Players found cheating in Call of Duty games may now find themselves banned from the entire franchise, including all previous games and future titles

Jonnycat99

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Maybe they should just make it harder to cheat?

If you think about it, cheating on a server owned by someone other than the cheater could be considered to be "unauthorized use of a computer network", and we already have laws against that sort of thing. Rather strict laws, actually.
 

DukenukemX

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Activision is not making more money on repeat purchasers of the retail game than they are with selling cosmetics and battle passes. So yes while banning someone will get someone to buy the game again it's unlikely they'll also be repurchasing all their previous cosmetics.
You assume someone won't purchase their cosmetics a second time. Usually bans go out in waves so it's not hard to see that someone like Activision might see an uptick in purchases of their game when this happens.
Also I imagine someone who cheats cares about their progression and to have all of your progression wiped out across all COD titles in the future would really be a problem so perhaps this'll be a deterrent.
Assuming that these people actually care about their progression. I imagine the reason they cheat is to grief players and have a good time.
Also there will always be some smart person who figures out a way to circumvent most anti-cheat systems and with millions of people playing I imagine it must be very difficult to figure out who's cheating. Best method is probably just reporting other players. Idk.
There are a few methods one could do to prevent cheaters without banning a player. Reporting them works but I would automatically put suspicious players on special cheating servers with other reported players, at least for a while. I would also make sure to verify game files before starting which shouldn't be hard to do. You could even work with Microsoft to create a new API for verified input so only verified input controls get used and no way an aimbot can intervene.
 

travm

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The problem with all of this really is false positives. I was once banned by GCC because of a "Punkbuster hack". There was no hack, but also no recourse for me, banned for life. I'd rather play with the odd hacker than have innocent people perma banned. People treat these detection methods as unfailing, and my god, they barely function.
 

Darunion

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The problem with all of this really is false positives. I was once banned by GCC because of a "Punkbuster hack". There was no hack, but also no recourse for me, banned for life. I'd rather play with the odd hacker than have innocent people perma banned. People treat these detection methods as unfailing, and my god, they barely function.
Funny enough, all the cheaters have the same response lol :p

Everyone is always holding it for a friend
 

Nytegard

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I'm not to worried about false positives to be honest. What I am worried about though is account hijacking. When I came back to WoW to play WoW Classic, I found my WoW account had been banned. I hadn't touched WoW since 2006ish. Also, at one point, my CoD Black Ops 2 account had been hijacked. 4 years after I had last played it, suddenly I started playing it for 50 hours again?

Both of those ended up getting resolved, but what happens if it's the general Steam response of a hard stance of bans with no chance on appeal, not even for inquiry of what happened? With the WoW account, they understood that I suddenly didn't start playing a few years later, apparently living in Turkmenistan.

Yes, there's 2 factor authentication, and I have that on all my accounts. But probably not everyone does. And it's not perfect.

I agree with the overall stance of cheat once, and you're forever out, but I do think if they do that, they need to be a little more forgiving with more openness on why a person was banned, along with an appeal process.
 

travm

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Funny enough, all the cheaters have the same response lol :p

Everyone is always holding it for a friend
this is exactly the problem. I've never cheated, installed any sort of hack. But you're evidence is;
1. games are full of cheaters
2. People are being banned.

How do you know they've even ever banned an actual cheater? Its easy to say what you do, but having experienced it first hand, I have no doubt that unfounded bans happen all the time.
 

Ebernanut

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Funny enough, all the cheaters have the same response lol :p

Everyone is always holding it for a friend
I've seen enough false positives with drm to know that any software attempting to distinguish legit yet unusual operating conditions from fraudulent behavior will either be too permissive and allow false negatives or too restrictive and generate false positives. People that are guilty do often claim to be innocent but then so do those that are falsely accused, the trick is having a fair system for determining which is which but that costs money that these companies don't want to spend.

I haven't played any multiplayer stuff since games got rid of dedicated servers and LAN. Having servers that operate as small communities and are properly moderated by humans is the best solution to cheaters but publishers want to have more control over their games so we get software solutions that are imperfect.
 

LukeTbk

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In a world where cheat system try to pass themselve has purely human it is hard to imagine an anti-cheat system to not have false positive (how would that be possible, it will be a race with the cheat and the anti-cheat technology that will never be perfect), false positive need to be taken account (either has an accepted cost to it or otherwise)
 

Darunion

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this is exactly the problem. I've never cheated, installed any sort of hack. But you're evidence is;
1. games are full of cheaters
2. People are being banned.

