CS:GO

Valve stops hackers abusing CSGO’s Overwatch to ban innocent players

by Andrew Amos

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The Overwatch system in CS:GO gives players the control to manually review suspect cheaters in the game. However, hackers have been able to abuse the system to report, and convict, prominent players and streamers. Valve is putting a stop to it though.

Overwatch in CS:GO is a relatively successful system. It can catch cheaters VAC otherwise wouldn’t detect, and helps players manage their own community. However, it’s not without its problems.

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From false positives, to potential human error, Overwatch can’t be perfect all the time. However, it’s been especially flawed as of late. A rise in “report botters” have only increased the odds of innocent players getting banned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0OiOiqmi-c

There was a way hackers could target specific Steam IDs to either avoid bans through the system, or take down players after mass-reporting them. The Overwatch system was being used against itself to take down legit players.

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According to player reports, report botters were the reason popular personalities like Jacob ‘Pimp’ Winneche and Erik ‘fl0m’ Flom were handed 30-day bans. It got to the point where players were dodging lobbies with cheaters to avoid getting onto Overwatch.

“It's so bad that if you get matched against cheaters you recognize, you're not allowed to AFK or else you'll get 'report-botted' by them for griefing and then get a 30+ day ban. This is how Pimp and fl0m got their 30 day griefing bans,” CS:GO personality Don Haci said on Twitter.

However, Valve are taking a stand. According to developer John McDonald, report botting is no more. Simply put, “RIP report botting.”

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How Valve have cracked down on the practice is unclear. It’s likely they found the loophole that allowed hackers to access players’ Steam IDs, and cut it off.

Valve could also have taken extra potential measures, like banning said hackers who abused the system. The details will remain private though, as Valve looks to sure up their anti-cheat systems without letting the public know too much.

This notice should be enough to go off though. Prominent players shouldn’t be at risk of getting their accounts taken down by Overwatch, and the system should be fully functional again.

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