Call of Duty: Warzone was suffering from a pretty severe hacker problem until recently when Activision and Infinity Ward implemented stricter anti-cheat measures, including the need for phone number verification on new accounts.
This new security measure did succeed in cutting down cheater numbers significantly, but now sightings and reports of cheaters are on the rise again, and it's possible the community has figured out why.
A fan, going by the username aur0n on Reddit, posted a pretty telling screenshot that shows how hackers get around the phone verification step.
Using phone numbers to verify accounts and weed out duplicates and bots has been a common practice across many games and platforms, and is hardly new. As a result there already exists a community focused on using and selling throwaway burner numbers online. A banned hacker can buy a new, verified, blank account for as cheap as $2 and continue disrupting gameplay.
Hardware bans are another known anti-cheat method used by most AAA games, but are even easier to circumvent than phone verification, and many hack services sell these exploits in bundles. Players who get a kick out of this toxic behavior need only spend small sums to get around a ban.
While having to make any purchase at all does push down the numbers of hackers who will exploit this, it still makes the game difficult to play properly.
At this point you may be wondering why we're writing about this - since there is nothing we can do aside from waiting for the developers to step in, isn't this effectively advertising these anti-cheat-circumvention services, however indirectly?
We need to signal boost this problem in as many ways as possible - the original post has 7.6K upvotes and several awards at time of writing - to spread awareness among the legitimate players, and kick up as big a storm around the issue as we can.
This is the best way to ensure that stronger anti-cheat measures are implemented into the game itself, making these exploits either impossible to enact, or worthless to use. If hacker sock accounts are banned with such frequency that even $2 payments rack up too quick, the issue will finally be solved.
We'll keep an eye on any statements made by Activision or Infinity Ward regarding the ongoing battle against cheats in Call of Duty: Warzone.