Call of Duty adds controversial “spy” tool to fight cheating

Activision intends to rely on a very intrusive software to fight against cheating in Call of Duty.

Cheating is a recurring topic among online game publishers. And, for several years, we have witnessed a real arms race – the idea being to integrate increasingly effective measures to prevent misguided people from doing harm. In a press release published on October 13, Activision has unveiled its new weapon to fight Call of Duty cheaters. Her name ? Ricochet Anti-Cheat.

The editor describes his tool as ” a robust anti-cheat system carried by a dedicated team of professionals who focus on the fight against unfair gambling “. It revolves in particular around a software subject to controversy: a computer program linked to the operation (driver) which acts at the level of the kernel (which manages the resources of the PC) to monitor the activity of the player. Obviously, this raises questions in terms of security and the processing of personal data.

Call of Duty : Warzone // Source : Activision

Is Activision going too far in its fight against cheating?

Thanks to this driver, Ricochet Anti-Cheat has privileged access to the system, which allows very extensive monitoring. Imagine that it is a spy having carte blanche to observe the slightest actions of the user. ” The driver element of the Ricochet Anti-Cheat system will check software and applications that attempt to interact and manipulate Call of Duty: Warzone “, Explains Activision. Said driver, very intrusive, will be essential to access the Battle Royale from the future big update called Pacific. Call of Duty : Vanguard will follow at a later date.

If the driver only concerns PC players, those who play on console will benefit indirectly thanks to cross-play (a feature that brings everyone together on the same servers, regardless of the platform).

Such a device is already used in other multiplayer oriented video games, such as Valuing, which is based on the ultra sophisticated Vanguard device. He pushed Riot Games to reassure the community, worried about seeing such an intrusive tool, which, as a bonus, operates as soon as the PC is turned on. ” This is good for stopping cheaters because one way to get around anti-cheat systems is to run cheat software before them. », Explained the company on Reddit in avril 2020. In short, it must be seen as a necessary evil, knowing that Riot Games reviewed his copy over time.

This is why Activision is also keen to reassure players, who are legitimately worried, about the way the driver works:

  • « Ricochet Anti-Cheat’s kernel-level driver only works when playing Call of Duty: Warzone on PC » ;
  • « The Ricochet Anti-Cheat driver is not always on » ;
  • « Ricochet Anti-Cheat driver monitors software and applications that interact with Call of Duty: Warzone » ;
  • « When you stop Call of Duty: Warzone, the driver turns off ».

If Activision gives in to such a device, it is quite simply because cheating is a real scourge in Call of Duty : Warzone. As recalled Polygon in an article published on October 13, more than 600,000 players have already been banned. Obviously, playing cheaters together is not enough.

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