Valve Anti-Cheat likes to stalk its prey. It’ll flag up and silently follow cheats for days or even weeks until – just before Christmas – it strikes, disguised as a scotch pine and waving its hammer without impunity.
CS community members conservatively estimate that over 1,600 players were banned a little over 12 hours ago for using hacks originating from Russia, China and the West.
There’s no chance of reprieve – Valve have an official zero-tolerance policy on cheating and “will not lift VAC bans under any circumstances”.
VAC is an automated system first introduced in the original Counter-Strike in 2002. If a player connects to a secured server from a PC with identifiable cheats installed, VAC will ban the user from playing on all secured servers in the future. There’s no appeal process – no human element at all.
Valve define a cheat as a third-party mod designed to give one player an advantage over another. Chat programs are generally considered safe.
Perhaps those affected can make use of their newfound free time to help a surprised parent make Christmas dinner this year. Have you noticed any cheating in CS of late? The Global Offensive bird surfing bug doesn’t count.