How do you know they've even ever banned an actual cheater? Its easy to say what you do, but having experienced it first hand, I have no doubt that unfounded bans happen all the time.
Oh I agree, i was making a joke
 

t1337duder

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It's a good idea. They need to do more. They need to grab essentially as much unique information from users as possible (hardware, software, or both), so it's not as simple as making a new account. Make it a headache for users to circumvent. And make the punishment brutal - so people would think twice before wanting to cheat in the first place.

Will some hackers slip by? Sure. Has that ever been a good reason to not try? No. Could you imagine if we stopped arresting criminals because the legal system slips up a few times? People need realistic goal posts to determine pragmatic solutions. Warzone has taken the lazy, defeatist, non-intellectual "if we try then we lose" strategy long enough.
 

travm

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It's a good idea. They need to do more. They need to grab essentially as much unique information from users as possible (hardware, software, or both), so it's not as simple as making a new account. Make it a headache for users to circumvent. And make the punishment brutal - so people would think twice before wanting to cheat in the first place.

Will some hackers slip by? Sure. Has that ever been a good reason to not try? No. Could you imagine if we stopped arresting criminals because the legal system slips up a few times?.
Wow. Your anology is a little off... Currently our legal system doesn't just execute everyone accused of a crime. There is due process.

You are suggesting on the mere suggestion of having hacks (made by an automated software thing, built by the lowest bidder on aderol and pots of coffee), we ban you for life.

This is the worst idea I've never heard.
 

GoldenTiger

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Wow. Your anology is a little off... Currently our legal system doesn't just execute everyone accused of a crime. There is due process.

You are suggesting on the mere suggestion of having hacks (made by an automated software thing, built by the lowest bidder on aderol and pots of coffee), we ban you for life.

This is the worst idea I've never heard.
So, make it 5 years. It's ridiculous they usually get slaps on the wrist like a week ban from am mmorpg or a single login on an fps.
 

Lakados

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You assume someone won't purchase their cosmetics a second time. Usually bans go out in waves so it's not hard to see that someone like Activision might see an uptick in purchases of their game when this happens.

Assuming that these people actually care about their progression. I imagine the reason they cheat is to grief players and have a good time.

There are a few methods one could do to prevent cheaters without banning a player. Reporting them works but I would automatically put suspicious players on special cheating servers with other reported players, at least for a while. I would also make sure to verify game files before starting which shouldn't be hard to do. You could even work with Microsoft to create a new API for verified input so only verified input controls get used and no way an aimbot can intervene.
Cheats don’t modify game files, they modify peripheral drivers, GPU drivers, and network drivers. Modifying a game file is extremely simple to detect and isn’t what they do.

Instead they use an overlay that reads like a streaming software to capture the frames the modified GPU drivers render an error into the textures designated for say a head’s hit box which the overlay can read then that reports an XY coordinate that can be fed into a mouse macro using a move to so it organically moves the cursor to position then when in the correct spot it triggers a mouse button press.
You now have an aim bot for headshots running at Kernel level on your system and not a single game file is modified or interacted with and there is no cheat event detected unless they are scanning all Memory and kernel system activity at the time it happened.
 

DooKey

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Microsoft/Nvidia/Intel/Google etc. gather your info and they be da debil. Gaming company gathers as much personal info as they can to ban cheaters for life be da good guys.

SMDH
 

w1retap

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But it also begs the question of what happens when there is a false positive? You are now banned from potentially dozens of games that you paid for, forced to deal with a company that has known terrible customer service, in a situation where there is no due process (meaning your only option is to basically beg them to fix their mistake).
Had that happen to me once when using a beta ATI/AMD driver when VAC was in the early stages.. it gave me some OpenGL hack ban, then I had to create a new Steam account and repurchase the Half-Life franchise to play online again -- oh, and use my VOIP number since my cell phone number was also banned. Tried to send logs and appeal, but they just kept saying all bans are final.

Punkbuster for Quake engine based games was less terrible about bans, but it ended up completely ruining the games. After it was mandatory for online play, it would cause a brief lag spike every 30 seconds or so.. which led to the downfall of online play for mods like Rocket Arena 3.
 
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travm

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So, make it 5 years. It's ridiculous they usually get slaps on the wrist like a week ban from am mmorpg or a single login on an fps.
A non zero number are not even hackers. This is unacceptable. Again, how do you even know that any hackers are being banned at all. This really could just be a placebo effect hoping you'll stop harassing the devs about hacking if they can post some numbers about bans. We need a hardware solution to stop hacking, not stupid bans. Bans will never work.
 

travm

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Cheats don’t modify game files, they modify peripheral drivers, GPU drivers, and network drivers. Modifying a game file is extremely simple to detect and isn’t what they do.

