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A ‘Counter-Strike’ bug lets hackers control your PC with just a simple Steam invite

The bug has been around for years.

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Image: KnowTechie

A security researcher has found a bug in the game engine that runs Valve’s popular FPS Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The bug exists in the Source engine and can allow hackers to take control of a user’s PC just by getting them to accept a Steam game invite.

The bug was exposed by a researcher by the name of Florian. According to Vice, Florian originally discovered this bug in 2019, and Valve has yet to fix the issue inside of CS:GO. In fact, the bug actually exists inside of the Source engine instead of the game, so the bug was actually found in other games that use the engine, like Team Fortress 2. Florian said that the bug has been fixed in some of Steam’s Source titles, but it can still be found inside of CS:GO.

It is still not known exactly which of Valve’s games were affected by this bug. As mentioned above, the bug exists in the Source engine, so any game using this engine could be affected. To clarify exactly what that means, Florian notes:

“We can’t say in how many games it used to work and if/when things got patched. When we posted that this exploit affects every source engine game one should understand this as ‘every game might theoretically be affected as it is a bug in the engine and not something game specific.”

The scariest thing about this kind of bug is how hackers can exploit the code to spread viruses. Florian has said that the exploit could be used to infect a user and in turn make that user infect everyone that they invite through Steam afterwards. Essentially, hackers could make a virus spiderweb automatically just by infecting one person. That one person would then unknowingly spread the virus to everyone they invited to the game in the future.

This is a dangerous bug, and Valve needs to get this bug fixed as soon as possible. However, the bug has been known for years and hasn’t been addressed yet, so we probably shouldn’t expect much. For now, be very careful when accepting CS:GO invites from strangers on Steam.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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