Quit your day job. Hackers are raking in a ton of money selling illegal video game cheats.

An underground group of criminal hackers has been making millions selling video game cheats.

You’ve probably played the game they’re making cheats for. They include Counter Strike, GTA V, and DayZ. These days, when you buy a new game it will probably have a black market community out there.

Tegen Harton, associate producer for Behemia Interactive recently discussed his company’s efforts to stop these cheat-sellers.

Speaking to Matthew Kumar at PCGamesN, Harton reported that DayZ cheats are sold for up to $500 on the black market.



You heard that right. People are actually willing to pay $500 to cheat in DayZ. I guess losing in DayZ is a legit #FirstWorldProblem!



You’re probably wondering just what the hell a $500 cheat does. It gives players access to DayZ’s debug mode. This is similar to “premium” (illegal) cheats available for The Division, Counter-Strike: GO, and lots of other new games.


Harton explained how hard it was for a company like Bohemia Interactive to become aware of and access these cheats. “Buying a cheat is not so easy,” he said. “There are public cheat services, but many private services that make it really hard to get your hands on the exploit they use, hoping that if you don’t know about it, you won’t notice it. Public sites can get taken down quickly if you are vigilant.”



If you want to get into these illegal cheats you’re going to have to break down some walls


If you’re wondering how exactly you go about getting hold of illegal game cheats, it’s not that easy.

“[The hackers] take a lot of precautions to limit leaks,” says Harton. “Usually hardware ID locks – so we have had to create fake citizen IDs for Russian or Chinese communities to see the cheat. We’ve had Skype interviews with people in Russia and China, countries we didn’t have any staff from, in order to convince the person selling the cheat we are the person he is trying to sell the cheat to!”




Harton also reveals that people who sell these cheats make over $1 million a year.

With that sort of money at stake, we’re seeing the rise of a real criminal underground of cheaters. And it’s not joke. Lots of those cheaters are heavy-duty criminals. They’ve even sent death-threats to any video game developer that challenges them. The situation is so bad in the future there are likely to be video game jobs that revolve around tracking these cheaters and taking legal action.


“I’ve been personally harassed by cheaters – they’ve found me, and actually sent me death threats,” says Harton.



Occasionally, these criminals get caught. 30 year old Akihide Yamamoto was arrested in June 2015 for selling cheats for Alliance of Valiant Arms, an online shooter.


Yamamoto, a resident of Himeji City, created and sold an overpowered character to a 40 year old man for 20,000 yen (that’s US$168). Prior to that he was arrested for selling cheats in other games.

When Yamomoto was caught authorities estimated he’d been selling cheats for five years. He’d made 20 million yen ($168,000).


People are also being arrested for using illegal cheats. In 2014, three gamers were taken to court by online game company Nexon for obstruction of businesss (using in-game cheats).

These three gamers were cheating in online first person shooter Sudden Attack. This was the first time gamers had been arrested for using video game cheats.




The situation is red hot right now. Criminals are making millions selling cheats for games, and game developers are now out to find a lawyer and to take things to court, but they’re receiving death threats.

We’ll be following this story. Join us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.


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