Notorious Team Fortress 2 Hacker Says He Regrets What He's Done

Notorious Team Fortress 2 Hacker Says He Regrets What He's Done

A couple days ago, the Team Fortress 2 community came across a video of a notorious hacker getting a taste of his own medicine. They were ecstatic. Responses ranged from "serves him right" to "screw that guy."

The hacker goes by the handle Max Box, and — despite the fact that he's created a veritable infamy factory in the form of his YouTube channel, where he posts videos of his hackerly exploits — he doesn't want to be considered a notorious hacker. He definitely doesn't see himself that way, and he finds it hard to keep his power trip going when he remembers that other players are praying to the great lord GabeN for his painful death.

A compilation video of Max Box's TF2 hacks.

Max Box didn't intend to become a hacker. Not at first, anyway.

"Back in 2011, I uploaded a Minecraft video, and tried doing this for about two years, and I just didn't get anywhere," he told me. "I was stuck at about 300 subscribers, and I gave up. During that time, I found [a popular Team Fortress 2 cheat program], and made a video of it just for old time's sake. It got quite a lot of views, and I decided to make a channel to make my own, and it just grew from there."

That's right: Max Box hacks TF2 with tools that let him see people through walls/cloaking abilities/etc and aim almost perfectly, and he does it in plain view of The Man (or The Mann, I suppose). But he still hasn't been banned. Why? Because Valve's automated anti-cheat system doesn't detect his version of the program he's using. Valve, meanwhile, doesn't seem interested in taking matters into their own hands — which is kinda shocking until you remember that we're talking about Valve.

"The hack I use is VAC undetected, meaning that their anticheat system can't recognise it and ban me," Max Box explained. "And yes, I've said and shown many times that I use this stuff, but Valve doesn't seem to manually ban. I believe only three or four people have ever been manually banned [in TF2], but take that number with a grain of salt. I don't know for sure."

So, at least for now, he's got it made. But the fact remains that he and people like him ruin TF2 games for other people — frustrate and infuriate them, send them to bed in a rage with impossible shots and nearly godlike powers. At first, Box didn't even think about it that way. He was just playing a game and having a great time with his newfound might and popularity. But as time has passed, it started weighing on his conscience.

Hackers giving Max Box "a taste of his own medicine."

"I do feel bad about hacking, now at least," he said. "In the early stages, you almost form a wall because of the sheer amount of taboo fun you're having. I mean, you're doing something that everyone says is bad, and it gives a bit of a thrill. But now, knowing that it just completely ruins gameplay for everyone else, it just puts a bad taste in your mouth."

In recent months, Max Box has tried responding to players who post negative threads about him on places like the Team Fortress 2 subreddit. Instead of fighting anger with anger, he's been frank, often stating that it's unfortunate that hacking TF2 is (relatively) easy, and that he knows the banhammer is coming for him. Case in point, Box's response to a letter from a Redditor who, er, isn't exactly his biggest fan:

Redditor: "You know what makes me happy inside? The day, maybe weeks, months, years from now, where Valve fixes VAC. And it detects your LMAOBOX. And you get banned. And you lose all those shiny items."

Box: "It's gonna happen, don't get me wrong. The day will come when there will be a big red badge on my account, and I'll stop. I'll simply stop, that's the end game."

Redditor: "Keep joking max box. Keep being all open about your hacks. Keep laughing in the face of danger. One day, your childish behaviour will be your own undoing. And you will lose items worth hundreds of dollars."

Box: "Again, it's coming someday. It's just a matter of when."

I asked Box why he comes off as strangely at peace with the idea of losing an account that, among other things, contains hundreds of dollars' worth of items, and he was equally frank in his response:

"Ninety nine per cent of my items have come from cheating," he said. "Cheating brought them in, and cheating might eventually take them out. I got banned [once] a very long time ago, I believe just over a year. It was terrible, but now I realise that's always the hate for most cheaters if they don't stop."

And yet, Max Box continues to cheat. Admittedly, a few of his more recent videos have been uploads from his Twitch stream, where he can't cheat because it's against Twitch's terms of service. But he's reached a point where — bizarrely, even hypocritically — he's firmly against the practice of hacking despite functioning as a billboard advertisement for one of TF2's most notorious cheat programs.

"Any progress into stopping cheats is good, in my opinion," he told me. "Hacking, in many games, will always be a part of it. But I don't really like it. For the hacker, they don't generally feel in the wrong because they're having an amazing time, but that cancels out all the people asking for them to stop."

Notorious Team Fortress 2 Hacker Says He Regrets What He's Done

Comments on one of Box's videos.

Max Box hasn't stopped yet. He's "eased off," but he hasn't quit cold turkey. However, it's getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that a whole lot of people dislike him — especially in light of yet another Reddit flare up, which likely began with players wanting to teach him a lesson. He's worried that he's starting to dislike himself.

