ?
  • King_V
    I'm going to assume that the VAC system can't detect swearing.

    Not to mention that swearing isn't cheating...
  • Snipergod87
    And people who take offense in swearing in CoD or CS should probably be playing a different game than FPS's
  • captaincharisma
    21167370 said:
    does that include swearing on call of duty or is it just CS ?

    so swearing is a no-no but the violence in a FPS isn't? #fail
  • Matt_550
    Call of duty is still relevant? I thought the trash heap of Infinite Warfare doomed a once promising franchise to the land of obscurity....
  • techy1966
    I am going to assume these bans for online play only and does not affect those players that decide to use cheats and trainers that are playing the single player part of a game and not the online part.

    Personally I hate it when you try to play a game online and you can plainly see that someone is cheating and they pretty much pwn everyone else in the game. Now for those that want to use a trainer or cheat and play the game offline by themselves I have no issues with it is your own business what you do on your own but do not try to take that character online ever or you probably will get banned.

    That brings up what I would call a problem in the games. In most games you can make a toon up and play it either offline or online from the same toon. That's the problem right there they need to force it so you have a offline toon and if you want to go online you need to make a toon for the online play and that is stored on both the local system and the game servers under your account. Then if you try to make changes and if the accounts do not match you either get a warning about it and then the server syncs everything up and you continue your game play. This would get rid of a lot of the cheating and maybe those cheaters would also get so upset that they would go else where and try something else in another game but at least most players could then enjoy the game knowing everyone is on a more level playing field.
  • homeybaloney
    thats a gud idea 2 sets of files. and a log of when the folder is accessed and authenticating with the online server whern its accessed.
  • araczynski
    I cheat like a mofo in single player, don't have time for multiplayer gaming.

    Don't know why in this day and age all developers (for the PC builds at least) don't have built in cheat options for those that just want to have fun/explore/enjoy a story and don't give a F about achievements or challenges. i.e. want to relax and unwind.
  • beshonk
    I'm with you Araczynski, iddqd for the win.
  • Zaporro
    "VAC bans are "permanent, non-negotiable, and cannot be removed by Steam Support.""

    Welcome to glorious dictatorship, the soviet republic of steam.

    Lets make brainless and bumb machines ban people and then strip them from very basic rights to defend themselves.

    Every dictatorship wet dream "if we say you are guilty you are".