A newly discovered exploit in GTA Online’s code is allowing unscrupulous modders on PC to remove other players’ money, reduce their reputation levels and even lock them out of the game entirely.
Twitter user Tez2 (opens in new tab) recently highlighted the issue – which he claims was discovered by fellow Twitter user HarryGotTaken (opens in new tab) – explaining that this exploit allows cheaters “to remotely add/remove/modify your stats and permanently corrupt your account aka ban/delete”. Tez2 warned GTA Online players not to play right now while the exploit can still be taken advantage of by cheaters, or to “avoid playing without a firewall rule”.
News of the exploit has spread to the GTA Online community proper too. Thousands have responded to a post by Reddit user PapaXan (opens in new tab) which highlights Tez2’s tweet and encourages GTA Online players to mass report the issue to developer Rockstar,
Though the exploit only affects those playing the game on PC, it’s daunting to see cheaters have the power to outright corrupt other players’ accounts. To make matters worse, there are accounts of players receiving unsolicited “gifts” from hackers and then being banned by Rockstar on the grounds that they are benefitting from the exploit (via Hacker News (opens in new tab)).
#GTAOnline PC High Alert⚠️New extreme exploits have appeared allowing cheaters to remotely add/remove/modify your stats and permanently corrupt your account aka ban/delete.Avoid playing without a firewall rule or playing at all!🚨Thanks to @HarryGotTaken for notifying. pic.twitter.com/tyh4tCInMLJanuary 20, 2023
Though this exploit is particularly nasty, cheating has long been a problem in GTA Online. I’ve seen a number of Reddit threads (opens in new tab) highlighting Grand Theft Auto Online’s numerous cheating issues over the years.
Similarly, Rockstar’s Red Dead Online also suffered at the hands of hackers. This led some (opens in new tab) to claim that Rockstar simply wasn’t combating cheaters at all – which the developer denied in an interview with PCGamesN (opens in new tab).
Griefing and cheating are as old as online games themselves, however, developers have often crafted proactive responses in order to safeguard their communities. Call of Duty: Vanguard famously trolled cheaters to death by making enemy players invisible to any detected hackers, while third-person sci-fi shooter Outriders from People Can Fly permanently branded cheaters by adding an immovable watermark to their screen and forcing them to matchmake solely with other cheaters.
It is my hope that Rockstar will follow in the footsteps of other developers and seek to address these new exploits quickly. However, given their track record with previous cheating-related problems, I’m not holding my breath.