Fans worried Riot’s new LoL anti-cheat will let company spy on them

By Marta Juras

|

Feb 20, 2020

Reading time: 2 min

With Riot Games set to rapidly expand its gaming catalog, the company is creating its own anti-cheat program.

The League of Legends publisher is looking to push a new kernel driver to ensure fairness across its titles, the developer announced earlier this month. The implementation of this driver to the games will drastically help in detecting cheats, but some players are worried about the level of access Riot will have to their personal computers with its integration.

Players skeptical about Riot’s surveillance with new kernel

Though League of Legends’ anti-cheat system currently exists on the level of the operating system and relies on its software, cheaters have found multiple ways to work around it undetected.

“The problem here arises from the fact that code executing in kernel-mode can hook the very system calls we would rely on to retrieve our data, modifying the results to appear legitimate in a way we might have difficulty detecting,” Riot shared. “So, an abundance of cheats currently run at a higher privilege level than our anti-cheat does.”

This is why the new anti-cheat driver will work on the level of the operating system itself. The kernel drive technically has control over the entire system and while this is a great way to ensure that cheating is detected, it also gives Riot huge power over users’ PCs. This is particularly worrisome given how the company has had a number of security issues in the past.

Riot insists that the new kernel driver won’t result in any more surveillance than there currently is.

“This isn’t giving us any surveillance capability we didn’t already have,” the developer promised. “The purpose of this upgrade is to monitor system state for integrity (so we can trust our data) and to make it harder for cheaters to tamper with our games (so you can’t blame aimbots for personal failure).”

The kernel driver might be soon sitting at the core of computer processes, but it’s very unlikely Riot will be using it to see more than it should. At the end of the day, it’s hard to find a reason why the developer would be interested in seeing players’ personal files. Besides, integrating anti-cheat drivers so deeply at the core of a system isn’t a new idea for AAA developers.

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