This is about as invasive an anti-cheat as you can get.
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On October 12, the Call of Duty devs issued a vague, ominous, and really cringey warning to cheaters. As it stands, the new anti-cheat for Call of Duty: Warzone wasn't slated to be released until Call of Duty: Vanguard released later this year. So, what then were they teasing to be revealed today?

Well, it was the reveal announcement for their new anti-cheat. They call it Ricochet, which is not to be confused with the stellar video game from Valve of the same name.

Ricochet will be a new anti-cheat that makes use of a PC kernel-level driver to detect and deal with cheaters. Activision says that Ricochet will first come to Call of Duty: Warzone first later this year. It will then be integrated into Call of Duty: Vanguard "at a later date."

Now, a kernel-level driver is a pretty big deal if you are super paranoid about privacy and security. After all, if there are any security holes in this driver, they can be exploited to allow near unrestricted access to your PC. However, there are a few things to take into consideration here. The announcement article says that this kernel-level anti-cheat will only turn on when you are playing Call of Duty: Warzone and will shut down when you close the game.

They do go on to say that Ricochet will only monitor and report activity related to Call of Duty. So, that's somewhat reassuring.

Kernel-level drivers for anti-cheat aren't exactly all that uncommon these days. Valorant's Vanguard (not to be confused with the upcoming Call of Duty game) anti-cheat also runs at the kernel-level. The problem with Valorant's anti-cheat at launch was that it ran all the time, even when you weren't playing the game. Riot Games eventually allowed users to turn it off when Valorant wasn't being played. Easy Anti-Cheat, BattleEye, and PunkBusters also install kernel-level drivers for their anti-cheat solutions.

For a list of games that include their own kernel-level anti-cheat solutions, this seems to be a pretty comprehensive list from The list is probably far greater than you expect.

Activision released a new video announcement for Ricochet, which we've included below. I have also included their basic "how this works" below that.

How the kernel-level driver works

The kernel-level driver for PC as part of the RICOCHET Anti-Cheat system monitors software or applications that attempt to interact with Call of Duty: Warzone.

The driver will help the RICOCHET Anti-Cheat team to learn about suspicious behavior, using that data to strengthen overall anti-cheating security over time.

Ensuring player privacy is extremely important, and the prospect of a kernel-level driver may give some players pause. Given those concerns, here is how your privacy will remain unaffected with RICOCHET Anti-Cheat:
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's kernel-level driver operates ONLY while playing Call of Duty: Warzone on PC.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's driver is not always-on.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's driver monitors the software and applications that interact with Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • When you shut down Call of Duty: Warzone, the driver turns off.
Testing for the new driver has been done to ensure system stability across a large range of PCs. The RICOCHET Anti-Cheat team is committed to continued testing and iteration after launch.

Player-reporting will remain a critical element in all anti-cheat measures, so it’s important that players continue to report suspicious behavior they encounter online.

Another layer in the battle against cheaters is the evolving use of machine learning (ML). ML algorithms examine gameplay data from the server, helping to identify suspicious behavior trends, and add another layer of security as part of the overall RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative.