Riot Games, the developer of the up-and-coming first-person shooter (FPS) game Valorant, gave assurance that its anti-cheat systems will not compromise players’ privacy and security.
Riot Games developed the native anti-cheat system, known as “Vanguard” which runs as soon as a player turns on his or her PC.
In a lengthy post on its official website, Riot Games’ security team pointed out that the game’s anti-cheat driver (vgk.sys) won’t cause any harm to the user’s operating system.
The developers of the anti-cheat system note that the purpose of the anti-cheat system is to maintain the highest level of competitive integrity, as well as to enable Riot Games to continuously adapt its arsenal in the never-ending war against cheaters.
The company’s security team also reassured users that the anti-cheat software does not collect or process any personal information “beyond what the current League of Legends anti-cheat solution does,” and that they do not aim to know more about the users or their machines than what is needed to maintain the game’s integrity and overall security.
How does the anti-cheat software work?
As far as providing any detailed information on how its anti-cheating software works, Riot Games is keeping it pretty close to the vest.
“We can’t get too deep into the technical specifics without potentially compromising Vanguard, but we’ll go as far as we safely can… plus we can assure you that it has been reviewed by both internal and external security experts.”
From what the company has been able to reveal, Vanguard consists of three parts – client, driver, and platform.
The client uses the driver (vgk.sys) to perform several tasks, including validating memory and system state and making sure that the client software has not been altered in any way.
While a player could, in theory, uninstall the game’s anti-cheat driver, without it, the client would be unable to recognize the computer as a “trusted” machine and the player would be unable to launch Valorant.
Furthermore, the driver runs at startup rather than client initialization in order to prevent the loading of cheats ahead of time.
The game’s anti-cheat system has been signed by Riot’s EV cert, which has in turn been signed by Microsoft as per their code-signing process. In other words, Windows doesn’t consider the anti-cheat to be a threat to the user’s operating system.
The developer also tweeted about the anti-cheat software:
Over the last week, we've noticed a lot of conversation about Vanguard and its kernel mode driver. Our privacy and security team is here to share more about the new anti-cheat system and the steps we're taking to protect your data. Learn more here: https://t.co/z8mrOS9B88
— Riot Games (@riotgames) April 17, 2020
Rewards and realities on the ground
To help make sure that the Vanguard anti-cheat system is as bulletproof as possible, the developers of Valorant have offered huge monetary rewards for players and programmers who detect bugs, errors, and issues in the new system.
While the rewards program by Riot has been around for many years now, thanks to League of Legends (LOL), Riot is determined to practice the same rigor for its upcoming FPS title and is offering up to “US$100,000 (AUS$161,000) for high-quality reports that demonstrate practical exploits leveraging the Vanguard kernel driver.”
At the moment, Valorant’s closed beta is currently available in the U.S., Europe, Canada, Russia, Turkey, and the greater CIS region. The company is looking forward to including more regions in the mass testing of the game after more clarity on the situation of the global COVID-19 is reached.
The quick and detailed manner of Riot’s communication shows that it is at least committed to bringing out a quality, polished game for the players out there.
Featured image courtesy of Riot Games.