COD Vanguard & Warzone Ricochet anti-cheat revealed with controversial kernel-level PC driver

Call of Duty beta multiplayer gameplay preview

Activision has revealed the new Ricochet anti-cheat system for Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone. It will feature in COD Vanguard at launch on 5th November, and be added to COD Warzone with the Pacific update later this year.

The Ricochet Anti-Cheat system will work on multiple levels to try and stamp out cheaters. This includes server-side monitoring tools, better investigation processes and strengthened account security measures. Most controversial, however, is the PC kernel-level driver, which will be used first with Warzone.

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PC kernel-level anti-cheat drivers have been seen previously with competitive games like Valorant, they are particularly controversial due to how deeply they must burrow into the operating system’s inner workings. It could present a new avenue for hackers to gain access to your computer, if the driver has any security flaws, and also encourages cheat creators to dig deeper into the system themselves. Thankfully we haven’t seen any horror stories of this happening… yet.

However, while Valorant’s anti-cheat driver is always active and requires rebooting the system in order to deactivate, Ricochet will only run when you play a game that uses it and will shut down when the game is closed. Activision also state that the driver will only monitor and report on system activity related to Call of Duty.

Ensuring player privacy is extremely important, and the prospect of a kernel-level driver may give some players pause. Given those concerns, here is how your privacy will remain unaffected with RICOCHET Anti-Cheat:

  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat’s kernel-level driver operates ONLY while playing Call of Duty: Warzone on PC.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat’s driver is not always-on.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat’s driver monitors the software and applications that interact with Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • When you shut down Call of Duty: Warzone, the driver turns off.

(Activision’s emphasis)

Call of Duty beta multiplayer flame guy

Anti-cheat systems are becoming increasingly important for video games as free to play games allow for easier repeat access to video games despite bans for cheating. Additionally, as cross-platform gaming becomes more and more prevalent, it’s more important for developers to secure the PC platform where it’s easier to load up cheat software and gain an unfair advantage over consoles as well as PC (not that it isn’t already bad enough to affect PC gamers). It’s an arms race, especially for the most popular games in the world like Call of Duty, Fortnite and Overwatch.

Source: Activision

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