Call of Duty’s new anti-cheat system includes a kernel-level driver to catch PC cheats

Activision finally tackles cheating Call of Duty: Warzone. A new Ricochet anti-cheat system is coming in both Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Vanguard. The system will use a combination of a kernel-level PC driver, machine learning algorithms to investigate player behavior and a “team of dedicated professionals” investigating cheaters.

The kernel-level PC driver is developed internally for the Duty franchise by Activision, and will be the first to launch for Call of Duty: Warzone with the upcoming Pacific update. PC games increasingly use kernel-level drivers to detect sophisticated trickery, but since they run at such a high level in Windows, there are always privacy concerns surrounding such an approach.

The kernel-level driver will be part of the Pacific map update for Warzone.

The Ricochet anti-cheat system in Duty won’t always be on, according to Activision. That means the kernel-level driver only works when you open it Call of Duty: Warzone, and the driver will be disabled when you exit. The driver itself monitors processes that interact with war zone to see if they try to inject code or manipulate the game, and report back the results.

Activision says it has tested the driver on a large number of PCs and it needs to play Call of Duty: Warzone when the Pacific map update launches later this year. The kernel-level driver will eventually arrive in Call of Duty: Vanguard “at a later date.”

Duty players will welcome this new anti-cheat effort, even if there will be unavoidable questions and concerns about a kernel-level driver. It comes just a day after the main course Duty Twitter account issued a stern warning to cheaters: “Cheaters are not welcome. There is no tolerance for cheaters, and soon you will know what we mean.”

While Activision has banned thousands of accounts, cheaters are still screwing up Call of Duty: Warzone for months. prominent war zone players have become very vocal about the issue, forcing Raven Software to communicate more often about the cheating issues and promise a full anti-cheat system in August.

Call of Duty: Warzone isn’t the only PC game to be affected by cheaters, though. Cheating on some of the world’s best PC games has only gotten worse over the past year, and aimbots and wallhacks are now commonplace in the industry’s most competitive shooters. Aimbots automatically lock onto opponents, making it easy to take headshots. Wallhacks expose everyone on a map, so cheaters gain a huge advantage by knowing where their opponents are at all times.

The industry struggles to fight cheaters, even with tools like Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye that also use kernel-level drivers. Appreciate has had some success with its own custom kernel-level driver, but it’s still a big investment to have teams dedicated to fighting what are basically hackers and malware authors. It’s a continuous cat-and-mouse game, as hackers regularly work around protections.

A more coordinated effort from industry may be needed to really address the problem. Microsoft is the proprietor of the Windows platform, but the company’s “TruePlay” anti-cheat system for Windows 10 never really materialized. It was limited to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) for apps, which most game developers have ignored, and it’s not clear if Microsoft will ever provide a full Windows kernel-level anti-cheat solution to help game developers. .