Hackers are “abusing” CSGO’s Overwatch system to manipulate bans - Dexerto
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Hackers are “abusing” CSGO’s Overwatch system to manipulate bans

Published: 15/Aug/2020 23:22 Updated: 15/Aug/2020 23:27

by Alan Bernal

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The CSGO hacking community has been using a way to manipulate Overwatch cases to avoid getting banned or, in some cases, grief banning innocent people through private cheating services.

Overwatch is a self-regulation system in Global Offensive that lets community members weed out suspicious players by letting people review gameplay demos to identify if cheats were being used.

CSGO YouTuber ‘Sparkles’ talked with a hacker to expose a system that abuses reports filed against a person. Hackers built a few tools that can target a specific in-game ID to either keep them from getting banned or attempt to influence Overwatch to take actions against them, according to ‘Kessie,’ the cheater who came forward against the rest of the title’s malicious players.

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In some cases, this has led to false Overwatch results that can ban ‘legits,’ how Kessie calls honest players who don’t implement cheats in CSGO. In tweeting out Sparkles’ video, ‘DonHaci’ noted this was how Jacob ‘Pimp’ Winneche and Erik ‘fl0m’ Flom were given their 30-day grief ban.

But another troubling aspect is that hackers can similarly use this method to keep Overwatch from striking their accounts.

“I don’t wake up in the morning wondering if I’m going to get banned,” Kessie said. “Even after really cheeky couple games cause at this point I can’t see how I’m going to get banned.”

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CSGO hackers blacklist their names from these Overwatch bots so they don’t get banned themselves. The effectiveness and prevalence of this system essentially negates meaningful tools the CSGO devs have to combat hackers.

This is helped by the fact that Overwatch cases, that rely on anonymity to promote a neutral decision-making process, don’t really hide the names of players. By using a third-party network traffic app, you can easily get a direct link to Overwatch case downloads that has every player’s name in the lobby on full display.

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Valve has implemented features like Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC), Prime matchmaking, and Overwatch, in hopes that it would get rid of, or at least stymie, the presence of cheaters in CSGO.

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After the inclusion of Trusted mode, an update feature that blocks third-party files from interacting with the CSGO, players reported encountering even more hackers in matchmaking.

Kessie agreed that a meaningful first step to combat the many CSGO hackers is to make Overwatch cases truly anonymous. Though that would only be the initial adaptation Valve would have to make to really solve the problem with Counter-Strike’s hackers.