The cake is a lie! Uncovering the secret world of malware-like cheats in video games

Thursday 3 October 16:00 - 16:30, Red room

Santiago Martin Pontiroli (Kaspersky Lab)

With more than 2.5 billion gamers all over the world, it's no wonder that at least a fraction of them would bring into action additional tools to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents in the virtual world. This is one of the many reasons behind the existence and rapid growth of a multimillion-dollar industry that thrives on selling cheats, hacks and modifications to desperate gamers seeking to gain the upper hand in their next match.

Let's dissect these tools and understand how modern games and anti-cheating technologies can easily be bypassed, all while we get a glimpse of the dubious market and supporting crews that develop, sell, and maintain this illegal economy. It's not unusual for cheats to be more expensive than the actual games they are trying to profit from, or for players to buy a single title over and over until they can avoid being banned by the protective measures implemented in the first place.

Fortnite? Overwatch? League of Legends? If you heard about these games but you don't know what an aim-bot, a wall-hack, or an ESP means, then you might finally understand why all those competitive matches you played have made you feel like a fish out of water.

Join me in this presentation and learn the inside-out of an industry that has remained in the shadows for a very long time. I will be presenting real-world cheats used by gamers worldwide that in some cases closely mimic techniques that would rival numerous advanced threat actors in the malware ecosystem.

Game over? Maybe not…




Santiago Pontiroli

Santiago Pontiroli joined Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) as a security researcher in 2013. His principal responsibilities include the analysis and investigation of security threats in the Latin American region, the development of automatization tools, reverse engineering of programs with malicious code and creating analysis reports derived from threat intelligence studies.

His expertise includes the analysis of gaming trends and threats, the evolution of the cryptocurrency sector and implementation of blockchain technologies.

Santiago regularly trains executives in topics such as threat intelligence, YARA, and advanced malware analysis. He has been quoted in industry publications all over Latin America and has participated as a notable speaker in industry conferences worldwide, including Virus Bulletin, BSides New York and Chile, Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit (SAS) and Nuit du Hack, among others.


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