Blog: Backing the cheat accusation.

First, just to put things straight before diving into this scandal. I have been VAC banned twice over the 10 years of play, for using external programs online on FFA only. There has never been a single incident of gaining an advantage in tournament play or any given match with teams involved. Second, there will not be any namedropping of any kind here. Any player/team mentioned, if any, are examples and I have no proof or any ideas about these people cheating – it’s merely to provide a set of scenarios.

The awakening
Over the last week, mainly following the ban of smn, the talk about cheating both on- and offline has arisen and become the talk of the day. Finally! I have been pointing this out for 4-5 years, almost since the very dawn of the CS:Source era and are still trying to gain some focus on something, that unfortunately is very real and very much happening. In fact, I have been trying talking with the players and the organizers about this for a half decade, but with the same result every time. A wall of disbelief and utterly naivety has stopped any effort to shine some light on the problem, despite given tools to do so. One year at Copenhagen Games, I created a tool that I knew was going to catch 5+ players at the event and maybe even more, handed it to the admins and explain everything. It took some talking, but eventually they conceded and said, “Ok, let’s do this!” What happened? They trashed it seconds later and not taking any note what so ever. The same year a team suddenly played the tournament of their lives, weeks after being mediocre at another event and everybody was pointing fingers. I’m not saying they cheated, I’m saying we could have done a job checking them with the tool and maybe removed some of the pointing fingers.

Whats going on?
A huge amount of players, even top players, is using external programs to gain an advantage on- and offline. This has been going on for years and it seems that the list, if it ever gets exposed with proof, is massive and disturbing. There has been a team, winning more than one event within the last 5 years, where all 5 players used a cheat that I will explain about later on. Besides that, more than 20 players that are considered top tier players, has used this within the last couple of years. That’s not even the scary part, the scary part is that I might only know about the top of the iceberg.

How do you know this?
While working on the tool, I got the information about 2-3 major private cheat provides, that I decided to use in my case. I wanted to learn what they did, how and if they had ONE glitch that the tool could grap and bust people that way. The first year I got nothing, other than the chance to get behind the scenes and start to climb their own little society. After a year, I have gained the needed respect to begin talking (on steam etc) with the providers themselves and that’s where the gut spilling began.

What are we up against?
As mentioned, I probably only know about a pinch of whats out there. One of the most disturbing things I learned about, was a small program (40kb) that could be placed in the memory of a mouse, inside a driver, on a USB stick or anything and that did nothing else than be associated with a normal program. Let’s say, Spotify, just to clarify it. So when the user has the program launched ones, just by clicking it (it runs silent, nothing is shown) it will activate every time Spotify was running until a reboot occurred.
The program Itself, reminds me of what was known as vt.exe, a small aimbot that helps you without being blatant. It helps you when you are close enough to the target, aim wise, and just brings the shots to the head. Furthermore It has a sound function, that beeps every time you move your aim close to an enemy, no matter walls or smokes between you. This is VERY powerful considering a top match, where every information is matchwinning. Anyone recall a team winning a major, that seemed to know everything? Or a topteam consistently getting a “Stack” right?

LAN tournaments are not a secure site, when it comes to cheaters - its more like the perfect coverstory for the whole charade. Some of the kills, players and plays over the last 5 years has been lablled as unreal, unhuman and out of this world... Well, maybe it really was?

Valve! Someone call Valve?
They most likely know this and have know for years. The only thing that stops these really private providers, are updates to the game as it changes some essential that a hack needs to work (offsets etc) and if you think about it, how many times has valve suddenly updated the game, during or just before a major tournament, they knew was ongoing?

What can we do then?
Most important of all, protect the real talents here. SMN and Crzy has pointed fingers in any direction, without having any proof. I’m not saying the players mentioned are not cheating, I’m saying that there is no proof that they are. From what I know, there is about 1-2 cheats on almost every top team out there, if you do basic math – but hey, that leaves a majority of talented dedicated players that doesn’t deserve to take the fall.

We should create an anticheat that should be used on- and offline in every serious tournament. This anticheat should basicly take over the computer while running and only allow a small array of programs, that are identified by the most unique ID type (not programname) and restart the computer before every game. Putting itself in front as the first software to start up with the computer, in order to monitor everything starting from there and log it to an external server or location. We should put more energy into doing random “dopingtests” after each match and basicly remove the game from the cheaters hometurf. They are cheating because its damn easy and nothing is done to handle this and my guess would be that 90 % of them, would go away tournamentwise, if we made them unsure about what to expect.

