Hackers Brag That They're Banning Innocent Battlefield 3 Users

The people at the game-hacking site Artificial Aiming can't stand the anti-cheat service Punkbuster. One of their members is going on the offensive today — aggressively.

They say they're banning innocent Battlefield 3 users — "framing" them, as they put it — to show their disdain for Punkbuster, a service that PC players of the popular first-person shooter are compelled to install when they start the game.

The hackers have narrowed their target to Battlefield 3 users who are playing on servers that are tied into the cheat-detecting service GGC-Stream.

"We are bringing back the unerring of punkbuster back for a third season," Artificial Aiming user anonpbspoofer boasted in a forum post yesterday.

"We have selected ggc-stream as the target since they have the most streaming BF3 servers and makes it very easy to add fake bans. In 2011 we hit them with a mass ban wave and now were are banning real players from battlelog while ggc-stream is totally unaware. We have framed 150+ BF3 players alone."

The results are a torrent of complaints on the Battlefield forums, on Reddit and in our tips box from Battlefield 3 users who were set up with seem to be bogus bans.

"So it looks like the hackers/cheaters are unhappy and are now targeting innocent people?," one user wrote on an official Battlefield forum thread entitled "Punkbuster got hacked. We got banned"

"This is... immoral," a Reddit user wrote. "And something NEEDS to be done about it, ASAP."

The Battlefield Twitter hasn't acknowledged a hack but did run a notice about Punkbuster errors a few hours ago: "We are aware of this concern and are looking into it, now. Thanks for being patient."

An EA spokesperson told Kotaku they are looking into the matter. We've not heard back from Punkbuster yet.

Only PC users appear to be affected, as Punkbuster is not integrated to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.

The anti-Punkbuster hackers very much want credit for this and want to prove they're doing the bans, so they're posting images. Here's one of a supposedly framed user:

PC shooter players often complain that Punkbuster isn't as good at stopping cheaters as it's supposed to be. If the hackers are right, it's also porous enough to have allowed some mischievous players to slip through it and start banning players who did no wrong.

We'll let you know how this shakes out as we find out more.

Update: Some members of Artificial Aiming may be cheering on the supposed hacked bannings that were announced on their forums by user anonpbspoofer, but AA staffer Doober has posted a note, saying, "This has nothing to do with AA. The person who posted the first link is a junior member here."

Update 2: EA says:

We are aware that some Battlefield 3 players are experiencing connection issues with PunkBuster enabled servers. This problem is limited to a small subset of players on PC and will not impact players on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. We are actively looking into the specifics of this issue and we are confident that we will have a permanent solution in place shortly. In the meantime, if a player's connectivity has been affected, we recommend that in the interim they join servers that are not running PunkBuster. There is a filter setting for this in the multiplayer server browser.


    ...so some whiny little script kiddies are annoyed at an anti-cheating service and are ruining it for the rest of us by getting us banned?

    Yeah, that'll REALLY champion their cause -_-

    I remember when games were just about playing...

      Then along came Wario Stadium :(

        lol. Wario Stadium. You made my day.

    I don't like punkbuster either. It kept kicking me from Bad Company 2 because I had two graphics cards installed.

    But "framing" innocent players is ridiculous and immature.

    Punkbuster update just went live for those of us that have to manually update just making sure you are aware.

    I think it's time game Devs more effectively locked this stuff down instead of relying so heavily on 3rd party services like vac/pb to do the hardwork .

    When Dice etc allow these exploits to occur ,start increpting this stuff and untilising the online measures already in place for legit customers anyway to verify integrity prior to launch.

      SHUT UP! Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a perfectly coded game that is unhackable? IMPOSSIBLE! There will always be exploits no matter what. Just look at windows, linux, OSX and IOS etc so many exploits even after so many editions and patches.

    I'm not defending these assholes in the slightest, but PunkBuster is far from innocent in all this..

    I was reading about it on the Battlelog forums last night and there was a screenssot of the original post on the AA forums.. From what I gathered these guys are basically using a console command (not sure if client/server/or some PB backend though) and banning users that way.

    They get the players GUID from elsewhere, enter one line into the console then BAM that innocent user is banhammered.

    They were laughing at how they couldn't believe that PB had such an open hole in their security..

    In any case it's not very funny, which is what I can only assume is their motivation.

      Full blame lies with these people, not Punkbuster. My car can go past 200km/h, but that doesn't mean Ford are responsible for me speeding.

      If someone leaves their front door unlocked and you walk in uninvited, it's still burglary.

