There is an exploit in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive that lets players ignore smokes, which could pose as a massive vulnerability for the competitive state of the game, according to prominent esports journalist Richard Lewis.
Lewis caught wind of the glitch and found that it was incredibly simple to recreate in game; a worrying part of the exploit since it doesn’t trigger VAC – Valve anti-cheat – to flag anyone who takes advantage of the bug.
“It’s not only is it unbelievably easy to do, it’s unbelievably effective,” Lewis said. “As you can see from this footage, it completely removes smokes unless you are sat in the smokes.”
The clip he played showed someone in practice mode buying then throwing a smoke near their position, but when the utility popped, its normal plume of gas didn’t appear.
An exploit lets CSGO players ignore the smokes that normally block out sight.
Instead, the sound queue and even the shockwave that naturally emanate from the grenade, go off without a hitch. But the element that is specifically meant to cut off sight lines isn’t appearing after the Smoke Grenade bursts.
Lewis said that he already passed off the exploit to the right people at Valve to take a look into a fix, while adding that he made the information public in hopes of getting the problem addressed much quicker.
To that effect, he didn’t explain how to recreate the exploit since it could lead to people adopting the bug as a strategy until it’s properly sorted by the devs.
“This is something that, I’m going to guess, a significant number of amateur players have figured out how to do just based on the mechanics of it,” he said. “It’s been in the game, by my estimation, the last three-four patches, probably longer.”
As any casual player or curious observer can tell, this bug leaves a major window of opportunity for someone to abuse in game without detection.
“If you’ve been playing the game and seen someone consistently hitting headshots through smokes but maybe not doing anything else weird,” Lewis said. “Well now you know about the existence of this and should probably put them into the report system.”
It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Valve approaches a fix for this exploit since it has the potential to disrupt everything from normal matchmaking to online esports environments.
As many as three dozen more pro CSGO players have been handed competitive bans up to five years in length by the Esports Integrity Commission, following a joint ESIC and ESEA investigation uncovered multiple breaches of the Anti-Corruption Code in domestic Counter-Strike competitions.
The multitude of bans comes at the end of a near-two year process from the esports watchdog, who has been investigating match-fixing in Australia, America, and more recently several European competitions for the past 24 months.
In the report, ESIC confirmed that “a total of 35 individuals have been observed to be in breach of the Anti-Corruption Code administered by ESIC. This in addition to the initial six individuals previously sanctioned by ESIC on October 23, 2020.”
These betting breaches were reportedly conducted through Ladbrokes Australia’s gambling apps. The Sydney-based bookie assisted the ESIC investigation.
ESIC issues sanctions against 35 players for betting related offences & extends bans for 2 players previously sanctioned in October 2020.
ESIC will continue to investigate further offences in Australia, NA and Europe in cooperation with law enforcement. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/KgVudv0d9t
In some cases, the ESIC report continues, several of the now-banned players also participated in “collusive behavior,” sharing details of fixed games with third parties which would lead to them “placing identical bets.”
All offending CSGO players have also been “referred to law enforcement.”
More than three dozen CSGO players have been handed bans by the ESIC.
Full list of banned CSGO players
The lengthy list of banned Australian players come from a multitude of orgs, and include at least one code-hoping convert who has recently made the switch to Valorant.
Joel ‘PEARSS’ Kurta, who spent six months playing for Ground Zero in 2020, has been handed a 12-month ban starting January 22. It is unclear how this will affect his competitive career, however, as he swapped to Valorant team “WaterBottle.”
Ground Zero player, Andy ‘Noobster’ Zhang, also received a lengthy ban. The 24-year-old, who most recently was a stand-in for AVANT, was handed a three-year suspension.
The thirty-five banned CSGO players were in breach with Article 2.2 of ESIC’s Anti-Corruption Code, as well as ESEA’s standing MDL tournament rules.
The longest ban was for Wilson ‘willyks’ Sugianto (60 months).
Banned duo Daryl ‘Mayker’ May (previously Ground Zero) and Akram ‘ADK’ Smida (previously Rooster) also had their sanctions amended. Smida’s ban has been increased to 24 months, while May is now set for four years on the sideline.
Jeremy “motion” Lloyd (Control) — 12 months
Patrick “falcon” Romano De Sousa (Control) — 12 months
Daryl “Mayker” May (Ground Zero) — 48 months (from 12)
ESIC has already issued all offending players with notice of charge, which details the offense, and available appeal mechanisms. All impacted parties are now eligible to appeal their Counter-Strike charges by emailing Kevin Carpenter, chairman of the Independent Disciplinary Panel.
For a full breakdown of ESIC’s investigation, details of specific matches where the bug was used, and an explanation of the sanctions, read the full report here.
A large amount of the ESIC bans came after Aussie CSGO players bet on MDL matches.
ESIC concluded their report with a message to the CSGO community:
“It is crucially important that professional players abstain from placing bets on the game in which they earn an income from,” the esports watchdog wrote, “in order to preserve the integrity of the esports landscape internationally and mitigate the potential for bad actors to take advantage of our sport.”