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Valve uses "honeypot" to catch and permanently ban 40,000 cheaters in Dota

The company said the latest wave of bans was "particularly large."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 23, 2023

2 Min Read
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Valve has permanently banned over 40,000 players for using third-party software to cheat in Dota.

The company, which develops and publishes the popular strategy series, explained those bans were handed out over "last few weeks" and said the ban wave was "particularly large."

According to Valve, the cheat software being used was able to access information used internally by the Dota client that wasn't visible during normal gameplay, giving offending players an unfair advantage.

Valve has now fixed the underlying issues that made those cheats possible, but said it also decided to remove the "bad actors" from the active Dota player base.

"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," explained Valve.

"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."

Dota Cheaters Beware

Valve said the latest ban wave is only the latest victory in an ongoing campaign against cheaters, and issued another warning against those bending the rules: if you cheat, you will be kicked to the curb for good.

"While the battle against cheaters and cheat developers often takes place in the shadows, we wanted to make this example visible, and use it to make our position clear: 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," wrote the company.

"This includes professional players, who will be banned from all Valve competitive events. 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."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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