Call of Duty: Warzone hacker joins streamer's squad, forcibly crashes the game

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A mere 24 hours after our last check-in (opens in new tab) with Call of Duty: Warzone cheaters, there's a new reason to watch your back around suspicious players. It seems that Warzone cheaters are now capable of forcing a player's game to crash under certain circumstances, a lesson that 100 Thieves streamer Thomas "Tommey" Trewren learned the hard way during a July 1 livestream.

"This user just joined our lobby, said hello and then gave me a dev error? Please don't tell me it's a new thing where players can force dev errors," Trewren tweeted (opens in new tab) yesterday. He included a clip of the encounter in a follow-up tweet, which you can watch below.

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In the clip, the hacker (who appears to have a jumbled username of symbols usually impossible to use in Warzone) joins Trewren's lobby and starts asking the streamer if he'd like to know anything about Warzone, likely referring to how the cheats they're using work. Trewren, obviously annoyed that a hacker is boasting about their exploits on his stream, denies.

The hacker replies, "None? Zero? Not even like how I'm doing this?" You can hear the hacker start typing through their mic and a few seconds later, the stream freezes. Trewren had received a "dev error" screen not visible to the stream, meaning the game completely crashed. This was apparently the second time the same user had joined the lobby and seemingly forced the error. That's a little worrying! 

As several responses to Trewren's tweets have noted, the sudden crash may have to do with the hacker's unusual username. Overloading a game with long strings of text and symbols that it's not designed to handle is a method of forcing server crashes that has existed in other games—I watched it happen many times in Rainbow Six Siege (opens in new tab) before Ubisoft fixed the exploit. This is just my best guess at what the hacker is doing here, though their impossibly complex username is notable considering most cheaters opt to blend in with an unassuming name like xxDelta_POG47 or something.

Forcibly crashing the game is a pretty intimidating trick, but there's probably no need to panic. There's a good chance this crash was only possible because Trewren 1) was targeted as a popular streamer and 2) somehow left his squad open for the hacker to join. If a hacker has to be in your squad to lock up the game, then the millions of average Warzone players probably don't have much to worry about.

Still, it's a reminder that Warzone's cheating epidemic (opens in new tab) is a big problem that Activision hasn't properly addressed since the game launched over a year ago. We've reached out to Activision for clarification about this potential hack and will update the story if we learn more.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.