TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
What just happened? Last year saw Valve shut down around 40,000 Steam accounts following its Summer sale---the largest wave of bans in the platform's history. But the company beat its record recently when Valve's Anti-Cheat technology (VAC) kicked over 95,000 users off the service over the course of a week.
As SteamDB shows, VAC bans went into overdrive last Wednesday when over 28,500 people were handed the punishments. Most days, that figure is somewhere between 1000 and 2000. Things peaked the following day, when a massive 61,423 users received bans. As of last Friday, the VAC system had banned 95,812 accounts.
As noted by PCgamesN, the sudden increase in VAC bans is likely due to new cheat being identified and the subsequent banning of all accounts that use it. VAC monitors many popular games, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Team Fortress 2, the Call of Duty series, Ark: Survival Evolved, and around 300 others.
As explained in Valve's FAQ, the bans are permanent and cannot be removed by Steam Support, so getting around them usually means opening a new account with a different phone number and purchasing the games again.
Some of those who were recently banned have not only lost the ability to play the games with their accounts but have also forfeited their inventories. Subreddit VAC_Porn shows one of the banned accounts had 30,000 dollars' worth of CS:GO skins, amazingly.