Valve baits Dota 2 cheaters using 'honeypot', bans over 40,000 accounts

Alongside the bans they handed out, developer Valve Software declared 'Cheaters will never be welcome in Dota'

Dota 2 developer Valve Software has banned over 40,000 accounts that used third-party software to cheat in the game using a clever 'honeypot' method. (Photo: Valve Software)
Dota 2 developer Valve Software has banned over 40,000 accounts that used third-party software to cheat in the game using a clever 'honeypot' method. (Photo: Valve Software)

Dota 2 developer Valve Software announced on Wednesday (22 February) that they have permanently banned over 40,000 accounts that used third-party software in order to cheat in the game.

In a blog post aptly titled 'Cheaters will never be welcome in Dota', Valve revealed that the third-party software being used by cheaters was "able to access information used internally by the Dota client that wasn't visible during normal gameplay".

In order to counter the said third-party cheating software, Valve said they used a 'honeypot' method to bait out the accounts using the software and target them for banning.

"We released a patch as soon as we understood the method these cheats were using. This patch created a honeypot: a section of data inside the game client that would never be read during normal gameplay, but that could be read by these exploits. Each of the accounts banned today read from this "secret" area in the client, giving us extremely high confidence that every ban was well-deserved," said Valve.

The developer added that this latest wave of bans, despite its size, is only the latest action in their ongoing campaign to rid Dota 2 of cheaters.

Valve also clarified that they wanted to make an example of those accounts banned in this wave to make their position clear: any account using cheats will be permanently banned, even those being used by professional players.

"If you are running any application that reads data from the Dota client as you're playing games, your account can be permanently banned from playing Dota. This includes professional players, who will be banned from all Valve competitive events," said Valve.

In January, Chinese teams Knights was accused of using vision hacks to cheat in multiple professional games in the Chinese regional league of the 2023 Dota Pro Circuit (DPC).

While the case has been forwarded to Valve, it remains unknown if cheating did take place and if the developer will be taking action. Knights is notably competing in the Lima Major, the first Major tournament of the 2023 DPC.

Valve also thanked players who have been reporting suspicious activity in games and reviewing Overwatch cases where such behaviours were observed for their assistance in making the game better.

Overwatch is a system adopted by Dota 2 from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive where eligible players can review replays of games where a player was reported in order to determine if the concerned player was guilty or not.

"Dota is a game best enjoyed when played on an even field, where victories are earned by skill and tenacity. We expect that some players will continue to develop and use new exploits, to continue to try to gain unfair advantages at the expense of other players. As before, we will continue to detect and remove these exploits as they come, and continue to ban users who cheat," said Valve.

"Lastly, we'd like to thank those who offered their time and energy to help us resolve this — from those who reported a player acting suspiciously in-game, to those who reviewed overwatch cases where this behaviour was observed. Thank you for helping to make Dota a better experience for everyone."

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