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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Hogan

Never a dull moment

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

A game security perspective on the year so far

As we put the last two month’s showcases behind us and look forward to a summer and fall of new games coming out, it feels appropriate to look back at the first half of the year and take stock of what’s been happening in gaming - in our case, the world of cheating and game security.

First up, we’ve seen cheat developers and vendors put even more effort, and skill, into their marketing.

Just as Nike and Red Bull pay for their brand to be associated with winning athletes to bask in the shared glory, cheat developers are now paying gamers to use and/or promote their cheats when they compete.

How they do this varies from dev to dev, but one popular way is to incentivise players to change their username on screen to that of the cheat developer in high kill games.

We saw this from UEMODZ (when they used that name) and more recently Noble3 who promised,”We are giving away a free 10 day key as a reward if anyone climbs up to top 10 and renames himself (sic) to something with ‘Noble’ in the name’.

Similarly, we recently conducted some research which involved using a cheat from Iniuria US, a CSGO cheat vendor.

When we turned on “Rage Mode’ a message promoting Inuiria and their website, popped up next to our player name on the leaderboard - during the game!

It may seem strange that a player would be happy getting called out as a cheat during a game, but once they’re raging, it’s already obvious to everyone else playing.

The flip side to this has no doubt been the rising popularity, and supply, of cheats with adjustable features designed to remain undetected for as long as possible - aka closet or legit cheats.

We’ve covered these in previous articles and they’ve continued to proliferate. At the same time vendors are continuing to add new features to their cheats, such as ‘no flash’ and ‘no stun’ being added to aimbots.

The popularity of hardware cheats has continued to grow judging by activity levels of the Cronus Zen Discord channel, and they've also been in the news more. This is partly because publishers have started to take action against them, and the likes of the Cronus Zen and XIM Apex have both been in the crosshairs of Epic and Bungie.

Whilst there has been some cynicism from the player community, who thought some of the statements from publishers were just talk, the fact the likes of Conus are now including disclaimers on their website warning users that they may get banned, is reassuring for us, if not them.

Of course no industry has been immune to inflation this year and we’ve noted several developers increasing their prices. For example in one month we saw AC Diamond raise their prices from $30 to $35 a month, and Demonic Software by $10 to $45.

Obviously when charging these sums, developers need to protect their reputations carefully, and specifically their reputation for reliability, and cheats that aren't easily detected and don’t go down.

This can lead to something else we’ve seen regularly over the years - developers rebranding themselves when they feel the need.

This can be for several reasons but is most often used to distance the developer from a cheat that suffers from a poor reputation. Creating and then promoting themselves under a new brand, enables them to distance themselves from a cheat that gets players banned or simply doesn't work (or was even an exit scam).

There are also instances where the rebrand is the result of an internal dispute leading to a parting of ways. A recent example of this is the break-up of Unleashed and subsequent creation of Avalon. Which was all a bit Pink Floyd…

Finally, looking closer to home, it’s been a busy six months at Intorqa. Our platform is being used by more publishers to identify and monitor threats, and our researchers are procuring and testing new cheats every week. New features and services include the monitoring for account sales, and our recently launched Player Sentiment Monitoring.

All of which helps keep gaming fair and safe for the rest of 2023 and beyond.

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