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Activision announces Ricochet: Kernel-level anti-cheat for COD

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  • 3 min read

Activision has announced a new anti-cheat kernel-level driver called Ricochet, which will work in Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone. It will be launching first for the latter. 

The new anti-cheat announced on Wednesday will bring server-side tools that monitor analytics to identify cheating, updates to strengthen account security, enhanced investigation processes to stamp out cheaters, and more. 

As of right now, the kernel-level driver is only coming to PC. However, the driver is a part of Ricochet anti-cheat and, by extension, will benefit console players playing via cross-play with or against PC players. 

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High-level security against cheaters?

The driver will only operate when you play the games it’s launched for and will monitor your machine and processes interacting with Warzon to determine if the being is being manipulated. 

A kernel-level driver is a computer program that operates with high (or admin) privileges on your computer, allowing it to access all resources on your system during operation. These drivers are usually used to allow access to your overall hardware.

Since most games and software operate at a user level, they don’t have quite as much access to system resources. This means that reasonably advanced cheating programs or any hardware hacks can easily bypass normal anti-cheats as they don’t have the access required to catch those programs in action as they manipulate game code or bypass security features. 

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Activision has also put special emphasis on the driver’s privacy features on the following four points.:

  • The kernel-level driver only operates while playing Call of Duty: Warzon on PC.
  • The driver is not always-on.
  • The driver monitors the software and applications that interact with Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • The driver turns off when the game is turned off. 

Since the driver is required for players to play Warzone and, later, Vanguard upon launch, there isn’t much choice. Activision says enough testing has been done for the driver to ensure system stability across a large range of PCs. What this means is unknown, and we’ll have to wait for the launch to see if their promises hold up in reality. 

The company also urged players to continue using existing in-game tools to report any suspicious players. “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.”

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

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