Intel shows off anticheating tech

Processor giant working on method to detect PC players using programs like aimbots and wall hacks.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--There's always one guy who seems a little too good at mowing down players in a Quake III Arena session. Intel thinks future PC gamers might be interested in technology that helps level the playing field.

The company showed off a research project into "anti-cheat technology" during its Research@Intel Day at Intel headquarters. The idea is that Intel and the PC gaming industry would build technology into gaming rigs that could detect when common cheats--such as "aimbots" that handle targeting while the player just holds down the trigger--are used in an online gaming session, said Travis Schluessler, a researcher at Intel.

Player one caught in the act.

Cheats such as aimbots or "wall hacks" that expose players lying in wait send data to online gaming servers in unnatural patterns that could be detected by other PCs connected to the same server, Schluessler said. PCs equipped with this technology would notify a server that someone in the game is using a cheat, and then the game administrator could set a policy of kicking the cheat offline or some high-tech method of saying "nyeh, nyeh, cheater cheater," shaming the cheater and warning other gamers not to enter into sessions with that particular player.

Intel is still working out the details; don't expect to find this in a high-end gaming PC anytime soon. This also being Intel, there's more practical business-related implications for the technology as well, such as click-fraud detection. But with the amount of money that serious PC gamers spend on their rigs and software, there could be a market among those who don't want to see their investments ruined by cheaters.

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75 comments
-Dark_Palladin-
-Dark_Palladin-

It amazes me how many people use hacks and cheaters in order to play multiplayer. Multiplayer is supposed to be a fun sport, however cheaters really think winning is better, "I either dominate the match or nothing". This is a great idea for eliminating the spamming vermin.

ktseymour
ktseymour

Couldn't agree more Poshkidney. I do believe that this is TPM in action, but apparently it's already been hacked?

Poshkidney
Poshkidney

cheaters spoil the fun for everyone thats why i don't play multiplayer

Ottozero
Ottozero

Cheaters will always exsist...From WOW Gold buying losers --TO--- Halo 2 modders --TO--Quake/unreal/half-life PC Bot using nerds--TO--NES Game Genie users....They aint going anywhere. U SUK PEOPLE. Having said all of that..Halo 3 is coming out soon, and it will be ruined by people who have no skills. The only code that should ever be allowed should be UP,UP,DOWN,DOWN,LEFT,RIGHT,LEFT,RIGHT, B, A, B, A, START.....

Cloud737
Cloud737

Hmmm...this is strange. If a cheater`s PC "send data to online gaming servers in unnatural patterns", then can`t the server itself detect that he`s a cheater? I mean, you`d think this is the most obvious course of action, as it`s the simplest and most direct, in contrast for waiting for other player`s rigs to tell if there is a cheater. Anyway, I`m guessing the tech would be built into the CPU, am I right? I wonder...is there any other reason why intel sought this? Maybe some anti-piracy protection to be built in the same CPUs? Guess we`ll just have to wait and see. Anyway, I thought of a great way to piss-off cheaters if this`ll work. If a cheater is detected, then how about making the cheater`s shot useless and unable to hurt anybody, just so that he`ll helplessly get his @$$ royally kicked by all in almost the same manner he did to others. That would be the sweetest revenge. :D

Agulf
Agulf

Cheating is one of the factors that slowly "kill" online PC Gaming, so it is good to see this finally being worked on. Thumbs up, intel!

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

I am all for it . The last thing they need is to feel cocky by using some ridiculous cheat. As long as I know they cheated and they know that I know then they can't feel any better because obviously they have no skills to rely on. Of course it can always be hacked so as long as they add updates and such I see no problem. At least they care to try to fix this problem!!!

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

If this works, its an initiative worth supporting. How pathetic is it to cheat in an online game. If cheating makes these guys feel superior, they really do have a problem!

SemiMaster
SemiMaster

That's pretty cool, I wonder if Microsoft or Sony will take advantage of this or develop something similar in the future or next generation.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Well, I don't think it'll solve anything in the long run, but it should at least allow for some time to play games fair and square before the next set of hacks and cracks are available.

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

sounds fairs, im skepetical because the program could mistaken fair players as cheaters, that's is my common concern.

ng_gavin
ng_gavin

Lame. Do you REALLY think hackers and crackers would not crack this? Think again.

JonnyNemesis
JonnyNemesis

One word: FINALLY! I stopped playing online a long time ago because of being beaten by 13 year-olds cheating, and then calling me a n00b for my trouble. Now they need to go to the next step: a device that delivers a 50,000 amp shock to the cheating punk.

mishagale
mishagale

qiwihead: Ok, maybe I'm being overly dramatic about false positives, but if aimbots &c create abnormal patterns in network traffic, all they have to do is correct those patterns to be more organic (human) looking. In a darwinian sort of way, the easy to catch cheat programs will die out because they were easy to catch. The new generation of bots will look more like human input, and the more bots look like humans, the more humans look like bots. Hence, false positives. Don't get me wrong, I think Intel's idea is a Good Thing, but I don't think it will be a panacea. Phazevariance: The article wasn't exactly clear, but I don't think this is a hardware solution. It wouldn't make any sense to build something as high-level as this into a CPU, remember Intel do make software as well as sand. Sheiko: What you are talking about (although I assume you realise this) is only possible on the Xbox because it is not a general purpose machine. A PC needs to be able to run any kind of software, so you can't stop the user running cheats, any more than you can stop them running nmap or playing pirated MP3s. Of course, the old "trusted computing" idea could stop cheats, but players who want to cheat just won't buy locked down hardware.