The problem is first and foremost not the cheaters, but the mentality and visibility regarding the problem.
Bloody vent.exe
2014-11-20 16:11
Guys forgotten about this ? youtube.com/watch?v=BjxBDyjShuY If they had hax like that back in 2006, Cant even imagine how advance they hacks today are.
2014-11-20 18:01
bloody dutchies :p
2014-11-20 19:05
+1
2014-11-21 17:08
Nice written Dennis, I will agree to a certain extent that we got problems with cheating. About the LAN environment I think is a lot of over execration, I can not possibly believe that players of the very very top caliber is risking their whole careers because of cheating.
2014-11-20 16:13
#3
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
Thats exactly the problem, no one believe this. Still the providers posted logs from talks with players, that wrote things that no one other than players inflicted in the matches (topmatches, finales etc) could have known. Furthermore, some of these players payed a MASSIVE amount of money to the providers, some even % of winnings.
2014-11-20 16:17
#4
Romania blg- 
Proof? Good points anyway.
2014-11-20 16:19
#5
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
I have the logs from the cheat providers, but these could just as well be manufactured (by me), so wouldnt call that solid. As said in the introduction, I cant/wont drop names without solid proof. Despite that, I urge people to think about this, its very real.
2014-11-20 16:21
So basically, the logs could have been manufactured by the providers too? We dont know this, and I have a hard time believing this is a thing. And maybe the providers did this to get more credit for their cheat and more respect within that commnunity, and created fake logs and other stuff.
2014-11-20 18:13
#81
 | 
Denmark kozality 
#3 "Thats exactly the problem, no one believe this. Still the providers posted logs from talks with players, that wrote things that no one other than players inflicted in the matches (topmatches, finales etc) could have known." I'm not stating my opinion, just think about it.
2014-11-21 10:40
Im still choked up about all this lan-cheating that has been a hot topic for the last three days. Me and Frederik will definetly come up with something. But it is infact really hard to penentrate this problem. It's not just me testing their computers ingame before an offical match, the program is probably toggleable, witch makes it impossible for me to check. If there is a something like "shift+1+f" to activate... Then we got alot of work, I think we need to tackle this problem from the other side, something soft-ware based program that checks activities within the computers. But at the same time, there is a lot of fingers pointed, still not a single evidence. Witch is making me confused.
2014-11-20 16:21
#10
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
Exactly, its almost impossible for you as an admin to bust anyone with the current tools and mentality. We need to acknowledge first and then act according - there is nothing a single admin member can do out of the box. Thats also the reason that no proof has been given. If you were, as an admin or outsider, dared to accuse anyone, you would get shot down.
2014-11-20 16:27
Like, one step, a small one but still a step forward we are making is forbidding players to have cellphones on the scene, before and during game. Its also one of these outside-game cheats that we have not thought about, what happens if a manager or friend is texting player [A] if it's B1 and player [B] if it's b2. They can have the phone on vibration in their pockets and just feel the signal. But to be honest, this lan cheating thing, if it exists I will feel terrible for this Scene. I might even think that can kill the game as a whole.
2014-11-20 16:30
#12
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
There has been a cheat, that (as you said) vibrates your phone whenever a enemy is near) Sorry, but it does :(
2014-11-20 16:33
Unfortunately it does exist; people will almost always do whatever they can to get an advantage in a situation that involves money, regardless of the lengths that need to be taken to get that advantage. Which is why you see these type of posts, there is a lot more inside shady shit that you probably won't ever hear about, but its basically human nature to go to great lengths to gain an advantage over others.
2014-11-20 19:20
install keylogging software on all machines? After the game you can just check all the keys pressed and see the weird combinations (as you should have access to player logs and know what their binds are). This doesn't eliminate all the possibilities, of course, but still a step in the right direction.
2014-11-20 16:41
Once again, that takes like 10 People on full time to check all key-logs, It's a good idea, but impossible to realize
2014-11-20 16:43
