Is Kernel-level Anti Cheat Safe?

Even though it is claimed to drive away the cheating effort in the game, the kernel-level anti-cheat system is still getting controversial nowadays. The kernel is the main part of an operating system that can load up immediately after the boot sequence. To make it simple, this has total control of everything inside your computer.

One of the PC games that uses the Kernel-Level driver is Call of Duty. In Warzone, the kernel-level driver aims to check the software that attempts to manipulate Call of Duty: Warzone. Since there has been controversy, many players wonder whether the kernel-level anti-cheat is safe to use or not. To know the real facts, let’s see our post below!

Is Kernel-level Anti Cheat Safe

Why Do You Worry about Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat?

Although the kernel-level software is given top privileges to alter the communication between a computer and its driver, but the kernel-level software is not fully safe, meaning it has its own vulnerability.

On the regular gaming day, the kernel-level anti-cheat software will perform at the boot sequence. This software is now given the high privileges that may make or break the system when a hacker gets access.

In the case of cheating, the regular cheating is only limited to applications with low privileges. However, the most potential risk that may happen on the high privilege software is to lose one’s whole computer. In other words, the kernel-level anti-cheat software probably will break your computer.

Need to know, all softwares in the computer that relies on a certain driver will not perform as long as the anti-cheat system is running. Many people think that the anti-cheat software will be easily closed through the Task Manager, but it’s not always the case.

The PC kernel-level anti-cheat softwares will only run during a computer’s startup. It means that the software may not work immediately after booting up a PC. The kernel will load immediately after bootloader when you turn on your computer.

Talking about kernels, the code of the kernel actually has its area in memory and is also protected from the application programs. In this case, the kernel and the apps that you have installed will work in parallel without interference. It will also solve any problems like a browser that accesses the kernel memory as well as to change how your operating system works altogether.

Potential Risks of the Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat

That sounds good when you know the kernel-level anti cheat software will disable insecure drivers where the cheaters will be able to exploit it. However, the most potential risk caused by the kernel-level anti-cheat software is that the anti-cheat itself will turn out to be vulnerable.

In a certain situation, at startup, you may want to run a tool that is located in the kernel memory. In this case, the Ring 0 on your computer can be exploited by both worse people or even cheaters who may just damage your entire operating system.

It is one thing if  a video game or a browser is vulnerable to cheaters. Well, it belongs  to Ring 3 with the low privileges and all damage is restricted to that ring. So, the vulnerability of the kernel-level will be pricey.

Another issue that may appear when your computer uses the kernel-level anti-cheat program is that you cannot run certain programs on your computer. That’s because the kernel-level anti-cheat program will block all drivers that it considers vulnerable. So, the programs that depend on the drivers will fail to run if the anti-cheat is disabled or it has been active since the system boot.

Many people who have used the kernel-level anti-cheat program complain that the program really decreases their PC’s performance and damages their gaming experience. Certainly, it is such a hard way to find any correlation between the anti-cheat program and performance issues.

When the kernel-level anti-cheat program is turned on, some programs such as overclock speed, fan speed and also ambient temperature may not work, as the drivers they need may be turned on by the anti-cheat software.

Benefits of Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat in Call of Duty

The kernel-level anti-cheat program is actually providing the overall security to identify any cheating effort when you are playing Call of Duty: Warzone. Moreover, the kernel-level anti-cheat program will be granted a high level of access to manage and monitor software and ppas on a PC.

The background for adding an anti-cheat program to Call of Duty comes from the issues occurring over the past year where the cheating is getting worse, especially in Call of Duty: Warzone. To handle this issue, Activision finally cracks down on cheating by releasing anti-cheat software called Ricochet.

The Ricochet anti-cheat software uses the kernel-level driver to run on the computer. This anti-cheat program also uses the machine learning algorithms to examine the players’ behaviour. In fact, this driver has been developed for the Call of Duty Franchise internally.

The kernel-level driver aims to assist the Activision team to identify the cheaters. The driver will also strengthen the overall server security and launch alongside the Pacific update for Warzone later this year.

With the release of the kernel-level driver, many game developers hope that this driver will be able to combat sophisticated and evolving issues. The kernel-level driver will only perform when you launch Call of Duty: Warzone. So, the Ricochet will not always be on, as the driver will also shut down if you close the game.

The kernel-level driver has capability to monitor any process that may interact with Warzone. It can also be used to check if there are certain players who are trying to input the code or also manipulate the game, and also report the result back.

The Activision of Call of Duty actually has tested the kernel-level driver in all PC’s operating systems. When the Pacific map update launches later this year, it will be required to play Call of Duty: Warzone. So, in the following days, the kernel-level driver will also eventually arrive in Call of Duty: Vanguard. To get it, we only need to wait for it to be released.