Valve: Our anti-cheat software doesn't record DNS data; we don't 'care what porn sites you visit'

Valve is defending itself against claims from a Reddit user that the VAC anti-cheat software used in its games is recording the DNS data of gamers. Its CEO Gabe Newell posted a response on the same site saying that is not the case.

The accusations started over the weekend, when Reddit user "theonlybond" posted a claim on the "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" subreddit that VAC  "Goes through all your DNS Cache entries ... Hashes each one with md5" and "Reports back to VAC Servers."

The accusations generated a lot of hits on Reddit, so much so that Newell decided to post his own response on the site. He admitted that Valve doesn't like to talk much about how VAC works so that cheaters can't use the information to beat their software, but that the Reddit claim about DNS data gathering demanded an exception.

Newell says that some developers are actually putting in DRM and anti-cheat code for their own cheats, so that users have to pay for them. If gamers do decide to pay money for cheat software, that information is then sent to a DNS server so that the code is unlocked. He said:

VAC checked for the presence of these cheats. If they were detected VAC then checked to see which cheat DRM server was being contacted. This second check was done by looking for a partial match to those (non-web) cheat DRM servers in the DNS cache. If found, then hashes of the matching DNS entries were sent to the VAC servers. The match was double checked on our servers and then that client was marked for a future ban. Less than a tenth of one percent of clients triggered the second check.

Newell said they were able to detect this method for about 13 days, after which the anti-cheat coders figured out a way to change the DNS cache of their user's PCs. He also suggested that cheat code developers were behind this attack on Valve and VAC, saying, "If 'Valve is evil - look they are tracking all of the websites you visit' is an idea that gets traction, then that is to the benefit of cheaters and cheat creators." 

The bottom line, according to Newell, is that Valve is not using VAC in its games to track a user's browser history, and added, "Do we care what porn sites you visit? Oh, dear god, no. My brain just melted."

Source: Reddit and Reddit | Image via Valve

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