"I have more than a million views [on my videos], but I don't like calling myself a big hacker," he said. "I don't have a real reason for this, but it might be that if I did, I'd be accepting that this is who I am, and I'm definitely not happy with the reputation I have."

He wants to stop cheating completely. Or at least, he says he does. And he wants people to know that he's sorry.

"I am stopping cheating," he told me. "I've already stopped using the hack, as well as dropped all of the links in my videos. The next step is making an apology video and phasing out the hacking videos. I am worried, but it's still a step in the right direction."

Will all of that actually happen, though? Right now all we have is Box's word, and well, it's tough to shake a bad reputation. Here's hoping.

Top image credit: Patrick Jr.


Comments

    Fake sincerity as far as I'm concerned. The dudes a real piece of work who's ruined games for many people and made a profit from it in several ways. My views of him will always be negative.

      Wouldnt suprise me, most people wont, but some people DO forgive, as i will.

      Ive tried enough stuff to not go the long way.

    Still never quite understood the appeal of hacking. I mean there's no bragging rights, because your score and skill are completely fake whilst using hacks. I mean you can brag, but you know you cheated - and if you're as blatant as this guy, everyone else knows - even without releasing a video of it because it's so obvious even ingame. As for tehlulz, surely it'd get boring after 10 minutes?

    I don't too worked up over these kinds of people, because they'll always be around. Always have been. Sure they ruin your game on occasion, but especially with something like TF2 there's hundreds of other servers to play on. You can just shake your head, say 'What a tool.' and move on.

    Don't give them any more attention.

    Last edited 30/07/15 10:59 am

      Exactly, unless it was Day of Defeat: Source because it seems like that game only has 1 server with people on it in Australia these days.

    Well i mean, calling him a hacker is an overstatement, hes just a script kiddy with fans.
    so him choosing to keep hacking means he chooses to be part of the problem which, in my eyes, makes him a douchecanoe

    I don't play TF2 and don't know this guys history, so I am indifferent to him; although I despise cheating in a game so I'm no supporter.
    But I do think, even if unintentionally, he is making a point.
    VAC doesn't work, and it needs to be fixed, as exemplified by his blatant and obvious hacking that has gone unnoticed by VAC for so long.
    In IT terms, you could almost think of him as a white-hat hacker.

      Except a white hat hacker wouldn't make money off Twitch and YouTube using the exploit. Pretty sure a white hat hacker finds faults and brings them to people's attention - he doesn't sit there exploiting the system for profit again and again - that just makes you a hacker.

      I think the white/grey/black hat thing only allows for you to call yourself white-hat if you have permission in advance to identify the flaws.
      Doing it unauthorized but with good intentions is grey-hat.

      If someone breaks into your home and tells you your locks are weak, it doesn't matter that they gave you helpful information and didn't take anything; they've still broken into your home without permission - it's still illegal and a violation of your space and privacy. Same holds for hacking.

    I don't get the point in TF2. I watched his aimbot video... There was a bunch of stuff on there that isn't even impossible for average players. The revolver and sniper stuff was super obvious with the 7 headshots in a row.. but it's just an aimbot. He didn't really impress me at all.
    Not to mention the fact that all he has to do is change his name, and he is nobody again.
    /shrug
    Storm in a teacup.

    I just don't see the appeal of hacking. I imagine it would be like playing on a server full of under age kids, where it's fun to wipe out the other team a couple of times, but it would get boring after ten minutes or so.

      I accidentally queued for a newbie Dota 2 game last night (I was playing in an internet cafe and forgot to change the default search settings). It's pretty much the same thing - you get your beyond godlike spree, but there isn't anything even close to the sense of satisfaction of winning a tough match.

      But hey, to each their own I guess.

        That's like playing against bots when you're already aware of the basics. Edit: And when you've learnt your hero/champion.

        Last edited 07/10/15 10:24 pm

          I actually play against bots quite regularly - I find I need a dud game to warm up when I start a session, and playing against bots is a pretty stress-free way to loosen up the ol' fingers.

          Unfair bots only though - they can still be a bit of a challenge sometimes.

    Shadowolf likes how this guy is apologizing and using hacks less. Yet top commits were all this guy is still a ass. I played the game once but got bored so I can't say anything for those that do. But not alot of people realize that what their doing is a ass thing and try to do what this guy is doing. Some will keep reveling in the power of being a lord of asswipes. Think about that.

    His so call "apology" will just be temporary I'm sure of it. Once you're a hacker, the taste will never feel the same without hacking/ cheating through games. It's too late to apologies, the damage has been done. You have been known for it.

    Last edited 12/08/15 8:49 am

    On a game like tf2, where there are hundreds of beautiful low ping local servers, I seriously wouldn't bat an eyelid if I came across a hacker.

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