What Is a VAC Ban? (2023)

Cheating is the worst side of gaming, and the use of anti-cheat systems like Valve’s Anti-Cheat ensures cheat-free games in the best case.

In over 35 years of gaming, Masakari and I have seen some of the strangest cheaters, and we’ve always wondered why on the one hand, you’d want to destroy other people’s games, and on the other hand, you’d risk a permanent ban. Masakari and I have not received a ban since the introduction of VAC. But, of course, we know some spectacular cases in the competitive scene.

Every player should inform about VAC to avoid getting a ban due to ignorance.

In this post, I will answer some questions about VAC and cheating.

Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.

What is a VAC Ban?

If a VAC ban is applied to an account, the account will be banned from the corresponding game and can no longer connect to the game servers. You can still start the game via Steam, but playing is blocked.

What Games are VAC Enabled?

Valve’s anti-cheat technology is integrated into almost 600 games on Valve’s Steam platform (2021).  Here is the list of protected games.

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Is There Any Way to Know The Cause of The VAC Ban?

Valve does not disclose what causes a VAC ban. Even the affected player only gets a message that a game ban has been initiated. 

Are There Different Types of VAC Bans?

In general, a VAC ban only affects the game in which you applied the cheat. An exception is a VAC ban on a source game, which involves all related source games. Another exception is a VAC ban on a gold source game, which affects all related gold source games.

These are the Source Games:

  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Half-Life 2: Deathmatch
  • Day of Defeat: Source
  • Team Fortress 2

These are the Gold Source Games:

  • Counter-Strike
  • Condition Zero
  • Ricochet
  • Day of Defeat
  • Team Fortress Classic
  • Half-Life: Deathmatch
  • Deathmatch Classic

How to Avoid Getting a VAC Ban?

A VAC ban can be avoided when playing exclusively from trusted computer systems on servers with VAC protection. However, compromised custom skins and tampering game modifications such as scripts or files can trigger a VAC Ban.

Valve refers to their Account Security Recommendations for more detailed information.

What are the Effects of a VAC Ban on a Steam Account?

If VAC bans you, the corresponding account receives the following penalties:

  • You cannot purchase any VAC applied Steam games with this account
  • You cannot play games that support VAC
  • You cannot appeal. If banned by mistake, your account will be unbanned after a certain period
  • You cannot receive VAC applied games as gifts
  • You cannot merge items to another account
  • You cannot upload content on the Steam community for VAC applied games

Can a VAC Ban be Removed?

According to Valves support Website, this statement applies: VAC bans are permanent, non-negotiable, and cannot be removed by Steam Support.

Does VAC Produce False Positive Bans?

The pattern recognition of the VACnet technology can lead to an incorrect decision when evaluating detected software and scripts. If the wrong decision is reversed after a ban, the affected accounts are automatically unbanned. False-positive detections are very rare.

What is the difference between VAC Ban, Server Ban, and Game Ban?

As a rule, a VAC ban always refers to a game on the Steam platform operated by Valve. A server ban can be pronounced against a player by the game server operator independently of a VAC ban. A game ban can be issued separately from a VAC ban by the manufacturer of a computer game. 

When was VAC Introduced?

Valve released the first version of Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) in 2002. The development of VAC started in 2001. The first games covered by VAC were all titles of the Counter-Strike series. 

How does VAC Work?

Valves Anti-Cheat (VAC) constantly checks the integrity of all associated game files. Changes to the game files and save information lead to flagging of the corresponding Steam account. The check of an abnormality is either automatic or, in rare cases, manual. 

VAC cannot be turned off or removed without stopping or crashing the game.

What is VACnet?

Since 2007, Valve has increasingly used artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to detect new cheats automatically. The technology used is called VACnet.

How Good is VAC in Detecting Cheats?

For newly detected cheats, VAC delays the ban and collects information first. After a particular time, a ban wave occurs. As soon as the cheat is officially known, an automatic ban occurs as soon as the cheat is detected again. 

This approach causes shockwaves in the ranks of cheaters. Against the simple mass of cheaters, VAC helps very well. However, good hackers keep publishing very customized cheats, which VAC does not detect until a player report triggers an investigation.

However, Valve’s VAC and Riot Games’ Vanguard are probably the best anti-cheat system available on the market.

If you want to learn more about the anti-cheat tool from Riot Games, we recommend you to read this:

Final Thoughts

Cheats have been around as long as there have been computer games. What started with shortcuts and minor game aids for single-player games quickly escalated into game-destroying actions in multiplayer games.

Even in Esports events that are broadcast by the media, cheaters have already been noticed in public.

In this post, we’ve looked at why cheaters cheat in the first place:

Ultimately, we can only recommend all players: Keep your hands off cheats or other unfair game aids.

If you cheat once and get caught, you will never be respected by another gamer again. 

If you have a question about the post or pro gaming in general, write us: contact@raiseyourskillz.com.

GL & HF! Flashback out.