Great article by Lorenzo as always!
I’m not sure why companies think kernel level anti cheat is some silver bullet. They do realize cheat developers can also make kernel level cheats right? Riot proclaimed their kernel level anti cheat would solve all cheating problems and yet they still have cheaters. Like they said in the interview, it will weed out the people who can’t write more sophisticated cheats but this isn’t a solution that giving a company full access to your computer can solve.
These kernel level anti cheat systems are also worryingly a point of failure. I will be honest I would rather trust a cheat developer with kernel level access to my machine then I would Activision Blizzard or Riot. The cheat developer isn’t going to screw me over because they want the long term subscription. On the other hand I guarantee you anyone trying to get into Riot or Activisions systems is going to be aiming for their kernel level anti cheat in some way. That’s such a huge gold mine if it gets poisoned. You’re talking millions of players with infected machines potentially at a level of the OS that would require a full rebuild most likely just because anyone who has that level of access could establish whatever other backdoors they want.
Then you have the political side of this. Government agencies can pressure Activision Blizzard or Riot into giving them access. If a government identifies someone via their gamer tag I am willing to bet they could pressure either company into giving them access to the users machine. These anti cheats are already scanning hard drives for specific hashes, what if the FBI gives them a list of hashes and says “Alert us if you see any of these”?