Riot introduces system to tackle cheats at the core of the player’s OS

The new system will prevent cheating in League of Legends and Project A.

Anti-Cheat Kernel

Image via Riot Games

Cheating has become an ever-growing problem in League of Legends, leading many players to complain when they land in a game with a cheater. However, Riot has taken notice of the issue and is taking it seriously. 

Riot informed fans of its plans for a new anti-cheat system in a blog post, explaining how it will affect League and its future projects, including Project A. “Your favorite anti-cheat team has been forced to play [League] from the user-level, effectively giving cheaters a much-needed, twelve-stroke handicap,” the blog post says. “But as much as we might like the idea of an ever-escalating appsec war with teenagers, we’re now entering a multi-game universe where linear time and sleep deficits will make this particular strategy untenable.” They stated that this is why future Riot projects will be protected by a kernel driver. 

A kernel driver is explained as the highest form of protection you can get for any game or piece of software. The kernel is at the core of a computer’s operating system and has complete control over the entire system. Therefore, preventing cheating at the very core is the most effective. 

Riot also said that many cheats evade their current anti-cheat system because they run at a higher privilege level than their system.  “In the last few years, cheat developers have started to leverage vulnerabilities or corrupt Windows’ signing verification to run their applications (or portions of them) at the kernel level,” they stated.

Image via Riot Games

Some cheats also use specialized hardware to read and process system memory, which makes them undetectable by Riot when used right. “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,” they said.

Many anti-cheat systems already take advantage of the kernel driver to protect AAA games, especially third-party systems such as EasyAntiCheat, Battleye, and Xigncode 3. 

“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),” Riot said. “It will be significantly harder to create undetected cheats: protecting you from aimbots, protecting us from Reddit, and protecting cheaters from themselves.”

Although Riot didn’t mention when this new system will roll out, it is likely to arrive fairly soon due to the severity of the problem.