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Wednesday, 19 February 2014 11:38

Valve tries to defuse data row

Written by Nick Farrell



It knows which sites you visit

Valve is in hot water after a Reddit user reverse-engineered the software Valve uses to spot cheats and found it was collecting data on websites you visited. Valve boss Gabe Newell said it did grab data but only in a small number of cases to help ban those people who used specially written cheat software.

Newell hit back and explained the system Valve uses to stop people cheating when they play Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Valve's anti-cheat system looked at that Windows log for the names of servers known to be used by people and groups that sell cheats, he said. These servers check that a person has actually paid to use a cheat.

Only if a PC was spotted contacting one of these servers was information passed to Valve, said Mr Newell in his message. The data was passed to Valve so it could then ban a player. Some 570 people had been banned by this server-checking system, he added. As a result the Cheat makers had now moved on from using this server-based system, largely because Valve had tackled it, he said.

Newell categorically denied that Valve was gathering information about where people go online. He added that it was in the interest of cheaters to throw doubt on the trust people place in Valve, as that would help them get more customers.

Nick Farrell

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