🔑 Key Takeaways
- Hacking is not limited to adults, as children too are learning it. Additionally, cheating in video games is a well-known and thriving industry, but those involved in it are not willing to speak out.
- Cheating in online games has become a profitable industry with developers earning thousands of dollars a month and resellers making good money. However, game developers are constantly working towards securing their games to prevent cheats.
- Game developers invest heavily in preventing cheating in online games through anti-cheat engines and software, dedicated teams, and constant monitoring. The prevalence of cheating has given rise to the emergence of a secondary industry of anti-cheat software solutions.
- Cheat-makers constantly try to evade detection while developers struggle to prevent cheating. Buying cheats is easy, but private ones require elaborate processes. Even developers have to be careful when dealing with cheat-makers.
- Buying cheats from illegitimate sources can compromise your personal data and lead to bans from the game. Developers take extreme precautions to ensure cheat safety and offer some voluntarily through bug bounty programs.
- Cheating in the gaming industry is a cutthroat business, with personal attacks and emotional tolls on both sides. Developers must safeguard their personal information in the face of potential retaliation.
- Cheating gives unfair advantage, damages reputation, and can lead to legal consequences. Cheaters in tournaments risk cash prizes and harm the game's integrity. Even young gamers aren't immune from lawsuits.
- While game developers struggle to stop cheat-makers, focusing on securing game code and adding monitoring mechanisms seems to be the best approach. The battle against cheat-makers is ongoing, as they constantly find ways to evade detection.
📝 Podcast Summary
Children and Adults Alike Learn Hacking at Defcon Conference
The annual hacker conference, Defcon, has a village for kids called r00tz where they learn how to hack. A 10-year-old girl gave a talk about how she hacked a farming game on her phone by turning off Wi-Fi and changing the clock to get her crops to grow instantly. In another incident, Jack stumbled upon people cheating in video games, which is a well-known fact, but he found that it was a crazy industry. He tried embedding himself in the game-cheating community but failed to get any voice interviews. He chatted with developers, distributors, admins, and players who are open to anything but didn't want to be heard. Jack had to settle for a voice actor to read out the chat messages.
The Lucrative Industry of Online Gaming Cheats
Cheating in online games is a lucrative industry that involves developers selling cheat keys to resellers who then sell them to players. Developers can earn anywhere from a few bucks to $500,000 a month by creating cheats. Since game developers patch games frequently, cheat keys must be constantly updated, which requires a significant amount of money. Besides the developers, resellers also make good money from selling cheat keys. Before someone can buy a cheat key, they must be verified by providing their personal information and a selfie to protect the cheat from theft or competitors. Game developers like Techland are constantly working on ways to secure their games and prevent cheats.
The Battle Against Cheating in Online Games
Cheating in online games is gaining an unfair advantage by exploiting glitches or using automation, which ruins the experience for other players. Game developers take cheating seriously and invest a considerable amount of resources to detect and stop cheaters, including creating their own anti-cheat engines and integrating external anti-cheat software like BattlEye, PunkBuster, Easy Anti-Cheat, and VAC. A dedicated team of game developers works on finding and fixing cheats, and larger games like League of Legends have a team of around 25 people dedicated to this task. Anti-cheat software solutions like BattlEye analyze player behavior, detect cheats, and report them to game developers for further action. This secondary offshoot industry of anti-cheat software solutions has emerged because of the prevalence of cheaters in video games.
The Battle Between Game Developers and Cheat-Makers
The game-cheating industry is a serious problem for game developers who are trying to provide players with a fun experience without cheaters. BattlEye is trying to ruin the cheating industry, while cheat-makers are constantly developing new strategies to evade detection. The cheat-makers and game developers are enemies, and the cheat-makers are sometimes attacked by competitors and other haters. They even have to spend money on DDoS prevention when attacked. The process of buying public cheats is easy, while the private ones require posing as different users, using multiple accounts and separate networks. It's a delicate process that even game developers have to be careful about, as the cheat-makers are watching. Cheats come with a loader that is a wrapper for the game, and all packets come in and out through it.
The Risks of Purchasing Video Game Cheats from Shady Websites
Purchasing video game cheats from shady websites is a risk that involves giving personal data and downloading malware. Developers go to extreme precautions to analyze cheats on a separate network to avoid malware or spyware. Cheats from dodgy websites can be tied to machine IDs and collect sensitive information from the computer like login credentials, IP address or Mac ID. Buying a cheat that is not undetectable can lead to getting banned from the game. Game developers put cheats on a separate network, a virtual machine or analyze it through Remote Desktop, making it hard to share with others. Some cheats are offered voluntarily through a bug bounty program.
The High-Stakes Battle Between Game Developers and Cheat Providers
The gaming industry is highly competitive and sometimes cheats are sold by one cheat provider to a developer to ruin the business of another cheat provider. Developers sometimes need to pose as double agents, acting like a cheater to get their hands on some cheats. Cheating can be a personal process that takes a lot of time and effort, which is why cheat developers might feel emotional after creating a cheat. However, when the cheat gets exposed, it can lead to personal attacks on developers, including doxxing, weird messages and threats. Being more secure about social media is necessary. The battle between game developers and cheat developers is a high stakes game that gets personal.
The serious consequences of cheating in video games
Cheating in video games has serious consequences and can lead to legal consequences and loss of reputation. Cheating may not be visible to everyone, especially in cases of streaming, but it gives an unfair advantage to players, making them look better than they actually are. Cheating in tournaments can lead to cash prize wins, but can also reflect badly on the game and lead to legal action from game developers. Several cheat developers have been caught and sued, with some being teenagers, and luxury cars have been seized from some of the biggest cheat operations in the world. In 2019, even a fifteen-year-old YouTuber was sued by Epic Games for advertising cheats on his channel.
The Never-Ending Battle Against Cheat-Makers in Video Games
Game developers are struggling to stop cheat-makers who infringe on intellectual property rights. Despite issuing cease and desist letters, many cheat-makers continue to produce cheats, and locating them and issuing lawsuits is difficult. Game studios are using high-priced lawyers to intimidate cheat-makers and threaten them with lawsuits, but this approach may not always work. Corporations have been known to bully people with lawsuits in the past, often with devastating results. The best approach for game-makers currently seems to be focusing on securing game code and client and adding monitoring and detection mechanisms to find cheaters and force them to quit. However, cheat-makers are also constantly working to evade detection, making this a never-ending battle.