Riot is so hellbent on defending its Valorant anti-cheat implementation that it's offering $100,000 to players who find bugs within.
Riot Games has drawn criticism for Valorant’s anti-cheat system, Vanguard. However, the developer claims this feature is integral to player safety. Riot is so hellbent on keeping it that the dev is paying up to $100,000 for users to find bugs within.
Following in the steps of Rockstar and Valve, Riot posted a bounty on HackerOne. The group is offering a minimum of $250 for smaller bugs, with intervals at $25,000, $35,000, $50,000, and $75,000, peaking at $100,000.
The highest-paid bounties are for bugs related to a “network attack with no user interaction,” defined as:
No user interaction is required and an attacker being able to deliver exploit to the victim’s machine through a network is enough to compromise the target.
Players have issue with Vanguard because it raises system privileges to run Valorant. That and it’s constantly running, as it’s installed via a kernel driver. If the software were to get compromised, a hacker could potentially gain access to user files and more.
Conversely, Riot claims this shouldn’t be an issue after internal testing and is offering this bounty program to put their money where their mouth is.
Speaking to Kotaku, Riot revealed they’ve built a new backend that should “reduce the frequency and intensity of scans on the majority of players’ computers,” as well.
On one hand, it’s understandable why players don’t want this potential exploit installed on their systems. On the other, Riot claims their method is the best way to get ahead of cheaters.
A reddit post on the matter claims that while they don’t “enjoy” the anti-cheat being on all the time, they get why Riot is doing it. An employee from Riot responded in a comment, stating:
The Vanguard driver does not collect or send any information about your computer back to us. Any cheat detection scans will be run by the non-driver component only when the game is running.
No one can argue the developer is being entirely transparent about their software. Offering up this bug program is a bold move. It shows Riot has the player experience in mind. That said, the system isn’t perfect. Cheaters were found just four days into Valorant’s closed beta.
However, it leaves one to wonder if there aren’t other options available. Does Riot really need to go this far to prevent cheating? We’ll see as Valorant progresses, I guess.