Newell speaks out about VAC rumours, says they aren't bothered by what porn sites you visit


Matt Hadden (Twitter, Google+)
18th Feb 2014, 6:38pm

There has been recent concern amongst a few redditors that Valve's anit-cheat system, VAC, has been sending DNS records back to Valve.

Newell responded to these concerns to say that what VAC is actually doing isn't 100% what has been reported.

Gabe explained that cheat developers are finding it harder and harder for people to pay for their cheats and as such the cheat programs for games such as Counter-Strike: Source require the cheat to "phone home" to the developer to make sure that it has been paid for. This is similar to what other programs would do such as Adobe.

The only DNS information that is being picked up by VAC is specifically DNS records which "phone home" to the cheat developer and DRM servers.

In a recent VAC sweep, the system checked for any sort of cheating software - and if found, checked whether or not it had phoned home.

There were only 0.1% users that actually did get caught out by the "phone home" check - this was from the 1% of users that had cheat software installed. When a DNS entry is found - it is sent to Valve's servers where it is double checked and marks the user for a future ban. The latest wave caught out 570 users.

Some cheat software has started to alter the user's PCs so that the DNS cache records can't be detected by VAC.

Newell said that they want to make cheat detection development more expensive than the gains that they get from it.

If ‘Valve is evil - look they are tracking all of the websites you visit’ is an idea that gets traction, then that is to the benefit of cheaters and cheat creators.

VAC is inherently a scary looking piece of software, because it is trying to be obscure, it is going after code that is trying to attack it, and it is sneaky.

For most cheat developers, social engineering might be a cheaper way to attack the system than continuing the code arms race, which means that there will be more Reddit posts trying to cast VAC in a sinister light.

Newell said that Valve's response was to make clear what they were actually doing and that they "try really hard to earn and keep your trust."

Our response is to make it clear what we were actually doing and why with enough transparency that people can make their own judgements as to whether or not we are trustworthy.

Oh, and in case you were wondering - Valve don't give two monkeys about porn sites you visit.

2) Do we care what porn sites you visit? Oh, dear god, no. My brain just melted.

So - happy enough with Gabe's response? I personally didn't even realise that there were any concerns with VAC, guess I should check reddit more often.

Thanks, PCGamesN


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