This is the new policy, which takes effect on February 1, 2023. It supersedes and replaces any and all previous policies.
If some game mechanic is broken or unbalanced in the game and you take advantage of it, that’s an exploit. It’s an exploit if you find somewhere to sell equipment for more than you bought it for. It’s an exploit if you farm boss levels for keys from the infinitely spawning chickens. And it’s an exploit if you use an auto-clicker to reach much higher manual firing rates than any human could.
In exploits you’re still playing within the rules defined by the game, and it’s up to the game to fix them. We’re fine with this – you’re doing nothing “wrong”. The game should change prices, or should prevent chickens from dropping too much food, or should lower the maximum allowed firing rate of a weapon.
Now, if you use Cheat Engine (or whatever) to remove/increase the firing rate… well, now you’re cheating. You’re cheating if you hack the game so that items cost less. You’re cheating if you reduce enemy health. And you’re cheating if you gain an unfair advantage against other players.
With exploits, everyone is still playing by the same rules. With cheating, you’re making up your own rules.
Note that cheating is a violation of the Terms of Service, and the usual penalties for any such violations apply. This is simply a clarification of these terms.
Specifically, if you are caught cheating even once, then your cheated account will be immediately and permanently banned without warning. Any accounts that you created in the past may also be banned without warning. Any future accounts you create may also be banned without warning. Ban decisions are irrevocable and cannot be appealed.
Nevertheless, in very very VERY special cases it is possible to obtain a ban exemption if all of the following apply:
You have engaged in ‘white hat’ cheating in the past (that is, you have reported cheats that you found so they can be stopped).
You have a separate game account dedicated to testing for cheats (this cannot be an account that also has legitimate progress attached).
You are well-known, respected, and in good standing within the CIU community.
You obtain a ban exemption before you cheat.