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Activision introduce Call Of Duty’s upcoming Ricochet Anti-Cheat system

As it goes in online competitive games, Activision are in a constant battle against cheaters in Call Of Duty games. They’ve banned more than half a million cheaters in Call Of Duty: Warzone and yet there are always more. They’ve announced a new tool to help crack down: their Ricochet Anti-Cheat system. When it launches in Warzone and Call Of Duty: Vanguard it will include server-side tools along with a kernel-level driver to monitor applications interacting with the game.

Activision warned cheaters yesterday about incoming anti-cheat news for Call Of Duty, which they’ve today announced as Ricochet. They’re calling the systerm a “multi-faceted approach to combat cheating, featuring new server-side tools which monitor analytics to identify cheating, enhanced investigation processes to stamp out cheaters, updates to strengthen account security, and more.”

Additional server-side protections against cheaters are coming first this year, starting with Vanguard and then Warzone. However, Activision spend the majority of their post explaining and defending the kernel-level driver that will be introduced second.

“A kernel-level driver is computer code that operates with high privileges on your computer, able to access all resources on your system while it is running,” Activision explain in their Ricochet FAQ. “Kernel-level drivers are generally used to allow access to your overall computer hardware, such as drivers for your graphics card. Typical software, such as games, operates on the user-level and has limited access to the kernel-level and other user-mode processes.”

No doubt they expect the words “kernel-level” to be contentious, as anti-cheat software with that level of permissions on a player’s system was already hotly debated in Riot’s shooter Valorant. Valorant’s anti-cheat system drew fire in particular for being active at the time your machine boots up, unlike other kernel-level anti-cheat systems such as BattlEye or Easy Anti-Cheat which only run while you’re playing a game.

Similarly, Ricochet’s kernel-level driver will only run while you are actively playing Warzone, rather than being on at all times on your machine, Activision reassure players. It will also only monitor applications that directly interact with Warzone, they say. The kernel-level side of Ricochet will launch for Warzone first last this year and come to Vanguard after. Once it’s live, it will be required to play Warzone, Activision say.

At the end of today’s announcement, Activision also mention other continued efforts like player reporting, server-side machine learning, and two-factor authentication for accounts.

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