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One of the debug stats is "bandits killed". I originally thought they were just NPCs, but I recently encountered one (and died), and it seems to be a player.

What are bandits?

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Bandits are people who kill other people. Remember that they aren't always evil. If the other guy shot at him first and he just fought for his life, it was him or the other player. – RustyMember Aug 9 '12 at 9:57
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Recent updates have made the bandit skin and humanity meter obsolete, but the community still identifies any player who robs or murders other players for their items as a bandit.

The DayZ wiki has more information.

UPDATE: Since writing this answer, I've been following the forums and other info sources closely and learned more.

Despite that the humanity meter is no longer shown and skins no longer change, everyone still has a humanity score under the hood. You can still determine if someone is a murderer by looking at them. Your avatar's heart beats loud and fast if they have low humanity. This method is effective from any range.

Rocket has stated that humanity will eventually be a greater factor in gameplay once again, but it isn't clear how this will play out exactly, or whether it will be in the mod or just the standalone game.

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Do note: It's possible to hear this heartbeat from faraway. As a result, players may hear a heartbeat while scanning a forest line. Not sure if this is intentional from this distance, but it remains nonetheless. – Domocus Aug 9 '12 at 0:31
Thanks! I've added this info to my answer. – AlphaStrik3 Aug 9 '12 at 0:35

As far as I can tell you're correct, bandits are players.

This forum post here tells you how to unlock a skin that identifies you as one

"Humanity" meter. When you kill enough people, it goes to zero, and you get the Russian 
VSK skin to identify you as a bandit.

There's also a lot of talk on this forum post about the Bandits. Humanity doesn't reset upon death, but it does regenerate over time.

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A follow-up question would be if humanity resets when you respawn/die? – Wipqozn May 12 '12 at 16:07
I did some testing, and humanity doens't reset upond death/respawn. I've edited that into your question. – Wipqozn May 14 '12 at 21:23
Great, thanks :) – Peter May 14 '12 at 21:30

Bandits are simply players who kill other players for their gear. They usually will be around high-value locations like the NW airfield, or a heli crash site.

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Players who shoot people on sight. My advise to handling bandits is to kill them on sight even if that will make others think you are a bandit. Better you than them.

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Why did you post two answers? – deutschZuid Jun 16 '14 at 0:37

In these situations. It's usually you surviving or them. Bandits are scared of players killing them so there so they tend to try to terminate the problem. Trying watching people you just saw to try to identify if they are bandits. They are unpredictable so be prepared. But I do not suggest running over to a bandit with a gun since they will most likely kill you right away. Also don,t a Ways trust people since they will shoot you afterwards.

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