Activision forces takedown of fan-created mods and servers for old Call of Duty games

Activision Blizzard has forced the shutdown of dedicated fan servers and mods for old Call of Duty (COD) games being run by fans of the franchise, Ars Technica reports.

According to the publication, the COD game publisher recently took legal action against modding group SM2 and custom client and server provider X Labs.

Over the past two years, SM2 has been modding 2009’s Modern Warfare 2 with a redesigned user interface, new streak and progression system, new weapons, and in-game perks.

It also moved its modded version of the game to the more modern engine used for Modern Warfare Remastered.

However, the first version of the mod was never released because Activision Publishing sent SM2 a cease-and-desist letter a few weeks ago.

“We are complying with this order and shutting down all operations permanently,” an SM2 team member wrote on Twitter on 17 May 2023.

The website and Discord channel for the mod project have subsequently been shut down.

About a week after, X Labs also got served with a cease-and-desist.

X Labs offers custom clients and servers with new features, quality-of-life improvements, and enhanced protection against cheaters in the original Modern Warfare 2Ghosts, and Advanced Warfare.

According to players of these older titles, the official servers offered by Activision had virtually no security.

It is likely that these servers are not a major priority for the publisher, as it wants players to log in and spend money on their newest games.

Hackers on official servers have managed to kick players out of games, and reset their in-game ranks and unlocked content.

Furthermore, using the official servers reportedly exposes users’ IP addresses, making it easier for attackers to target them.

Ironically, another major provider of custom COD clients — Plutonium Project — has warned it has seen an increase in threat actors using cease and desists to spread malware through their own “alternatives”.

“They are trying to do this on our forums and multiple Discord Servers,” Plutonium Project tweeted. “One such example is a .rar file containing Loader.exe — this is a credential stealer.”

It said it was removing the links and banning their posters as best it could.

“But take this as a warning from us — do not blindly trust new projects, links or promises — especially right now,” it cautioned.

At the time of publication, Plutonium Project had not yet received any notices from Activision.

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Activision forces takedown of fan-created mods and servers for old Call of Duty games