Did Special K just get me perma banned?

Hi guys,

First of all, I love Special K, I’ve been replaying so many games with in HDR on my OLED and it’s all I ever wanted. It’s truly amazing.

But I just experienced something that makes me scratch my head. My Modern Warfare account just got perma banned and I’m trying to figure out why. I had this account since launch with hundreds of hours on it. I didn’t use any cheats, never been toxic or did anything what would make me receive a ban. The only thing I used during gaming was Nvidia Freestyle, which shouldn’t be a problem.

I always closed Special K before starting Modern Warfare, but Special K might been open when the Blizzard launcher was active. Could that already be a problem? And anyway - I would have had to whitelist Modern Warfare in Special K by hand to make it try to inject anyway, right?

I’m just very confused right now, and the thing that Activision just says they won’t revoke or even review any bans is just infuriating. Never buying any stuff from them again.

SpecialK could be used for notorious purposes (being able to see through walls potentionally, among others). It has been known to trip some anti-cheat. And I know for a fact that it trips the Anti-cheat in World of Warcraft (luckily there that just results in a disconnect ~60 seconds after logging in) and that is another Activision/Battle.Net title. So it, is possible SpecialK is the cause. But, there is no way to know for sure unless they told you explicitly the reason. In general, never use SpecialK with anything that employs any kind of anti-cheat.

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It’s honestly very possible, but without an explicit statement as to what and not really knowing 100% of the details of your system, it’s really hard to give a yes or no.

This is more of the problem in my opinion. These policies are so absurd considering there genuinely are many false-positives in the tech world. I’d never buy anything from a company like this unless I was rich rich.

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We don’t really have any ability to say what so ever either way, so at best its just guesswork.

Here’s a few worthwhile notes though:

  • The global injection service in SKIF is not actually a part tied to the Special K Injection Frontend (SKIF) itself. You can start the global injection and then exit SKIF – the global injection will still remain active in the background.

    • This was partially not the case with SKIM, where SKIM64.exe took care of 64-bit injection while a background process rundll32.exe took care of the 32-bit injection.

    • In case of SKIF, I believe both 32-bit and 64-bit injection is taken care of by background rundll32.exe processes that retains the global injection service even if SKIF is closed down without stopping global injection.

    • The reason behind this design was to allow the use of Special K on Steam without the user appearing as “In game: Special K” for their friends on Steam.

  • Special K won’t be able to inject itself into any games running with elevated privileges unless the user does unexpected stuff such as running SKIF/SKIM/the global injection as an elevated process.

    • Games running with elevated privileges are typically the case for those using BattlEye, Easy Anti-Cheat, and a few other in-house anti-cheat solutions.

    • Though I have no idea what anti-cheat Modern Warfare makes use of, or whether it runs the game in an elevated process or not.

  • Special K’s global injection works through a Windows method that technically sees Windows injecting the DLL files into all applicable running processes (basically all that is running within the same user context). The whitelist/blacklist of Special K then determines whether the DLL functionality should actually “initialize” fully, or if the DLL file should remain entirely idle within the process.

    • The initial implementation of this form of global injection also saw Special K eject itself from processes if it found itself in a non-whitelisted process, but since it’s Windows that injects the DLL file, Special K would just be re-injected into the same process immediately after. This created insane issues where SK got injected/ejected out of processes hundreds if not thousands of times per second, and so the method was redesigned to leave the DLL file remain in an idle state instead until the global injection was stopped.

Therefor it is theoretically possible that you started the global injection service of SKIF, then closed down SKIF without stopping the global injection service (so global injection remained active in the background), then the game (or Battle.net) might’ve launched a process that ran within the same security context (the user-space) as the global injection, causing Windows to inject Special K into the process. That alone, even though Special K didn’t initialize properly or actually manipulated anything, might’ve been enough for Modern Warfare’s devs to call foul and throw the banhammer at you despite evidence of cheating.

But as mentioned it’s basically guesswork. The risk is there, yes, but only Modern Warfare devs can confirm whether or not Special K was actually why you were banned.

