Activision provided an update about their new RICHOCHET anti-cheat for Call of Duty, in which they claimed that they intentionally leaked a pre-release version of their new anti-cheat driver to some 3rd parties as part of their rigorous tests. The update follows yesterday's revelation that RICHOCHET was in the hands of some cheat developers, as reported by Modern Warzone.
"RICOCHET Anti-Cheat is in controlled live testing. Before putting it on your PC, we're testing the hell out of it," Activision explained. "Testing includes providing a pre-release version of the driver to select 3rd parties."
While you would expect those third parties to be white hat developers only, according to the Modern Warzone report, it would seem some of those 3rd parties were cheat developers. Some have argued that it makes sense to leak the system to cheaters because Activision's primary opponent with the new anti-cheat engine is the cheaters.
However, at least one IT Risk Consultant I talked to about this situation was highly skeptical of the claim that the company intentionally leaked its code to cheaters. And to be fair, in their new statement Activision didn't specify cheaters, just 'select 3rd party.' But from context, most people took their comment to mean they meant to give it to cheaters.
The IT Risk Consultant I spoke with explained, "i'm not 100% sure what got leaked, like if it was just the user version of the software or source code. But anti-cheat works because cheaters don't know how it detects cheats. So why would you give cheat devs more opportunity to learn how your anti-cheat works?"
They continued, "They probably can't just reverse engineer it, but it gives them more time to test their cheats on it."
When showed the information that was leaked to a forum, they explained that the screenshots were of a hex table, which would contain specific signatures for what cheaters are looking for.
"[it is] not great for cheat devs to have that," they explained.
RICOCHET is scheduled to go live on November 5th with the Pacific update for Warzone. The highly anticipated anti-cheat is facing great expectations, as the COD community waits to see if this can finally address the massive cheating problem that has been plaguing Call of Duty over the past couple of years.
This article has been updated with further clarifications regarding the threat of the cheat leak
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.