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Grand Theft Auto V hackers were able to kill people in singleplayer

It’s no secret that GTA Online has a big cheating problem. Rarely can I play for a few hours without encountering someone who insta-explodes other players, rains hacked money, sticks a Christmas tree to my body, or traps me in a burning cage watched by a dozen Jesuses (hackers are sometimes creative, I will give them that). It’s absurd that this still happens. And even more absurd that it looks like hackers recently managed to interfere with people playing Grand Theft Auto V‘s singleplayer campaign, remotely sending commands to kill their crimeman. Players report that Rockstar seem to have fixed this now but sheesh.

Twitch fella “FriendlyBaron” posted on Reddit on Thursday that a hacker (or ‘modder’, as GTA player slang confusingly calls them) “who harassed me and some friends Tuesday killed me during a speedrun today”. He shared a video clip of him playing normally when his murderman Michael just stopped the car, got out, and spontaneously died with no visible cause.

Reports from other players, including well-regarded Twitter person “Tex2”, say that PC hacks recently added a feature letting hackers discover a player’s Rockstar Social Club ID. This then let them screw with people’s GTA V any time they were playing while online and connected to Rockstar’s account doodad – even if they were just playing the singleplayer campaign. The hackers wouldn’t personally appear in your singleplayer game but could fire commands down your pipes to mess with you. That’s quite bad.

Players report that the exploit was quickly fixed/blocked, so this shouldn’t still be a problem, but oh dear. What a spectacular mess.

I do still play GTA Online but the hackers are a real sour cherry on top of a sundae which suffering long load times and connection issues. Over three years after launch, GTAV PC’s hacker problem is still getting worse in ways. For a number of days in July, a GTA Online hacker (or hackers) blasted authentic-looking in-game hoax announcements for GTA VI. Cheats are a problem in almost every online game and fighting them is an endless arms race (Valve have even tried to use AI to detect cheat-like behaviour in Counter-Strike), but GTA’s cheaters are highly visible for the variety of dramatic and weird powers they have. And hitting singleplayer games too is a step beyond.

As well as trying to fight cheaters in the game with cheat-detection and bans, Rockstar and parent company Take-Two have been fighting in court. Last week, an Australian court approved a search order against five people accused of being behind the cheat software ‘Infamous’. As well as sending an independent expert to search the accuseds’ houses and electronics, copying any relevant information they find, the court approved of freezing most of their assets in case Take-Two get to claim damages from them. They’ve gone against a number of other cheat-makers over the years too.

Disclosure: Like half the population of Edinburgh, I have pals at Rockstar. There are so many of those people, and they are everywhere. One could be behind me RIGHT NOW. No, I’ve checked, and I’m safe… this time.

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Alice O'Connor

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