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Black Ops from Treyarch was notoriously aggressive but I think some of the earlier games in the COD series already had started to implement tough anti cheat routines.

Game even got patched so offline mode could tag you with that TAC ban (Treyarch Anti Cheat) and resulting game ban on Steam with little chance to get it overruled so the best is to never use anything not explicitly whitelisted as I see it.

ReShade has had a increase in problems as well as developers or anti cheat middleware become more tough on what’s allowed through and there’s always a attempt to try support but it usually never results in the ban being lifted.

There’s some impressive tech and functionality in SpecialK but the same functionality is also prone to causing anti tamper and anti debug functionality to act up and I would be very careful using it in a online setting which I know is prone to banning for third party utilities either full on with notifications and prompts or at times even silently like the “soft bans” of Dark Souls for example.

EDIT: I wonder if Aemony isn’t fairly spot on though they’d get it via SKIF running in the background scanning running services and such which is also a very common practice.

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Tell them to @#$% off for not telling you why they banned you. I don’t appreciate that any more than you do :-\

Between anti-virus software and anti-cheat software never telling you what or even why they did something, computing’s way more obtuse than it needs to be.

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Wow, first of all, thanks guys for all these very detailed answers and explainations. That’s alot more than what I got at the Activision forum, where the answer is basically just “Bans don’t get reviewed” and that’s case closed.

I think Aemony might be right here, I can’t really tell if I completely stopped and closed Special K before launching Modern Warfare again. I just remember that I tried getting Yakuza 0 to run with HDR and playing Modern Warfare after that, but I hit “exit” on Special K. Didn’t know that I had to manually stop the service aswell, should have looked further into it. My bad.

Well, and that’s really the only thing I could imagine messing the with anti cheat technology. I just wish Activision wouldn’t be such assholes about it. I was disconnected mid game and then it just says “Your account has been permantly banned” when I try to start the game again. I can’t even access the offline content anymore, no singleplayer campaign - nothing. Spent 60 bucks on the game at launch and bought into several seasons of the battle pass - now I’m locked out of everything without the chance of any support from Activision - guilty without trial. You don’t get any information, no mail, no contacts, nothing. Take it and ■■■■ off. Needless to say I won’t be ever buying anything from them. But that’s another story.

Again, thanks for all the answers and help I got here, will make sure I completely stop the Special K process in the future. This never happened to me before, and I’m way over 30 and been playing multiplayer games since the first Unreal Tournament…

Same sort of thing happened to me as well… twice: Once in Battlefield 3 and once in League of Legends… And it made me never buy any EA game or Riot games game ever again.

BF3… I’m a dutchman and moved around the world a lot for my work… So I happen to live in Johannesburg-South Africa for 2 years without a stable internet connection so never played any multiplayer games. Apparently I got hacked in those 2 years, because when I wanted to play online again I was unable to do so, punkbuster citing me that I had cheated… after a long and winding discussion I still am unable to play online.

LoL… Got hacked… the hacker used my account to play the game and buy skins and I don’t know what… the skins were paid for with a stolen credit card. Account got blocked… After a hiatus of not playing due to me being in Jo’burg I finally meet up with my IRL friends and they asked me to play LoL with them… I try to log in > not possible… I start a dispute: yup… got hacked, hacker paid with an uncovered credit card… please pay up 300 euro for the skins THE HACKER bought and get your account back… I told them to remove the skins, they say they can’t do that. I told them to go put my account somewhere the light doesn’t shine and ■■■■ off out of my life… never touched any RIOT games game ever again… and to think that I was there when they started out in 2009…

This stuff really sucks. In the hundreds of hours that I played I encountered cheaters almost daily, they basically run free. But I, as a mediocre player, with mediocre stats, get banned and don’t get any chance to appeal. Now it also seems like I can’t even post in the subreddit about it any more, my posts need to get approved by mods all of a sudden, which they don’t. It’s a giant shit show, really. Activision supports also ignores me on twitter. Amazing.