Valve just dropped the hammer on Counter-Strike cheaters. Big time. For the past 24 hours, reports have been coming in from all over the Counter-Strike-o-sphere that a new ban wave hit cheaters hard. Data-mining site SteamDB puts the number at 11,435 (and counting) bans administered by the VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) system today. That's a significant spike — the largest in more than a year.
Now, VAC is designed to catch red-handed rule-breakers in the act, so it tends to zap a couple of thousand people per day. What makes this spike important is the underlying mechanics of it. From the looks of things, Valve upgraded VAC to detect multiple hard-to-catch paid cheat programs. I won't list their names here, but I will post pictures of banned dickheads sobbing into the empty space where their knife collections once rested (via TwitchDanmark):
And here are messages sent to users of a couple of large cheat providers:
I reached out to Valve to get a better understanding of how they struck the latest blow in their ongoing battle against CSGO's massive cheating problem, but they have yet to reply. However, in-the-know players chalk it up to Untrusted bans, which occur server-side and boot people when they perform specific actions that are supposed to be impossible.
The downside of this, however, is that players don't get banned unless they log in and start cheating. Now that cheat communities and providers are aware of this, they will likely adapt. And thus, the battle continues.