Valve used secret reminiscence entry “honeypot” to detect 40K Dota 2 cheaters

Artist's conception of Valve's anti-cheat tentacles rising up to catch those caught by its memory honeypot.
Enlarge / Artist’s conception of Valve’s anti-cheat tentacles rising as much as catch these caught by its reminiscence honeypot.


The cat-and-mouse battle between sport makers and cheat makers has seen loads of ingenious twists and turns over time. Even amid that backdrop, although, Dota 2 stands out for a lately revealed “honeypot” lure hidden inside the sport’s reminiscence buffer.

In a weblog publish this week, Valve revealed the existence of this lure, which was launched as a part of an earlier replace to the sport. Valve says that replace included “a piece of knowledge inside the sport consumer that will by no means be learn throughout regular gameplay.” However that reminiscence may be learn by third-party cheat instruments that used exploits to smell out (and share) inner information usually invisible to gamers.

To activate its honeypot lure, all Valve needed to do was look ahead to any accounts that attempted to learn from that “secret” reminiscence space, an occasion that will result in “extraordinarily excessive confidence that each ban was well-deserved,” in line with Valve.

Whereas Valve says it has now closed the exploit that made this illicit information entry attainable within the first place, rolling out the honeypot first means it was in a position to additionally unleash a “significantly giant” ban wave on over 40,000 accounts. The corporate is revealing its shadowy strategies now, it says, “to make our place clear: If you’re operating any software that reads information from the Dota consumer as you are enjoying video games, your account will be completely banned from enjoying Dota.” In doing so, Valve doubtless roped in a number of gamers who cheat for standing and in-game content material, whereas additionally serving to to stymie those that cheat to earn cash or exert energy over the sport makers.

Now that Valve’s honeypot has been revealed publicly, although, comparable programs appear loads much less more likely to be efficient at catching cheaters sooner or later. A cautious cheat maker may doubtless analyze a sport’s reminiscence construction to fastidiously pinpoint solely legitimate and helpful reminiscence addresses, then design their cheat instruments to solely entry that “secure” information in a harder-to-detect method.

Nonetheless, as a pure message-sending energy play, it is arduous to beat an enormous reveal exhibiting how, precisely, you caught tens of 1000’s of cheaters who in all probability thought they have been untouchable. And because the cat-and-mouse battle continues, Valve guarantees it can “proceed to detect and take away these exploits as they arrive, and proceed to ban customers who cheat.”

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