I don't mean that you should employ this immediately and immediately accuse people if you see something weird. This will simply allow you to gather information. After all, the question whether anyone cheats at lan or not is open - this will give you a hint. Like, it's not an actual way to fight cheating, it's a way to find out if something indeed does go on. So, you don't need 10 people for this - just yourself as you can analyze this gathered information at your leisure as you should have time borders in which to search (when the actual games where played). And I doubt that these logs would be too big. But I understand that gathering 10 logs from each game and then looking through them could be very boring and there are probably more efficient ways to control players than this.
2014-11-20 16:57
Yes, Infact when the event is live, under those Im working from 07-03 in the morning, under the event there is literately work 24/7. But Im taking all feedback as good feedback, we are discussing this problem internally.
2014-11-20 17:02
#45
 | 
Czech Republic DarkAspecT 
RobbaN what is your role of progaming right now? You take care of going LAN right or? Still I miss your plays in SK of 1.6 times :/ However.. This cheating makes me wonder if CS should have so much attention.. Like everyone can go fully cheating and become progamer.
2014-11-20 18:20
Im not RobbaN from SK. I have never been a player at all to be honest :)
2014-11-20 18:38
lol
2014-11-21 11:50
Nah, just have a bash script check the logs for keypresses that are not typical. Then wrtie that to a file for each player and then manually look over them.
2014-11-20 17:28
anti cheat software @ LAN , why not? If someone was cheating at lan it would be an aimbot obviously. Take it from me, there were silent aimbots that u wouldnt think twice about even if you were standing behind the person cheating even in 1.6, ofc there will be at least as good aimbots in csgo or even better.
2014-11-21 07:15
Please give some proof
2014-11-20 16:21
#9
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
I will never expose anyone without solid proof. My intention with the blog could be boiled down to this little phrase (as the first 3-4 comments here shows very well) "The problem is first and foremost not the cheaters, but the mentality and visibility regarding the problem."
2014-11-20 16:24
Okay, fuck it I believe you now Kqly is banned xD
2014-11-20 19:55
can somebody plz do what he wrote and just get a program that will monitor every process after a reboot. its 2014 this is fucking simple and a basic step
2014-11-20 16:51
Problem with that is that it is still local security. Besides manipulating the monitor program, for all you know the whole box is compromised. What happens when a rootkit is deployed before the monitor is activated that will hide the process/files? The monitor would still make the same API calls, but if that call does something funky to hide the data/information how is the monitor program going to see the difference? It wont. There are a lot of things you can do with client side security that can be effective, but unless you have a strictly controlled environment they can all be negated. Even with a strictly controlled environment you cannot be 100% sure. You might have a lot of fancy monitoring tools and restricted privileges so that players cant install any rootkits to bypass the monitors, but then you get to the area of exploiting OS bugs. A privilege might prevent you from dropping a rootkit, but if you manage to find a privilege escalation exploit you're set anyway. Right now I'd say having full security/detection against players cheating is simply an illusion. Steps can be made though to at least attempt to make it challenging enough for the cheat suppliers so that they cannot guarantee their software works and has a very slight, if at all, chance of being detected. If the risk of being caught increases you'll probably see less people taking that risk (or some being banned). It might seem like a trivial problem, but it's actually very complex.
2014-11-20 17:08
I was thinking about something like this. What if valve develops a special Closed Source OS (Variant of Linux maybe) just for competition purpose? Will it help? All legal processes will have some Valve signatures (One way hashed). All other processes can't even be executed as they don't have the signature. No player can even be allowed to download drivers. All will be available through some central repository. Is this viable?
2014-11-20 21:35
+1 or maybe use linux? could that work? or iOS ? KAPPA
2014-11-22 00:55
+1
2014-11-21 07:17
#17
Israel SNRW 
interesting, its really hard to believe though :p
2014-11-20 16:56
I could not agree more!
2014-11-20 16:57
nvmnvmnvm.. good read nvm.
2014-11-20 17:01
I feel sorry that I even started to follow e-sports. Should have just played the damn game... Had many people/players/teams to look up to in this game. Now its just... Wtf do I even... As a blog and post great job, atleast it got me thinking and believen.
2014-11-20 17:06
#25
 | 
Norway beastin 
