How the Anti-Cheat “PunkBuster” Works

PunkBuster Anti-Cheat
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PunkBuster works on a client-server basis. The PunkBuster anti-cheat client runs on the player’s computer and monitors the computer in the same way as anti-virus, and scans memory and some game files from the hard disk. The server will ask the connected clients at regular intervals if the gaming computer is still cheated. The player closes the game as soon as a hack is noticed.

PunkBuster has an update system that automatically updates the server and the client. Manual updating is also possible. By updating the software, new cheat codes must be blocked as soon as the developer knows. Another feature is also the ability of the server operator to take screenshots of all server related games to ensure that the player has manipulated the presentation.

Because the player usually has full access to the computer, he can manipulate the features of the program with sufficient experience, which makes the scam client ineffective. The balance tries to avoid this, for example by asking PunkBuster to compare the checksums to check the authenticity of the program. In addition, games and hence PunkBuster must be launched on a Windows operating system with administrator rights. From PB-v1.700 (released in August 2007), users with limited rights can play games with PunkBuster by installing it as a Windows system service.


Originally developed in 2000, PunkBuster was developed for the Half-Life-Mod Counter-Strike product. Because Valve wanted to create its own VAC (Valve Anti Cheat) anti-cheat system, PunkBuster developers did not get the support they needed and stopped half-life support. Developers offer complete integration of PunkBuster into the symbolic dollar when Valve has never followed the Half-Life source code. About four months later, in January 2001, the first commercial PunkBuster integration was released. The Id software even hired a balance to install PunkBuster’s return to Castle Wolfenstein. Other games followed (see below).

Mandatory Usage

PunkBuster is a mandatory anti-cheat program for games that are supported in most leisure and e-sports. Game server administrators have joined some community sites to share information about hackers. The three largest community sites are, and, each with thousands of servers.

PunkBuster Cons

If a player wants to play on a PunkBuster-protected server, the GUI used by the game creates a GUID that keeps the player recognizable unless that key is changed or processed. From a data protection point of view, it is therefore possible to record the player’s IP for a very long time and determine the games he plays and when.

Even according to Balance’s privacy policy, this information is not stored or shared, but it is not true. On a page like, you can ask each reader for full IP addresses. Pbbanes have full access to all information, such as IP addresses, games that the player plays, etc., as soon as you sign up for StreamingGameadmin. The PunkBuster anti-cheat is also criticized for searching for RAM and hard drives and sending encrypted data to a server that is the nature of such a program. Since the source code of the program has not been published and it is forbidden to unpack it into a program license, it is impossible to determine whether to send sensitive data.

It has also been confirmed that overriding the GUID spell is relatively easy. Guides and programs are available in popular hack forums so you can change your GUID with very little effort. Changing the CD key will give you a new GUID. PunkBuster effectively blocks and reports tips to the public. Such published tips are usually recognized after a few days.

A more efficient way to remove hacks, such as wallhacks, would be from the game server to deprive the gaming client of as much information as possible and only transfer it if the customer needs it. However, for technical reasons, these implementations are more difficult to implement and are the responsibility of game programmers.

With all that said, our private hacks can of course bypass PunkBuster without any issues.


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