Earlier this week we reported on an insidious new cheating system for competitive shooters that works on consoles and PC alike and promises to be completely undetectable. Looks like Call of Duty maker Activision already has the cheat makers in their sights, striking down their YouTube ad for the program and affecting sudden change in their web presence. Update: The cheat creator has ceased development at Activision’s request.
Though still available for viewing via a Tweet from the Anti-Cheat Police Department, a volunteer organization dedicated to disrupting video game cheating efforts, the original YouTube video showing off the machine learning-aided cheat program has been removed, struck down by a copyright claim by Activision Publishing. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment on the video takedown and are awaiting a response, but the action implies that the publisher is aware of this new technological advancement in being a dirty cheater online and is taking steps.
The website of the cheat program, which we will not share because fuck those guys, has also undergone changes over the past several days. A cached version of the site found via the Internet Wayback Machine from July 5 shows the website with a selection of Call of Duty games and links to their corresponding cheats. The site has since been updated to remove any reference to Call of Duty and cheating links.
The cheating system in question uses a third-party piece of hardware that allows for feedback and inputs to be sent to the users’ controller. The device has less insidious uses, such as allowing mouse and keyboard control on consoles that don’t support it or the ability to use one console’s controller on another. It can also, however, run scripts that can activate controller actions. The new cheating software uses computer learning to detect things like enemy player movement piped through a capture device, which then directs the third-party piece of hardware to make the cheater’s controller aim and shoot of its own accord. There are other functions as well, but that’s the basic idea.
It sure seems like Activision is putting some fear into the cheat makers, and for good reason. The Call of Duty company takes cheating very seriously, with Call of Duty: Warzone recently reaching the milestone of 500,000 cheaters banned. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of actions the publisher takes to ensure this “undetectable” cheating system doesn’t run rampant through Call of Duty’s console and PC games.
Update 7/15/21, 3:21 p.m. ET:Cheat creator User Vision has taken down its website and ceased work on its software, citing a request from Activision Publishing.
This statement was not required.
However, at the request of Activision Publishing, Inc (“Activision”), I will no longer be developing or providing access to software that could be used to exploit their games. My intent was never to do anything illegal. At the end of the video that brought so much attention to this project, it stated “coming soon”. The software was never published.
The message goes on to suggest the cheating program might have had other, less sinister uses, such as allowing a webcam to track the movement of a disabled user, allowing them to play without limbs. Maybe they should have led with that.