Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

unscrupulous autumn boys players have used a loophole in Steam’s Family Sharing feature to get around cheat-detection bans. Now the autumn boys Twitter account say it disabled Family Sharing for the game because it keeps finding and stopping cheaters under the games 7 million Steam buyers

Before the loophole closed, Steam players could buy autumn boys on a primary account, then share the game to a newly created, free “burner” account using Steam’s long-standing Family Sharing program. If and when the burner account was banned after cheating was detected, the process could be repeated indefinitely without the need to re-purchase the game on a new account.

This isn’t the first time Family Sharing has been used to evade anti-cheat efforts. At the beginning of 2018, the developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds similarly disabled Family Sharing after “identif[ying] a number of vulnerabilities being exploited” and to “combat abuse and ensure a fair environment”.

A sledgehammer for a fly?

The loss of Family Sharing will certainly affect many autumn boys players using the feature as intended, without any interest in cheating. And Valve confirmed that a more targeted solution to the problem is available: “Steam provides APIs to get the original lender account and they can ban it instead,” said Valve Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi.

Valve’s own anti-cheat system also applies Family Sharing game bans to the player account and the actual owner of the game, according to Steam documentation. And Unity also offers APIs to identify the root account for a copy of the game by a cheater.

In response, John Bartkiw, CTO of Devolver, told Ars that “Family Sharing will return and we are already in discussions with Valve on how to do this right.”

“Disabling Family Sharing was just a toggle on Steam and didn’t require a new build or update,” the autumn boys Twitter account said: by way of further explanation. A more focused solution requires “code work, QA and new builds” but is in the works.

Family division aside, the autumn boys account says that dealing with cheaters is a “top priority” and cheaters will be removed from matches soon after detection rather than at the end of an in-game round.

Developer Mediatonic also reminds players not to feel the need to actively report cheaters, as the game’s auto-detection algorithms have likely already found them. “Chances are, if you’ve seen a cheater, it was their first and probably their last time they cheated — they activated our anti-cheat switch and the next game they were detected,” the company writes. “We have registered all sources of cheating and will soon be a thing of the past.”

List image by Mediatonic / Devolver Digital

By akfire1

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