If you’ve been on the Valorant grind this weekend, then you’ll have probably heard about Riot Games’ anti-cheat and how it runs on startup. Well, after accusations started being bounded about online, the developer has now explained why Vanguard operates like this and how it impacts your PC.
Paul ‘Riot Arkhem’ Chamberlain, Valorant’s anti-cheat lead, went into great depth about Vanguard on Reddit, via PCGamesN, confirming that the system does boot when your PC starts up for the first time, but it only does that to prevent players from loading cheats before the anti-cheat system has even had a chance to launch. Players are free to remove the system start driver at any time, apparently, but it’s designed to use “as few system resources as possible” and it in no way communicates with Riot’s servers.
“Vanguard contains a driver component called vgk.sys (similar to other anti-cheat systems), it’s the reason why a reboot is required after installing,” he says on the Reddit thread. “Vanguard doesn’t consider the computer trusted unless the Vanguard driver is loaded at system startup.
“We’ve tried to be very careful with the security of the driver. We’ve had multiple external security research teams review it for flaws. We’re also following a least-privilege approach to the driver where the driver component does as little as possible preferring to let the non-driver component do the majority of work.”
The developer also confirmed that the driver does not collect any information about the computer its running on, nor does it scan anything unless the game is running.
Clearly, Vanguard is working because Riot has already banned its first cheater, with more bans apparently on the way.
While the system has raised some eyebrows this weekend, it remains an important tool against cheaters in competitive games. Riot has said that if it thinks that its tool causes “more harm than good” it will remove it, but for now Vanguard is here to stay.