Instead they use an overlay that reads like a streaming software to capture the frames the modified GPU drivers render an error into the textures designated for say a head’s hit box which the overlay can read then that reports an XY coordinate that can be fed into a mouse macro using a move to so it organically moves the cursor to position then when in the correct spot it triggers a mouse button press.
You now have an aim bot for headshots running at Kernel level on your system and not a single game file is modified or interacted with and there is no cheat event detected unless they are scanning all Memory and kernel system activity at the time it happened.
Enforcing signed drivers is not hard
 

Lakados

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Enforcing signed drivers is not hard
Neither is creating a self-signed certificate for said drivers that will pass a check, however, the most notorious of cheat farms do sign their drivers as well as their applications and from what I have seen do actually pay their developers pretty well it's kinda sad that the cheat developers are paying better than the people actually making the game in many cases.

But if you enforce driver signing then you remove support for 32-bit OS's and Windows 7, something I would fully support but until recently something many developers may not have been willing to do. And I am not sure about the current state of driver signing for Linux, it's not something I have paid attention to.
 
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DukenukemX

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Neither is creating a self-signed certificate for said drivers that will pass a check, however, the most notorious of cheat farms do sign their drivers as well as their applications and from what I have seen do actually pay their developers pretty well it's kinda sad that the cheat developers are paying better than the people actually making the game in many cases.
If developers can just sign hacked drivers and cheat in games then this is a Microsoft issue. If cheat developers are getting paid better than game developers then we now know the problem. Is it better to pay less for developers and then happily ban cheaters while also finding some false positives which generates more income, or pay more developers to fix the loop holes to prevent cheaters while also not making anymore money but also losing money in the process? You can see where the incentives sit right now with companies.

But if you enforce driver signing then you remove support for 32-bit OS's and Windows 7, something I would fully support but until recently something many developers may not have been willing to do. And I am not sure about the current state of driver signing for Linux, it's not something I have paid attention to.
This is more of a Microsoft problem as Microsoft has allowed too many organizations to modified the kernel for their own purposes. If a virus can just shut down Windows Update and invade your system without any sign of compromise then what's to stop a cheater from doing the same thing? Linux wouldn't be any better since there's a lot of custom kernels that could also enable cheats if someone wanted to. We could enforce certified kernels so that only kernels that have been signed are allowed to be used in online games, but Linux isn't at that point where enough people are playing games and cheating on them.
 
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If developers can just sign hacked drivers and cheat in games then this is a Microsoft issue. If cheat developers are getting paid better than game developers then we now know the problem. Is it better to pay less for developers and then happily ban cheaters while also finding some false positives which generates more income, or pay more developers to fix the loop holes to prevent cheaters while also not making anymore money but also losing money in the process? You can see where the incentives sit right now with companies.
I agree with this for the user/client side. There is also the server/host side where some types of anti-cheat could be implemented but mostly are not. For example, the speed hacks we used to see in Unreal-based games should have been trivial to block on the server side simply by validating the movement against known rules (such as maximum permissible velocity). Hip-fired headshots from across the map were "solved" by not providing the client with whole-map data rather than validating that it's a permissible shot on the server side (or simply auto-flagging it for subsequent human review).
 

Lakados

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If developers can just sign hacked drivers and cheat in games then this is a Microsoft issue. If cheat developers are getting paid better than game developers then we now know the problem. Is it better to pay less for developers and then happily ban cheaters while also finding some false positives which generates more income, or pay more developers to fix the loop holes to prevent cheaters while also not making anymore money but also losing money in the process? You can see where the incentives sit right now with companies.


This is more of a Microsoft problem as Microsoft has allowed too many organizations to modified the kernel for their own purposes. If a virus can just shut down Windows Update and invade your system without any sign of compromise then what's to stop a cheater from doing the same thing? Linux wouldn't be any better since there's a lot of custom kernels that could also enable cheats if someone wanted to. We could enforce certified kernels so that only kernels that have been signed are allowed to be used in online games, but Linux isn't at that point where enough people are playing games and cheating on them.
There are lots of reasons though for developers and enterprise clients to need to sign their own drivers and certificates, and Microsoft has not made it difficult for any registered MSDN developer to sign an application. I have seen articles in the past about how to fake a certificate for windows 10 and various things from PaloAlto and my other security vendors about how common spoofed certs are out there and relying on them isn't enough. But at least if game developers did require signed certificates they could keep a database of known valid certificates, they could easily log the certificates on launch report those in and keep a running DB, compare them against official releases, then flag and research the outliers. it would be a big step forward that would at least require the bad guys to put in more legwork. So I personally would more than welcome it as a requirement, along with TPM, and a few other things.
I believe we aren't too far off from a time that games and most applications run inside a protected sandboxed VM that way developers control every aspect of the environment that the software runs in. The overhead on that sort of environment currently makes it not feasible but VMs and most notably vGPU's are coming a long way.
 