Don't know anything about all this, but I do know several people that own and use so called design cheats without ever being busted, some of them invisible and ready for offline use, and some of them not. In any case, I first heard of this problem back in 2006, and it's baffling to me why so little is being done about it.
2014-11-20 17:05
"I’m not saying the players mentioned are not cheating, I’m saying that there is no proof that they are. From what I know, there is about 1-2 cheats on almost every top team out there" - you don't have proof yet you are sure, so you decided that your info was accurate without solid proof. is that really the mentality you need to have when busting cheaters? you basically say the same as he did only more vaguely, there is no difference. if cheaters and worst yet cheat providers are the only source you have to say that every top team has cheaters maybe you should really keep quiet until you have proof because honestly it seems weak.
2014-11-20 17:06
There is no way to stop privat cheats. Maybe only the major names as x22, ... (only one I know, lol) I don't think you guys know a lot about computers ... There is no "ultimate" program to stop cheating. The only way to stop cheaters offline is by setting up the computer and not let them connect to the internet. Set up LAN Steam accounts, block every hardware port, ect...; It's like cheating in school, if you cheat like everyone other you'll get caught eventually. Unique methods are the key. GL HF!
2014-11-20 17:11
+1 Not sure what games championships was I watching(lol), think it was DotA2 some year when Alliance won over NaVi. Teams(whole team of 5's) played in seperate glassboxes - closed enviorment also good for noise cancelation is it not? (Probably what they we're using it for tho xD) If you could apply this + the lan steam accounts thing to csgo with few modifications/tweaks it could work.
2014-11-20 17:19
Those noise canceling boxes are really expensive and the DOTA 2 it was the international I think it had a prize money of 1 million? I can't remember Don't think they can afford it for csgo
2014-11-20 17:29
I don't know what to believe anymore. This is some tour de france shit going on here. Everytime a team overperforms, no one is going to believe they are legit. If there really are some players from the top 5 teams that have been cheating their way to money for several years, i don't even. They should be jailed (not f0rest since he is already there)
2014-11-20 17:23
When seeing a post from vnG: youtube.com/watch?v=qsheUrwOt78#t=124
2014-11-20 17:25
This is a good one.
2014-11-20 17:30
good read
2014-11-20 17:41
then problem is the cheaters..period
2014-11-20 17:46
Call me a conspiration theorist, but I somehow feel that the reason why NiP went from 87-0 to shit is cheat. It obviously takes some time to write a good, LAN-secure, topteam-tier private cheat. NiP destroyed everything, but after developers had enough time to create their private cheats, all these new players started showing up out of nowhere and destroyed NiP.
2014-11-20 17:49
#41
device | 
Estonia nubchik 
ofcourse, cheats how else would you win against the glorious, undisputed nip? it's totally not because the game's become more popular, people have had more time to practise overall and to master csgo. nah, nip is god amirite.
2014-11-20 18:06
as long as nip is clean (and hell, i want to die if people like f0rest are cheater...) this is at least part of the reason. time will tell how big the influence really was.
2014-11-21 16:50
I dont mean to put your theory to sleep or something like that. But you know, all these "new players coming from nowhere" are actually coming from prior versions of the game. Source SHOX, ex6tence, friberg (?) - cant name any other that are coming from that version. 1.6 Snax, paszaBiceps, Taz, neo, etc. They arent just random names popping out of nowhere.
2014-11-20 18:16
#86
 | 
Poland aLEKAYYY 
Snax hacked @1.6
2014-11-21 12:02
Golden rule of internet: NO PIC, NO PROOF. He was banned for 4 years for the penalty points or w/e points they we're and got unbanned right after due to a system glitch.
2014-11-21 13:17
#92
 | 
Poland aLEKAYYY 
hltv.org/news/7547-esl-bans-zaider-cosmo.. btw Kuben hacked as well, he admitted and THREW HIMSELF ON THE MERCY OF THE COURT so to speak
2014-11-21 16:04
Guess thats the wrong link since there is nothing about Kuben/NEO :P Altho I might be mistaking, I dont follow the players steps in "history". Atleast its nice to have a convo on the topic with someone :D
2014-11-21 20:59
#101
 | 
Poland aLEKAYYY 
Where did I say something about Neo? :D I meant this link for Snax, here's link 'bout Kuben, in Polish tho' esports.pl/news/skrucha-kubena/15644/str.. you have his statement in the bottom of the news, although it was of course before he joined G5 (PGS back then). Sure man, it's always fun to talk in a civilized manner :D
2014-11-22 00:42
Kuben is Neo ;D
2014-11-22 12:28
good blog :)
2014-11-20 17:59
tldr; who is this?
2014-11-20 18:18
vnG? An old national team player from the early source days. Also played 1.6, but only on some medicore teams.
