Valve uses ‘honeypot’ trap to ban 40,000 Dota 2 cheaters

24 Feb 2023

Image: © Rokas/

Valve said it was able to spot players that read ‘secret’ data not available during normal gameplay, as part of an ongoing campaign to reduce cheating in the game.

US video game publisher Valve has permanently banned 40,000 accounts on the multiplayer game Dota 2 for using third-party software to cheat in the game.

The company said this software was being used by players to access information that isn’t visible during normal gameplay, giving these cheaters “an unfair advantage”.

Valve said it released a patch to address this cheating method, but also took the opportunity to create a ‘honeypot’ trap.

The recent patch contained a section of data that would not be read during normal gameplay, but that could be read by players using third-party software to exploit the game.

“Each of the accounts banned today read from this ‘secret’ area in the client, giving us extremely high confidence that every ban was well-deserved,” Valve said in a statement.

The company said that the use of cheats had grown prevalent, which lead to such a large number of players being banned.

However, Valve said the wave of permanent bans is “only the latest action” in an ongoing campaign to reduce cheating.

“We wanted to make this example visible, and use it to make our position clear: If you are running any application that reads data from the Dota client as you’re playing games, your account can be permanently banned from playing Dota,” Valve said.

“This includes professional players, who will be banned from all Valve competitive events.”

Dota 2 has been one of the most popular games on Valve’s gaming distribution site, Steam, for years. The game has millions of monthly players, along with international tournaments where users play competitively for cash prizes.

“We expect that some players will continue to develop and use new exploits to continue to try to gain unfair advantages at the expense of other players,” Valve said. “As before, we will continue to detect and remove these exploits as they come and continue to ban users who cheat.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic