Hold On! Gimme A Sec

Call of Duty is getting kernel level anti-cheat

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Activision warned cheaters in Call of Duty yesterday that bad news was on the way. It stated, “Cheaters aren’t welcome,” “There’s no tolerance for cheaters, and soon you’ll know what we mean.” Ricochet, a new anti-cheat technology that uses a kernel-level driver to “assist in the identification of cheaters, reinforcing and strengthening the overall server security.” was announced today.

“The Ricochet Anti-Cheat initiative is a multi-faceted approach to combat cheating,” Activision said. “It includes new server-side tools that monitor analytics to identify cheating, improved investigation processes to stamp out cheaters, updates to strengthen account security, and more.” “A new PC kernel-level driver, developed internally for the Call of Duty franchise and launching first for Call of Duty: Warzone, is included with Ricochet Anti-Cheat, in addition to server enhancements. This driver will aid in the detection of cheaters, as well as strengthening and reinforcing the overall server security.”

Kernel mode anti-cheats, which have previously been seen in games like Valorant, Doom Eternal, and Genshin Impact, are controversial because they’re always on—basically, they’re always watching what you’re doing. Ricochet will only work when Call of Duty: Warzone is running, according to Activision in a dedicated FAQ: To play online, the Ricochet kernel will be required, but when players exit the game, the kernel driver will also exit. To play Valorant, Riot’s proprietary anti-cheat program Vanguard must be running at all times.

Activision emphasized that point on Twitter:

Ricochet will only be available on PC, but “by extension, console players playing via cross-play against players on PC will also stand to benefit,” according to Activision. Because the most popular cheating tools are aimbot and wallhack programs that can be downloaded for free on a PC, banning these cheating methods should, in theory, deter most cheaters.

“There is no single solution or policy to cheating. The Ricochet Anti-Cheat team’s commitment is the relentless pursuit of fair play, which is fought against the sophisticated issue of cheating. We are dedicated and determined to evolve the Ricochet Anti-Cheat System, fighting for the community against those that aim to spoil their gaming experience.”

It’ll be a tough sell, especially after Riot’s public backlash over Vanguard around the time of Valorant’s release, but there appears to be some early support for the new system on social media. This may not come as a surprise: Cheaters abound in the Warzone, and traditional efforts to stop them haven’t yielded much success. A large number of players believe there is something useful to be done: “Something about giving Activision kernel-level access to my computer doesn’t sit right with me,” Redditor t hugs3 explained, “but at the same time, I’ve been killed by so many cheaters that I couldn’t give a shit at this point.”

Call of Duty’s new backend anti-cheat features will go live with the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard on November 5. The kernel level driver will roll out later this year with the Pacific update for Call of Duty: Warzone.

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