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Aimbots and triggerbots
An aimbot (sometimes called “auto-aim”) is a type of computer game bot used in multiplayer first-person shooter games to provide varying levels of automated target acquisition to the player. While most common in first person shooter games, they exist in other game types and are sometimes used along with a TriggerBot, which shoots automatically when an opponent appears within the field-of-view or aiming reticule of the player.
Aimbotting relies on the fact that each player’s client computer receives information about all the other players, whether they are visible from the player’s position on the playing field or not. Targeting is simply a matter of determining the location of any opponent relative to the player’s location and pointing the player’s weapon at the target. This targeting works regardless of whether the opponent is behind walls or too far away to be seen directly.
Some servers allow inactive players to spectate, watching the game from the viewpoints of the active players. Recording of gameplay actions is also often possible. If someone was using a targeting aimbot, the bot would be plainly obvious to the spectator as unnatural exact position tracking. Some aimbots and triggerbots attempt to hide from spectators the fact they are being used through a number of methods, such as delaying firing to hide the fact it shoots the instant an opponent is in the cheater’s crosshair. Some Triggerbot programs can be easily toggled on and off using the mouse or keyboard.
It is worth noting, however, that some cheat programs are a suite of many different features, incorporating many or all of the above as well as including options for ESP and other cheats such as affecting player movespeed, ammocount, always-on radar or enemies on map, etc., and such a suite can be colloquially called an “aimbot program”.
Artificial Lag/Lag Switch
In the peer-to-peer gaming model, lagging is what happens when the stream of data between one or more players gets slowed or interrupted, causing movement to stutter and making opponents appear to behave erratically. By using a lag switch, a player is able to disrupt uploads from the client to the server, while their own client queues up the actions performed. The goal is to gain advantage over another player without reciprocation; opponents slow down or stop moving, allowing the lag switch user to easily outmaneuver them. From the opponent’s perspective, the player using the device may appear to be teleporting, invisible or invincible, while the opponents suffer delayed animations and fast-forwarded game play, delivered in bursts. Some gaming communities refer to this method as “tapping” which refers to the users “tapping” on and off their internet connection to create the lag.
The term “lag switch” encompasses many methods of disrupting the network communication between a client and its server. One method is by attaching a physical device, called a hardware lag switch, to a standard Ethernet cable. By flipping the switch on and off, the physical connection between the client and the server is disrupted. The designers of video game console hardware have started to introduce built-in protection against lag switches in the form of voltage detectors, which detect a change in voltage when the switch is flipped. Some manufacturers have taken counter measures to bypass or trick this detector. This can also be achieved by simply unplugging the Ethernet cord going to the client, causing a disruption in the player’s internet connection. Other methods, called a software or wireless lag switch, involve using a computer program. In this method, the cheater runs an application on a computer connected to the same network as the client. The application hogs the network bandwidth, disrupting the communication between the client and its server. However, one cannot do this for an unlimited amount of time. At some point, if no traffic is being received, most game clients and/or game servers will decide that the connection has been lost and will remove the player from the game.
More advanced methods are firewall or router rules that apply bandwidth shaping and network latency, a cheat is able to adjust limits on both bandwidth and latency to stay relevant to a P2P network yet have considerable advantage over other players.
Look-ahead cheating is a method of cheating within a peer-to-peer multiplayer gaming architecture where the cheating client gains an unfair advantage by delaying his actions to see what other players do before announcing its own action.
A client can cheat using this method by acting as if it is suffering from high latency; the outgoing packet is forged by attaching a time-stamp that is prior to the actual moment the packet is sent, thereby fooling other clients into thinking that the action was sent at the correct time, but was delayed in arrival. A partial solution is the lockstep protocol.