Valve started swinging the banhammer on cheaters Wednesday, banning about 28,000 players.
The Valve Anti-Cheat System (VAC) is an automated process which detects cheats installed on player computers. If a player connects to a game with identifiable cheats, defined by Valve as “any third-party modifications to a game designed to give one player an advantage over another,” the player will be banned from playing the game on “VAC-Secured servers.”
The VAC bans are a part of Valve’s “zero tolerance policy” toward cheating to to “foster a fair game that all players will enjoy.” VAC bans are permanent and non-negotiable, and connected to the Steam account owner’s phone number. This means banned users will have to make a new account associated with a new phone number, and re-purchase games.
So for Steam users, the best way to dodge the banhammer is, surprise, surprise— avoiding its wrath in the first place by not installing cheats. However, users should also be careful about logging in and playing games from their Steam library on non-trusted computers in case cheats were installed previously.
Users should also be careful about other downloads.
“Use caution when installing any game modifications like scripts or custom skins, and only download custom content from trusted sources,” Valve advises. “Hackers may maliciously disguise their cheats to cause others to get banned.”