TheGardenTool

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As long as they don’t use sister studio Blizzard’s automated anti-cheat detection from WoW. Will be littered with false positives while most the actual cheaters get away with it.
 

Ebernanut

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As long as they don’t use sister studio Blizzard’s automated anti-cheat detection from WoW. Will be littered with false positives while most the actual cheaters get away with it.
That's just the way things generally work in these situations, when there's more financial incentive to break the protection than there is to protect it it will be broken faster than it can be patched and catch some false positives due to the protection being overly aggressive in an attempt to make up for that.

Off Topic: What's with all noob accounts that sound like bots around here lately?
 

Gorankar

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I have noticed that too...
People spamming posts trying to get access to FS/FT probably.

As for the actual thread topic, a lifetime ban seems out of place when the likelihood of false positives is present. Unfortunately, the best answer, active server moderation is just not going to happen wide scale going forward. The active moderation we had on private servers of old is just not coming back, and no company wants to pay to actively moderate their own servers, so they give us shoddy software solutions in an attempt to appear to be trying something.
 

t1337duder

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Wow. Your anology is a little off... Currently our legal system doesn't just execute everyone accused of a crime. There is due process.

You are suggesting on the mere suggestion of having hacks (made by an automated software thing, built by the lowest bidder on aderol and pots of coffee), we ban you for life.

This is the worst idea I've never heard.
Most anti-cheats already operate in a similar way. They do a hardware ban or a lifetime account ban. They simply aren't done in a way that effectively deters people, and I think it should be more effective.

The point of the analogy is the fundamental effectiveness of deterrance, not to make a 1:1 comparison between how an anti-cheat should be like a legal system - sorry if the way I worded that was confusing.

Yes - if you are using cheats in a game, you should be banned for life. Of course, we all understand this could not be reasonably achieved. But that doesn't mean it's not an ideal to be strived for.

The point I'm making is that punishment has to be harsh and effective otherwise you might as well doing nothing at all. If you don't ban cheaters, there's no reason for them to stop. They will just buy another account or key and keep going.

As for false positives - people already get banned for false positives, and not for a system that effectively deters people. If people are going to be accidentally banned, it would be nice if cheaters were actually discouraged from cheating 😅

Is there proof anywhere that deterrents don't work? I see deterrents used pretty much anywhere where something is taking seriously. I'd much rather have strong deterrents than limiting user experiences for everyone through other restrictions.
 
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travm

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Most anti-cheats already operate in a similar way. They do a hardware ban or a lifetime account ban. They simply aren't done in a way that effectively deters people, and I think it should be more effective.
Untrue, the only reason I recieved a "lifetime" ban was because the server was streaming GCC, which is now something EA disallows, I'm torn on this decision, but having experienced a "lifetime" ban for not actually doing something I was accused of, I cant say its a bad idea. The original kick was just a server kick. I could immediately rejoin. Said "PB Hack", and i'm like, wtf is that? No one would talk to me, I was guilty, despite being not guilty. Guilty of buying a game that came with buggy ass anti-cheat software.

The point of the analogy is the fundamental effectiveness of deterrance, not to make a 1:1 comparison between how an anti-cheat should be like a legal system - sorry if the way I worded that was confusing.
The anology is bad, you misunderstand the application. You believe that its actually hackers being banned.

Yes - if you are using cheats in a game, you should be banned for life. Of course, we all understand this could not be reasonably achieved. But that doesn't mean it's not an ideal to be strived for.
I wish there was a way to prove this, or stop it from being possible in the first place. The issue is they dont have reliable detection methods. Currently we get massive misses, along with false positives. The only way it could be worse is if it just banned everyone.

The point I'm making is that punishment has to be harsh and effective otherwise you might as well doing nothing at all. If you don't ban cheaters, there's no reason for them to stop. They will just buy another account or key and keep going.
They are just going to do that anyway. At this point I have no confidence, 0, in the anti cheat software, or the developers to be honest and open. Frankly, even to care enough about it to make a college try at reducing or eliminating cheaters. Blanket bans based on bad information is terrible.

You dislike cheating so much, how would you like to be a false positive and then never be able to play another game for the rest of your life? Give your head a shake. a hard one.
 
