I receive the error "VAC banned from secure servers" when attempting to join a server - what does it mean?
All VAC bans are permanent - Valve has a zero-tolerance policy for cheating and will not lift VAC bans on request. Steam Support agents cannot remove or modify bans. If a round of VAC bans is determined to have been issued incorrectly, they will be automatically reversed by our servers. Creating a Steam Support ticket will not cause your ban to be removed.
This message indicates that your account has been banned by the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) system for cheating.
To see which games your VAC ban affects, please launch Steam and go to Steam > Settings > Account tab > select "Click here for details" under VAC Status.
If an account that has a phone number registered to it receives a VAC or Game ban, all other accounts that use the same phone number will also receive a ban. If the other accounts do not own the game they will still receive the ban and be unable to purchase the title on that account. The phone number on an account that receives a ban will be suspended for three months and cannot be applied to another account during that time. The cooldown duration for applying a phone number after a ban will increase each time a cooldown is applied.
This feature is not enabled for all games and will be used at the discretion of the developer.
The VAC ban cannot be removed regardless of who was using your account at the time it was banned. While we understand this can be frustrating we must have a zero tolerance policy for cheating to foster a fair game that players will enjoy. In order for a zero tolerance policy to be effective we must hold users responsible for the security of their account. Please see the Account Security Recommendations FAQ to secure your account from attackers.
We will not disclose the cheats that were detected while connected to a VAC secured server. We have detailed records for each VAC ban; however releasing this information will only benefit cheat developers. The VAC team is continuously investigating VAC bans when users claim them to be false.
When a cheat is detected, VAC issues a ban on the account for a future date. You do not need to be online at the time for this ban to take effect.
Your account may still be used to play single-player games or to connect to insecure game servers and for games played over a LAN. To find insecure servers, please change your filter settings in the server browser list to show servers which are not VAC-secured (from the Steam main menu go to the View option, select Servers and then select "Not secure" in the Anti-Cheat drop-down).
NOTE: Some VAC secured games like the Call of Duty series do not have insecure servers.
Steam Support cannot move games from a VAC banned account to other accounts. You can still register and purchase new games on a VAC banned account, however we do recommend creating a new account for future purchases.
If you choose to purchase a new copy of the banned game, please register it or purchase it under a newly-created Steam account. Prior to installing, remove all cheats from your system - if you do not know how or where the cheats were installed, you may want to consider reformatting your hard drive(s) and starting over with a fresh installation of your operating system.
If you receive a ban for a game that has in-game items such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, your items cannot be transferred to a different account.