Sheiko
Sheiko

Only way to stop cheating is to make it like the Xbox and isolate the memory and processes. Good news though this is a step in the right direction.

akhorahill
akhorahill

I foresee hackers sending "nyeh, nyeh, cheater cheater" packets to the servers and legit players getting fragged.

RoC1909
RoC1909

You are correct 1colin1, but I think making a 'hardware solution' makes it a lot more difficult for these noobs to come up with a solution for. They also mention 'common cheats'. Some of the more abstract ways of cheating I bet would be a lot more difficult to stop with this anti-cheat technology.

1colin1
1colin1

Good idea but hackers will always find a way around everything and anything. If a hacker wants to hack something, in the end he will hack it, it's only a matter of time.

qiwihead
qiwihead

mishagale: I agree that it seems weird that this would be client-side instead of server-side, but your theory that just being a good shot would cause a false positive doesn't seem plausible. As the article states, cheat programs transmit "unnatural patterns." Being a good shot wouldn't transmit such signals. There might be other reasons for false positives, of course, but it wouldn't be just because you're a good shot. And Phazevariance: Since this is a client-side solution, it doesn't matter what kind of processor the cheater has, only what kind you have. As long as you have an Intel CPU, you should be able to detect cheaters regardless of what CPU they're using.

mishagale
mishagale

Why is this a client technology? Surely it would make much more sense to license it to game publishers and build it into the game server? Otherwise you end up with a situation much the same as you often get now: Everyone knows that Player1 is cheating, but there isn't an admin on hand to ban them. And the only person who really needs to know is the admin anyway, so why not leave it up to the server? Of course, as other posters have pointed out, this will just be another step in the cheater/catcher arms race. The aimbots will be redesigned to add a bit of random noise into their data, the parameters of the anticheat will be relaxed to compensate, and before long legit gamers are getting false positives for being good shots. Although on the upside, the cheaters won't be as effective either. Alternatively, rather than taking a heuristic approach, the anti-cheat software could use anit-virus like signatures, checking network traffic against known patterns, but that requires constant work by Intel to update the signatures, and hence constant investment by end users. To summarise this rant, it's a nice idea, but it probably won't work, or at least, not as well as we'd like.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Won't be effective as once it is realeased, there will be new hacks to bypass it. That and of course, the cheater probably would buy an AMD that doesnt have the technology, why would someone buy the CPU if they intend to cheat?

Metalhead8282
Metalhead8282

I gotta agree with you Dust24311. This is a great concept but actually getting it to work is another thing on top of making sure not to hurt legit gamers who just so happen to fall into a pattern.

Dust24311
Dust24311

This is a faulty level of protection that will end up SECOND ONLY TO DRM. Yeah... programmers won't be able to control the packet flow to the servers. *rolls eyes* Nor will they be able to offload any cheat processing into any number of promised programmable processors (the list already includes GPUs, NIC cards, and PhysX processors). And what about false-positives? I know I wouldn't want to be booted from a server because my clicking happened to fall into a pre-determined pattern!

Jade_Monkey
Jade_Monkey

I do hope they plan to make this available to peple who build their own PCs, not just those who have to buy them. I think that those who build them will have more use since were more likely to be gamers.

NeoNavarro
NeoNavarro

Hehe, they really should make hardware or software based that detects cheating and once an ofender is cought their PC self destructs!

Kfoss
Kfoss

riiiggghhhtttt

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

this would be great. steam is one of the few online games worth playing since you can't cheat unless you want to be banned. If all pc's had anti cheat built it would be great for online gaming

vaejas
vaejas

As opposed to Shadowrun where the aimbots are built in?

Pete5506
Pete5506

Cool......good to hear too

LorenaLarue
LorenaLarue

I'm somewhat skeptical at this moment in time, simply because whenever someone has come up with a way to stop cheating it will eventually be circumvented by a hacker.

lightningbugx
lightningbugx

Anti-cheat technology can come very close to the ultimate antivirus and hacker prevention. I wonder if that aspect will be explored.

iron_gryffon303
iron_gryffon303

they should put in technology where if a cheat is detected on a person's computer, a device will kick in to automatically roast their motherboard.

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

Every skilled player knows a cheater is just an unskilled player. It's good that this will be an automated way to remove them from games, but really, we knew who was cheating and who wasnt. You can only get lucky so many times, before it becomes a pattern.

mad_max01
mad_max01

Imagine...No hax in CS:S....

JSharpe_187
JSharpe_187

They need to make this available for ALL systems. Cheaters have no life and no purpose but to ruin the gaming experience of everyone else.

kyrieee
kyrieee

I saw a demo once of a really AWESOME anti cheat tool. It would analyze what the player saw, if he turned towards a player that he didn't know was there, if he shot through a wall in an unusual spot, load of cool features, but it was supposedly bought by some big name publisher.

darkdaej
darkdaej

hmm this is quite interesting. too bad I prefer AMD, though i guess they would also follow soon after with their own version of this technology.

theone86
theone86

Yeah! Stick it to 'em! *That's it, keep it up. If you say anything bad about this software everyone will know you cheat.*

lWinterl
lWinterl

nyeh, nyeh, cheater cheater!

Goliathvv
Goliathvv

This tech is perfect! Cheaters should lie in burning rocks, while their limbs are being ripped off and used to hit them! Yeah! THAT'S IT! Well... Erm... As I was saying, someone will do something to get over that solution, so, make it impenetrable guys! It'll at least hold on a little longer...