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Call of Duty’s Richocet anti-cheat is reportedly in the hands of hackers

Just a couple days after it was announced, Call of Duty’s new Ricochet anti-cheat system has reportedly leaked and is now in the hands of the very hackers that it’s trying to defeat. This could give them a head start in trying to overcome some of the technical challenges that Activision’s new kernel-level PC driver would put in place for both Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone.

Modern Warzone first reported on this, and states that they have been able to confirm that the leaked files are genuine, though the files are a few weeks old at this point. Still, it should give those with enough technical understanding the opportunity to start analysing how Ricochet interacts with the system’s kernel and the game software.

Ricochet is Activision’s latest attempt to stamp down on cheaters, bringing a multi-faceted approach to the problem. Initially, alongside the release of Call of Duty: Vanguard on 5th November, Activision will be using Ricochet’s server-side monitoring tools, better investigation processes and strengthened account security measures to quickly react to cheats and hackers.

Sometime later, when Call of Duty: Warzone’s Pacific Update launches, the free-to-play battle royale will get the first version of a kernel-level driver on PC that aims to burrow deeper into the system to prevent cheat software from getting between the game and the online servers.

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It’s an approach that’s been used before with games like Valorant, and it’s true that complaints about cheaters are relatively low for that game, but it’s still controversial and if the Ricochet developers make any errors, it could present a new avenue for hackers to gain access to your computer. Not only that, but cheat software can easily come with malware embedded, and if it now encourages would-be cheaters to unwittingly allow malware even greater access. Yes, there’s some schadenfreude to that, but it’s still wrong.

The main difference to Valorant is that Ricochet is not always active. Activision explains:

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)

We’ll just have to wait and see how this one pans out. As seen with Valorant and other games, kernel-level anti-cheat drivers can be effective in the long-term, but with hackers now having a head start, it could be a bumpy launch for COD: Vanguard and Warzone’s update.

Source: Modern Warzone

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