Here's a short article about what's wrong with Valorant and why you should avoid it!
(Please comment your reason if you reject the article so that I can fix the issues)
Valorant: Why you should avoid it!
Valorant is the new hype in the gaming world right now. It seems everyone one is talking about this new game, and it's no wonder if you already know about it. However, did you know that this new game uses a very troublesome anti-cheat mechanism, something that can cause a lot of issues for you. Well, before we get to that, let's step back and introduce Valorant to those who are not familiar with it.
What is Valorant?
Valorant is a free-to-play (F2P), multiplayer/team-based tactical FPS (first-person shooter) game developed by Riot Games, a subsidiary of the Chinese giant Tencent. The game came out of beta and was released publicly on June 2, 2020 for Windows platform, developed in the Unreal Engine. The game is a close competitor of both Valve's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Blizzard's Overwatch, combining elements from both games into one game.
However, that's not all the game is being in the buzz for. The anti-cheat system being used by this game is a popular topic. And you should be very concerned about it too, as it's the players that will get affected by it the most.
What's this anti-cheat you mentioned?
Due to the rise in cheaters in games, which cause a whole lot of trouble for both the players and the game developers, game developers are always looking for new ways to tackle them. However, the cheaters have started to use more advanced methods to counter the measures taken by the game developers. This has caused a vicious cycle, each trying to out smart the other by using methods that affect the players in the end.
However, this is something necessary to make sure that genuine players can play freely, without being harassed by the cheaters and bots. A lot of games use them, and it's usually appreciated and well received too. But Valorant did it a bit differently. In a way that is probably not a good idea.
Valorant's anti-cheat software is called Vanguard (a nice name I admit). Like all other anti-cheat systems out there it promises to prevent cheaters and bots. However, this piece of software is not ordinary software, but rather is a "Kernel Driver"
A Kernel Driver is the core part of your Operating System (Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, etc) that has complete control over everything in your system, as it is what enables the communication between the hardware and the software.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel_(operating_system))
The kernel is a computer program at the core of a computer's operating system with complete control over everything in the system. It is an integral part of any operating system. It is the "portion of the operating system code that is always resident in memory". It facilitates interactions between hardware and software components. On most systems, it is one of the first programs loaded on startup (after the bootloader). It handles the rest of startup as well as input/output requests from software, translating them into data-processing instructions for the central processing unit. It handles memory and peripherals like keyboards, monitors, printers, and speakers.
The critical code of the kernel is usually loaded into a separate area of memory, which is protected from access by application programs or other, less critical parts of the operating system. The kernel performs its tasks, such as running processes, managing hardware devices such as the hard disk, and handling interrupts, in this protected kernel space. In contrast, application programs like browsers, word processors, or audio or video players use a separate area of memory, user space. This separation prevents user data and kernel data from interfering with each other and causing instability and slowness, as well as preventing malfunctioning application programs from crashing the entire operating system.
Thus, by giving Valorant the permission to install a kernel, you are essentially handing over the control of your system over to them. Any bugs in the Vanguard kernel could lead to serious problems or even complete failure of your system. Hacking the Vanguard system will give the hacker complete access to your whole system. Also, there are a lot of expressed concerns that Riot Games or Tencent can use the Vanguard system now or in the future with regular updates to spy on all your activities.
Furthermore, the Vanguard is not very stable right now. There have already been a lot of bugs reported with the Vanguard software, people being reported as hackers incorrectly, people losing access to wireless keyboards, mouse and headphones, Vanguard causing issues with other devices' drivers, and so on.
As of now it is unknown how safe the Vanguard program is, and what it does exactly. However, even if it's in the clear right now, there is no guarantee that it shall remain like that in the future.
Note that this is not the first attempt by game developers to use a Kernel for anti-cheat software, and probably not the last either. However, when most developers have put a stop to this practice due to backlash and security concerns, Riot has decided to go ahead and do the opposite.
However, the decision to use it lies in your hands. The only trade-off is access to this game. Is playing Valorant more important than your system security?
You can find out more about this in the Techquickie video here (not mine): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaL7owZmbE