Hackers in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive found a cheat in Valve’s Overwatch system to avoid bans on their accounts. First-person shooter fans are no stranger to the unavoidable hacker. CS:GO hackers have developed into, arguably, one of the most extensive and involved communities. At this point, players expect to come across cheaters at least once or twice during their daily match-making queues.
To ward off hackers, Valve implemented a community-driven system, Overwatch. Overwatch is an in-game system that allows qualified community members, or “investigators,” to review reports of suspicious or disruptive behavior. Then, the perpetrator receives a ban after an undisclosed number of investigators place a guilty verdict. Furthermore, Valve states, “Overwatch bans are non-negotiable and cannot be removed or reduced by Steam Support.”
CS:GO Overwatch cheat exposed
However, in an interview with YouTuber “Sparkles,” a cheater named “Kessi” exposed methods cheaters use to manipulate Overwatch. According to Kessi, hackers developed tools to whitelist specific in-game IDs and influence Overwatch verdicts. Moreover, Kessi says the workarounds afford him the confidence to blatantly cheat. He says, ” I don’t wake up in the morning wondering if I’m going to get banned, even after a really cheeky couple of games. At this point, I can’t see how I’m going to get banned.”
Additionally, Kessi and Sparkles discuss how legitimate players are banned using these systems. In the same manner that in-game IDs whitelist specific accounts, IDs are also used to mass report and ban innocent users. Prominent CS:GO community members such as Mythic’s Erik “fl0m” Flom, Adam “polen” Polen, and analyst Jacob “Pimp” Winneche are just a few legitimate players who have fallen victim to report bots.
Kessi’s interview exposed an Overwatch cheat tool that’s relatively unknown to the masses. He says, “the whole point is to unmask what’s going on,” and doesn’t wish to remain anonymous. Moreover, he suggests that Valve completely restricting user ID information from Overwatch cases is an essential first step in combating these tools.