WarOwl finds out how often reported hackers really are cheating

By Steven Rondina


Jul 12, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

Anyone that has ever played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has probably suspected an opponent to be hacking.

Whether it’s a pair of headshots through a smoke, an inexplicable wall bang, or a strangely keen game sense that allows the enemy team to know every time someone is sitting in a boost spot, weird things can happen in CSGO.

But were those players just lucky? Or were they actually using third-party software? Popular YouTuber WarOwl decided to investigate by joining CSGO’s Overwatch for a recent video.

Overwatch is a player-regulated moderation system in CSGO that tasks experienced players with reviewing people that have been issued a number of reports. Members participating in the Overwatch download replays of games in which a player has been reported and are tasked with determining whether they were actually cheating.

During his time participating in Overwatch, WarOwl found that the vast majority of players submitted for review were flagged for legitimate reasons. Of the 50 cases he worked on, he voted in favor of punishing 45 of them, a 90% rate.

While it is unclear how many reports are required for an individual to find themselves under review, that is an overwhelming majority.

In most cases, players were hacking in a blatant fashion. The footage contained all of the signature signs of wall hacks and aimbots, with players hitting inhumanly quick flick shots to an opponent’s head or reliably tagging enemies through walls. Though a handful of normal players were included to keep Overwatch reviewers from simply labelling everyone as a hacker, the vast majority of suspects seemed to be guilty.

From there, WarOwl gives a detailed breakdown of the habits of CSGO hackers.

Wingman was found to be packed with cheaters. A huge number of games featured some manner of shenanigans, with several actually including cheaters on both teams.

In terms of the natural habitat of cheaters, Dust 2 was the most popular map for hackers in standard games, followed by Mirage. Rialto was the most popular map in Wingman, but it wasn’t disproportionately favored.

Unsurprisingly, the go-to weapons for cheaters were sniper rifles and the Desert Eagle. The SSG-08 was the most popular due to its high movement speed coupled with its ability to get guaranteed kills with a headshot, but the AWP and auto snipers also got some play.

An important discovery made by WarOwl is that CSGO’s Prime Matchmaking option seemingly serves as a great filter. Most games involved players using free-to-play accounts, while Prime games enjoyed a much lower frequency of hackers.