If you've played online video games for any amount of time, chances are you've eventually run into cheaters and hackers in some form. Sometimes these hackers can completely ruin an experience, while other times, they might add something useful or hilarious or even help players overcome problems created by the developers. Hacking in gaming runs the spectrum, and as much as the industry might fight it, this will always be the case. With that in mind, we want to look at some famed examples of the good and the bad hacking in video gaming.
Wait, Good Hacking?
Despite its reputation, hacking by itself is not an inherently good or bad thing. As CyberGhost reports, the concept of ethical hackers highlights this. These hackers work to reveal systems software flaws, giving the information to developers who might then apply patches.
Hackers in this vein are employed at some of the biggest organizations in the world, including Lenovo, Google, and IBM. In video games, hackers who reveal security holes can provide enormous advantages, even if they’re rarely celebrated for their efforts.
Some of the most famous examples of help from ethical hackers came in PC online systems in the Dark Souls series. According to Eurogamer, hackers looking into the always funky Dark Souls net code discovered serious flaws that let invaders run custom code on a player’s system.
A bad actor here couldn’t just kill you on your tenth run back to Artorias the Abysswalker. They could go so far as to infect or take over your entire PC. The result was Dark Souls servers going offline for months while From Software patched the issue, which wasn’t ideal, but it’s a lot better than the alternative.
The Poor Sports
Evil hackers in video games don't have to be system destroyers. They can also run smaller cheats that can be just as frustrating to other players. Wall hacks are some of the most common in online games like PUBG, allowing cheaters to gain knowledge of your location and load-outs no matter where on the map you find yourself. Though many of these are eventually discovered, resulting in outcomes like the 2 million account bans in PUBG Mobile, as noted by SVG, they can also remain undetected for years.
Another famous and all-to-common example of hacks affecting video games comes from dedicated denial of service (DDOS) attacks. This is where online servers are flooded with more data than they can handle, rendering online play impossible. The two Titanfall games are prime examples of DDOS attacks, where the games' online modes have been unplayable for years thanks to DDOS attacks that the developers and publishers can't or won't address. Then, these titles are published by EA, a notoriously small company without the financial means to protect their players.
Hacking in video games is as predictable as the rising of the tides. It will never go away, but there is hope that negative hacks will become more difficult as developers and publishers improve and share their defenses. With the help of ethical hackers, bad actors have a harder time with each generation, a trend we pray only continues.