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People spamming posts trying to get access to FS/FT probably.

As for the actual thread topic, a lifetime ban seems out of place when the likelihood of false positives is present. Unfortunately, the best answer, active server moderation is just not going to happen wide scale going forward. The active moderation we had on private servers of old is just not coming back, and no company wants to pay to actively moderate their own servers, so they give us shoddy software solutions in an attempt to appear to be trying something.
Ya, more than likely. I know if you spam it and get it in a day or two, they'll just ban you so it's best just to spread out your replies. I had an old account for years and pc fried along with my passwords that were saved. I couldn't get back into my account so have to start from scratch now. I try to reply to things I know about tho...
 
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As for the actual thread topic, a lifetime ban seems out of place when the likelihood of false positives is present. Unfortunately, the best answer, active server moderation is just not going to happen wide scale going forward. The active moderation we had on private servers of old is just not coming back, and no company wants to pay to actively moderate their own servers, so they give us shoddy software solutions in an attempt to appear to be trying something.
I was pre-banned from Anthem at launch. Somehow Origin/EA's automated system decided that since I had stopped playing BF, I must be a dangerous fella. It took three months for EA support to figure out that there was a pre-ban on my account rather than a problem with their installer.

Of course, that game sucked so hard that maybe they had done me a favor with the pre-ban.
 

Gorankar

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I was pre-banned from Anthem at launch. Somehow Origin/EA's automated system decided that since I had stopped playing BF, I must be a dangerous fella. It took three months for EA support to figure out that there was a pre-ban on my account rather than a problem with their installer.

Of course, that game sucked so hard that maybe they had done me a favor with the pre-ban.
Only if they refunded you. A game with so much promise destroyed by greed and the rush to market.
 

cybereality

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I think it's a good idea. I used to play CS and it was a hacker's paradise. Even with VAC not a day went by without multiple hackers ruining games.

And they wouldn't hack stealthy to win, they would run at 100 mph and aimbot everyone just to troll. Fuck those guys.
 

RanceJustice

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Everyone with a huge hard-on for this, remember its not going to only be limited to what you consider "legitimate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, cheating that negatively effects competitive play" - if it prove successful and people champion it, it WILL be used for other groups. Certain mods or trainers could be considered "cheating"? Flagged! Pirated a game at one point? Flagged, now you'll never have any reason to buy it and all the legit games you have from the company will no longer connect online! Linux users have plenty of experience being flagged as cheaters when they're not, going back decades now. Using something like Wine or Proton, even if the game runs flawlessly otherwise, may still get you flagged. I have to give credit to Blizzard many years ago when their self-built Warden system for Battle Net / World of Warcraft flagged Linux players via Wine as cheaters - Blizz not only reinstated all the accounts (and had a useful point of contact for those who have been banned, something missing when it comes to most games and anti-cheats today) but also updated Warden to not see Linux users on Wine (or later Proton) as hostile! Contrast this with EAC, now owned by Epic, that continued to ban Linux users from a wide variety of popular games that otherwise run flawlessly ; they promised to look into it years ago but basically shrugged until Valve came advocating for players in the wake of Steam Deck.

I do not want to see PC gaming turn into the kind of console-ized wasteland where you're banned at the hardware level for even things like piracy, modding etc , but that's exactly what we're going to have if we keep allowing companies to get more and more intrusive and vehement under the guise of "catching cheaters".
 

cybereality

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That's a good point about using Linux. Also, when I used to play games with 3D glasses, sometimes they would ban people because they thought it was a hack (but I just never played online games in 3D to avoid this).

So yeah, they would need to do it in a fair way and only ban real hackers, and allow some kind of appeal process for legitimate users that are on Linux or are otherwise flagged falsely.

And I would say banning pirates for life is too much. Many people pirate because they are young and broke, but would buy the game if they had the money. So they should give them a chance.
 

DukenukemX

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Yes - if you are using cheats in a game, you should be banned for life. Of course, we all understand this could not be reasonably achieved. But that doesn't mean it's not an ideal to be strived for.
So refund their money since the game they bought is now useless. No company would since they like money.
The point I'm making is that punishment has to be harsh and effective otherwise you might as well doing nothing at all. If you don't ban cheaters, there's no reason for them to stop. They will just buy another account or key and keep going.
No ban they perform will do that, and they know it. They'll make another account and pay again.
As for false positives - people already get banned for false positives, and not for a system that effectively deters people. If people are going to be accidentally banned, it would be nice if cheaters were actually discouraged from cheating 😅
You also discouraged legitimate players from playing your game.
 
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