2014-11-20 18:35
Toggling during pistol round would't surprise me. If you are going to cheat on LAN, you gotta do it right.
2014-11-20 18:50
With all this noise around I think that dhw will have funny outcome. Less materials for highlights and sick actions, you will see, it's almost start from the scratch if big numbers of teams were involved. Boy i'm fnatic fan, but they're so dodgy now when I see all of this> First time I've heard some thing from my friend in france, long time ago, that player AREA had some kind of aimbot installed in his mouse, and everytime that he got his xhair near head he would instantly headshot the guy. First thing was interp, but later somebody has found out that he's using private hack. That was at some random LAN. I can't prove this, since I've heard it from 3rd person, but it's really plausable
2014-11-20 18:51
#54
Netherlands jwtt 
^this and someone said (i thought scream not sure) that no1 could touch his mouse or else he would get mad
2014-11-20 19:02
#55
vsm | 
Sweden deejaro 
kqly
2014-11-20 19:03
#61
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
KQLY is just one of many :(
2014-11-20 20:36
Very well put, it's really good to see that there are some people out there who have some credibility that are willing to talk about the cheating problem with top-tier players, because these people need to be exposed and there aren't nearly enough people that are aware of this problem.
2014-11-20 21:16
dude, i very much dislike you've talked about programs ran from mouses. OMERTA should work here. stop giving hints and shit about infected mouses and headsets. cheating is at a level no1 can imagine and i personally know a coder who have sold his program to 4 players (all 4 in top5 teams). but i'll never say how those programs are started. all i can say it's that it's pure awesomeness and it can't be detected. it's like trying to find a virus now but you know nothing about what it does, what are the simptoms and so forth. however, i kindly ask you to delete your blog. use hltv for jokes and have fun, not to turn people on, traitor. LAST NIGHT, while i was very drunk, i went pretty mad and made a thread with a list of cheaters i know they purchased programs. kqly was first on that list and the second one was flusha. list was deleted 15 minutes after. let's see. i had 12 players on that list, including my known 4. kqly was one of them and he has a teammate who was using same program (or they alternated inmatches).
2014-11-20 21:27
Since you have magical powers, will VG advance to Serie 2 this season? Love :--------------)
2014-11-20 23:33
#77
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
The answer is: Yes.
2014-11-21 09:45
#67
lamp | 
Russia lamp` 
interesting and actually very scaring information :\ ty for the blog
2014-11-21 01:28
Forget about an anticheat. Everything is hackable. Instead, just create something that the user has no access to. Run cs:go on linux. All the user can provide is their config. No mouse drivers are allowed besides the pre-installed ones.
2014-11-21 06:26
You said you would reveal the team with 5 players who were cheating ... Did I misread or something?
2014-11-21 07:43
#78
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
Ye, sorry if I made you believe this. I can boil it down to 3 teams, but does not have solid proof which of the three teams are the right one. Therefore, none mentioned, none sold out.
2014-11-21 09:46
#72
 | 
Finland j4NZKUE 
Great article. About the Anti-cheat, why isn't it possible for valve to create a "professional match" that will launch an anti-cheat that watches what processes are running and activated. It will just allow standard OS processes, the game and lets say spotify etc.. Then game won't launch if something "suspicious" is running. Steam gives notification that you have to close this and this to get game running, would only be activated on the professional matches to keep the big playerbase active (Valve doesn't want to make game a hassel to play for casuals).
2014-11-21 07:53
#79
vnG | 
Denmark vnG 
Or go to even greater lengths. Create a Valve OS, that only supports a few programs, none other. Force pro tournament players to play from that platform.
2014-11-21 09:47
Nice
2014-11-21 08:48
#80
allu | 
Denmark Brumme 
Scary but good blog!
2014-11-21 10:19
#93
World danm 
*cough* fnatic
2014-11-21 16:20
#94
Sweden heiK 
Create Counter-Strike OS. Only cs allowed to run, problem solved! :3
2014-11-21 16:26
This is embarrassing
2014-11-21 16:33
Nice blog mate, really good stuff to read. Im not suprised that this day would come - Cheaters have always been tempted to "boost" theire level ingame to make them self noticed. (mostly to get a chance at a higher level) With the increasing money in CS (Stickers / streaming etc), I'm sure only more pro players/semi-pro players would get tempted to do this. If im not mistaken, KQLY even got donated 1000$ from motar2k some few weeks ago? -_-
2014-11-21 17:07
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