Over the last couple of days, Valve has faced some criticism from Linux players after reports came in that automatic VAC bans were being passed down to those with ‘catbot’ in their Linux username. For those who don’t know, a catbot is an aiming cheat for Team Fortress 2, for a while it went undetected by the VAC anti-cheat system, but recently the ban hammer finally came down on those players. This led to some of them claiming foul play on VAC’s part.
At the time, bug reports were being filed on Github, claiming that Valve was VAC banning Linux users automatically for having ‘catbot’ in their Linux username but not their Steam username. If true, this would have been something of a privacy over reach and could have affected innocent players. However, it turns out that these bug reports may have been false, with a Valve employee taking to Reddit to clear the air.
Reddit user vMcJohn is a confirmed Valve employee, who shared the following message to Linux players: “Hi! Valve employee here. The bug report is incorrect. VAC will not ban you for simply having catbot in your user name (either your steam profile or on one or more of your linux accounts). The bug report–and I suspect many of the posts in this thread–are a tactic employed by cheaters to try and sow discord and distrust among anticheat systems.”
“Linux historically hasn’t been a problem for cheating–the base rate of cheating is significantly lower on Linux than it is on Windows. Unfortunately, a “healthy” community of cheaters grew up around catbot on linux and their impact on TF became large enough that they simply could no longer be ignored. Those banned users are very annoyed that VAC has dropped the hammer on them.”
Aside from that, in the r/Games discussion, user ‘temp2145’ put together a comprehensive list of the users complaining about these catbot bans. In most cases, each user was found to have been involved in cheats in some form, despite claiming to have been unfairly banned by Valve over having a catbot username. With that in mind, it seems that supporters of the catbot cheat were attempting to instigate some drama by painting the picture that Valve was issuing VAC bans to users not connected to TF2 or catbot. Given the evidence, this does not seem to have been the case.
KitGuru Says: If Valve had been banning players based on their choice of username for their operating system, then this would have been an issue. After all, Valve shouldn’t be reaching beyond Steam to collect information on users. However, after seeing the evidence and comments from Valve employees, it seems that this was in fact a case of known cheaters attempting to plant seeds of distrust among the player base.