Call of Duty

Activision Sues Call of Duty Cheat Site EngineOwning

Call of Duty: Vanguard brought the Ricochet Anti-Cheat system to Warzone, but cheaters remain a problem.
Call of Duty: Vanguard brought the Ricochet Anti-Cheat system to Warzone, but cheaters remain a problem. / Activision

Activision has filed a lawsuit against the website EngineOwning for selling cheats for Call of Duty: Warzone and other online shooters.

The lawsuit, which Activision filed in the Central District of California, accuses the site of "trafficking for circumvention devices," in addition to "intentional interference with contractual relations" and "unfair competition."

EngineOwning's site advertises "undetected cheats" for a wide range of games, including Warzone, Call of Duty: Vanguard, Halo Infinite, Battlefield V, Splitgate, and several others. Customers subscribe to cheat engines that provide automatic aiming, complete map knowledge down to individual loot piles, x-ray vision, and so on. The administrator of a rival cheat provider described EngineOwning as "the biggest COD cheat provider of all time," in an interview with Motherboard.

In its suit, Activision describes EngineOwning as a "German business entity... engaged in the development, sale, distribution, marketing, and exploitation of a portfolio of malicious cheats and hacks for popular online multiplayer games, most prominently the COD games."

EngineOwning also claims to be working on cheats for Overwatch, another Activision Blizzard game.

Activision has taken the unusual step of naming individual members of EngineOwning, including Valentin "Skyfail" Rick, whom it says it contacted in 2018 and 2020. Rick told Activision he had sold the site, but it appears as though he continues to own and operate EngineOwning.

The suit also names alleged site administrator Leonard "Reganmian" Bygle, alleged moderator Leon "Kraisie" Frisch, alleged coder and developer Ignacio "Weather" "Kokole" Gayduchenko, alleged salesperson Marc-Alexander "x0000x" "Twenty" Richts, and alleged distributor Alexander "A200k" Kleeman. These alleged participants are spread across Germany and Spain, per the suit.

With the suit, Activision "seeks to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair competitive advantages." The company seeks to shut down EngineOwning's software, provide Activision with the source code fro the cheats, provide Activision with accounting of any and all sales in the United States, damages paid for violating copyright law, and restitution of the illegal proceeds.

Cheating remains a rampant problem in Warzone, even after the institution of the new Ricochet Anti-Cheat system in December. Thousands of accounts have been banned, but cheaters continue to find their way into matches.

The threat of legal action, however, is already having an effect. Cheat provider Cynical Software announced via its public Telegram group that it would no longer sell its cheat subscriptions.

"As some of you may know, one of the biggest providers got hit with a lawsuit earlier today," the company wrote. "We are taking this opportunity as a warning to us and other providers that Activision are not messing around anymore and 'Cynical Software' does not want any part of it."