Profile images should be hidden by blocking the domain(s) these images are loaded from. Add a string
0.0.0.0 cdn.akamai.steamstatic.com (use
0.0.0.0 doesn't work) to your operating system's hosts file, on Windows located in
~\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts (for OS X and Linux see How-To Geek's guide). Unfortunately this also prevents some images on Steam store from loading and might have other side effects - it is recommended to comment out (or delete) the lines after playing by using
// prefix on Windows (
# seems to be the Unix alternative):
For unknown reasons (on my system, may not affect everyone) profile images are blocked from loading in "deathmatch", "arms race", "demolition" and "casual" modes, but not in "competitive". However, it's possible that there are additional locations for profile mages which I'm not aware of.
This not a proper solution and will stop working if Valve moves profile images to another location. The game can also load all data from the same domain in the future, making blocking impossible without completely cutting internet access. Only Valve can effectively solve this issue, by implementing a setting to hide Steam profile images.