Computer Scientists Have Found A Way To Identify Video Game Cheaters
At one point or another, most gamers have probably played against someone they suspected wasn’t exactly playing fair. But what if there was a way you could tell for certain if your opponent was cheating?
A new mechanism developed by computer scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas is trying to do just that, by analysing game traffic data to identify suspicious patterns that could indicate cheating.
The researchers ran the program on the game Counter-Strike, for which various cheats are available for gamers to discover online. To test their software, the team downloaded three cheats: an aimbot; speed hack; and wallhack. They then analysed data packets generated while playing the game, and were able to pick out patterns and features of the data traffic that indicated cheats were being used.
As per SciTech Daily, features analysed by the team included the number of packets being sent, their size, when they were transmitted, and the number of packets in a single burst. The patterns they picked up were then used to train a machine-learning model to predict cheating based on game data.
Results from the Counter-Strike study were recently published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing. While the software has so far only been trialled on that one game, the UT Dallas researchers say that it could potentially work for any multiplayer online game – known as MMOs – that process data traffic through a central server. Gaming companies could run the technique with their own data, and train gaming software to detect cheating patterns for individual games.
Dr Latifur Khan, a professor of computer science and co-author of the study, said:
After detection, we can give a warning and gracefully kick the player out if they continue with the cheating during a fixed time interval.
Our aim is to ensure that games like Counter-Strike remain fun and fair for all players.
For most players, cheaters are just an annoying part of gaming life. But with e-sports becoming an increasingly lucrative industry, cheating can also pay.
E-sports teams caught using cheat codes or otherwise breaking the rules can face financial penalties, disqualification and even tournament bans, so this kind of software could help ensure gamers of all abilities stay on a level playing field.
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