        "If someone leaves their front door unlocked and you walk in uninvited, it’s still burglary."

        Yeah, but if the people who sold you the house told you it was 100% safe to do that because they had an infallible security system.....

        Moreover if the security people made it so you couldnt look the door and insisted there was no problem for 4 years - they could be to blame.

        Read the threads about it - this hole has been known in PB since 2008 and they are exploiting it now. EvenBalance need to get their ^&*% together.

        Yeah yeah, hackers are being asshats about it, hackers are alwasy - but if PB are going to stick their fingers in their ears and ignore this issue and then state that their system is infallible then this is 100% expected.

      The guys at AA are doing this because the anti-cheat measures have been working: they are loosing business. And this is their responce. Its not just about the lulz. But they are trying to have the last laugh. But soon, people will be saying to them 'WHOSE LAUGHING NOW?'

        But I like Anti-Aliasing, it makes games look good!

        Oh, what? Sorry, nevermind.

          PB screenies coming up blank? lol go bf2

    Reddit crying like a little bitch?

    You don't say...

    Wow what a bunch of wankers. Reminds me of those little shits that are not allowed to play with a toy so they break it so no one else can play with it.
    Should get anon to hack these idiots.

      But that would create a whining paradox.

    Its things like this that remind me that my patience DOES have a limit. If I happened to know someone IRL who was involved in this, I would probably beat the shit out of them for ruining gaming for innocent people.

    Immature, and outright stupid. Would love to see a massive backlash against the people from this website.


      While i have had reservations for these "hacktivists" actions in the past I can still in principle respect some of the reasoning behind the actions...

      This however is basically some *censored* script kiddy who can't "cheatz no morez" and just being a total ass hat about the situation.

    This really annoys me and angers. I enjoyed playing BF3 but at the moment I can't stand playing it. Always coming across hackers. (Plus a major patch is needed to balance and fix a few things)

    I just wish EA / DICE would hurry up and solve this issue. I'm afraid it's going to be an issue that will remain the whole duration of the games life and the game will be abandoned at this stage. =/

    all i can say is "TROLOLOLOLOLLL"

    Now I remember why I enjoy single player games more, too many spoilt little shits ruining good multiplayer. If their not hacking, their crying and calling you a hacker.

    I'm the type of person that if I ever meet anyone who openly told me they use this artificial aiming shit, I will snap every one of their fingers.

    I'm not even joking. I will lock you up and break them until you can't use a mouse anymore.

    "if a player’s connectivity has been affected, we recommend that in the interim they join servers that are not running PunkBuster"

    If these guys hate punkbuster that much, why don't THEY just go and play on a server without PunkBuster in the first place and leave other innocent players alone? Dickheads.

      Because they lack your username

        Well said.

        Of course they lack it, they cheat anyway.

    So how long will game manufacturers put up with this rubbish until they turn around and say "we no longer support PC games - our games are being hacked to often - creating a negative image about our company" You don't see the PS or Xbox games being hacked.
    I don't want to play on a console, I like playing games on my PC - AA and associated idiot hackers will be the downfall of PC gaming.

    This shows that they dont care about anyone but them selves by baning people who play the game just so they can have hacks in all the servers what a bunch of tool bags saying they are doing it for a good reason. if you dont like to playing a game without hacks DONT PLAY GAMES mind u there arnt really playing them any way.

    Remember how CoD on PC used to be protected by Punkbuster, then it went with Steam's crap excuse for a protection system VAC and all hell broke lose and CoD died on PC.

    Yeah, stop complaining about Punkbuster. EA will sort these guys out.

      COD died on PC? What parallel dimension do you live in? There are tonnes of idiots that still buy into the same rehashed shit.

    cut their fingers off* lawl!

    i beleive that you will never evr get rid of hackers !!! they are here to stay...i congratulate dice for at least trying to do this but really it is impossible the remedy is simple but not as fun you play only with your friends your known users

    Lol, that's my player in that screenshot on this article. I literally just read this now. I never even realized there was a fake GGC ban on my account. I no longer have the same player name (which wouldn't affect a GUID ban anyway) but I did search that GUID and found nothing on it so the issue must have resolved itself. I never had any server issues I can recall and never had to appeal any bans to PB/EB that I can recall either. A quick look at my stats at the time would show that not even a bad hacker is that bad. :P A quick check of my historical stats from that time would show a steady downward trend. Also, I'm not from the UK nor have ever stepped foot in the UK either. Nice to be marginally famous for a few minutes though I guess but nobody ever mentioned it to me.

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