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Here’s how to protect yourself from DDoS attacks in CS:GO

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The latest update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will support a new means of connecting clients with the game server, called Steam datagram relay (SDR). This is designed to optimise connection speeds and – notably – protect against denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. 

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Fletcher Dunn of Valve explained the changes on Reddit. It gets a bit technical, but we won’t patronise you by suggesting technical stuff isn’t interesting, because we know that you know that it is.

Under the new relay protocol, instead of talking directly with the game server, your client will instead talk to it through one of several relays, automatically selecting the one that theoretically provides the best connection speed.

Dunn mentions that this method has been in use in Dota 2 for “about a year now”, with a majority of US players experiencing a slight increase in ping speeds because their client is choosing a relay closer to them than the game server.

The biggest advantage, though, is that if a DoS attack prevents you from communicating through a particular relay, your client will now automatically switch to a new one within a few seconds. You may experience some momentary stuttering, but your connection should quickly return to normal rather than cutting out altogether.

Dunn says that the new relay protocol will eventually be rolled out to all CS:GO players as it has been with Dota 2, but for now, it’s an “opt-in” arrangement. You can use the game console to force your client to use the new protocol, but you need to do it before your client connects to the game server. Here’s how.

Create a text document named “autoexec” and save it with a .cfg extension. Place it inside your Counter-Strike: Global Offensive folder. Copy the following line (this is a console variable, or ConVar) and paste it into the doc:

  • net_client_steamdatagram_enable_override 1

Save it and run the game. If it’s worked, you’ll be able to tell because the format of the connect address will not be “xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx” as with a normal IP address, but will instead look like “=[A:n:nnnnnnn]”. Dunn says the protocol will be available in “most regions”, but there’s a chance you may not be among the “most”, of course.