The Vanguard Incident

Ryscu
14 May 202408:10

TLDRThe video discusses the introduction of Riot's kernel-level anti-cheat system, Vanguard, into League of Legends. It addresses concerns about Vanguard's impact on PC performance and user privacy. The video shows that Vanguard does not significantly affect frame rates and does not send data until the League of Legends client is open. It also explains that Vanguard can be disabled, but requires a PC restart to regain full access to the game. The video highlights that Vanguard has caused issues for some players, such as those on Linux and Windows 11, and discusses the potential for Vanguard to disrupt community-created content like custom skins. However, as of the video's recording, custom skins are still functioning without causing bans. The video concludes by acknowledging the necessity of kernel-level anti-cheat systems due to the sophistication of game hacks, but also expresses reservations about the invasive nature of such systems.

Takeaways

  • 📈 Vanguard's introduction to League of Legends has raised concerns about its access to users' PCs and potential impact on game performance.
  • 💻 A comparison of FPS before and after Vanguard's release suggests it does not noticeably affect frame rates in the tested environment.
  • 🚫 Vanguard has prerequisites that must be met before users can play the game, but these can be bypassed, although server-side checks will still block gameplay.
  • 🔒 Vanguard's kernel-level access is a point of contention, but it does not transmit data until the League of Legends client is open.
  • 🛠️ Using Wireshark, a network analyzer, revealed that Vanguard does not have network access until the game client is launched.
  • 🔄 Users can disable Vanguard by rebooting in safe mode or using a command prompt, but a full restart is needed to play the game afterward.
  • 🎨 Custom skins, initially a concern with Vanguard, appear to be safe to use as no bans have been reported post-Vanguard's release.
  • 🐧 Linux users are significantly affected by Vanguard, with no current workaround other than dual-booting or using a virtual machine.
  • 💡 Windows 11 users with TPM 2.0 may face additional hassle due to compatibility issues with Vanguard, requiring BIOS adjustments.
  • ⚠️ There have been reports of severe errors with Vanguard, which could pose risks for less tech-savvy users.
  • 🛡️ While Vanguard as an anti-cheat is not inherently bad, the controversy stems from its invasive nature compared to other anti-cheat systems.
  • 🔄 The anti-cheat arms race has escalated as cheats become more sophisticated, necessitating more invasive countermeasures.

Q & A

  • What is the Vanguard system introduced in League of Legends?

    -Vanguard is an anti-cheat system developed by Riot Games for League of Legends that operates at the kernel level of a user's PC to prevent cheating in the game.

  • How does Vanguard impact the performance of the game?

    -In the provided transcript, the author conducted tests and found that Vanguard does not seem to impact the frames per second (FPS) to any noticeable extent during gameplay.

  • What are the prerequisites for Vanguard to run properly?

    -When Vanguard is enabled, users are greeted with a screen that outlines prerequisites for it to run. If these are not met, users won't be able to play the game.

  • Is it possible to bypass the Vanguard prerequisites screen?

    -Yes, the prerequisites screen can be bypassed using methods that manipulate the League client, which is essentially a web browser. However, server-side checks will still prevent users from playing if they do not meet the requirements.

  • What kind of data does Vanguard have access to and send off?

    -Vanguard has kernel-level access, but it does not appear to send any data until the League of Legends client is open. It is designed to monitor for tampering with the game process and prevent cheating.

  • How can users disable Vanguard if they wish to?

    -Users can disable Vanguard by opening the command prompt and typing a specific command to disable the kernel driver. Alternatively, rebooting the PC in safe mode will disable any third-party drivers.

  • What is the impact of Vanguard on custom skins in League of Legends?

    -Initially, there were concerns that Vanguard would categorize custom skins as third-party programs and flag them as unsafe. However, as of the transcript, custom skins seem to be working fine without causing any bans.

  • What issues have arisen for Linux users due to Vanguard?

    -Linux users have been significantly affected, as Vanguard is not compatible with their operating system. The only workaround suggested is dual-booting to Mac or running a virtual machine.

  • How does Windows 11's TPM 2.0 feature interact with Vanguard?

    -TPM 2.0 is a security feature of Windows 11 that allows it to run programs with a higher level of trust. However, it can cause issues with Vanguard, requiring users to change settings in their BIOS.

  • What are the broader implications of kernel-level anti-cheat systems like Vanguard?

    -Kernel-level anti-cheat systems are necessary to combat increasingly sophisticated hacks that inject themselves into a game's memory. However, they raise concerns about privacy and the level of access they have to a user's system.

  • What is the general stance of the author towards Vanguard and kernel-level anti-cheat systems?

    -The author is not a big fan of Vanguard or kernel-level anti-cheat systems in general, citing privacy concerns and the potential for overreach, despite acknowledging their necessity in the context of the 'anti-cheat arms race'.

Outlines

00:00

🕹️ Introduction to Vanguard and Its Impact on Performance

The video begins with a discussion about Riot's Vanguard anti-cheat system, which has been introduced to League of Legends. The host expresses concerns over the controversy surrounding Vanguard, particularly its extensive access to users' PCs. A performance comparison is made before and after Vanguard's implementation, showing no noticeable impact on FPS. The host also addresses the prerequisites for Vanguard and the ease with which these can be bypassed, although server-side checks would still prevent gameplay. Using Wireshark, a network analyzer, it's revealed that Vanguard doesn't send data until the League client is open. The host clarifies that while they're not a fan of kernel-level anti-cheat systems, Vanguard's functionality isn't as invasive as feared, and it only activates when the game is launched. Custom skins, initially a concern, seem to be functioning without issue post-Vanguard's release.

05:00

🚫 Impact of Vanguard on Different User Groups

The second paragraph delves into the impact of Vanguard on various player groups. It mentions that Linux users are unable to play League of Legends due to Vanguard's incompatibility, suggesting workarounds like dual-booting or using a virtual machine. Windows 11 users face indirect issues due to TPM 2.0, which requires adjusting BIOS settings, potentially causing trouble for less tech-savvy players. The host also discusses the general invasiveness of kernel-level anti-cheat systems, explaining their necessity for detecting hacks that inject into game memory. Despite the controversy, the host suggests that Vanguard isn't as bad when viewed purely as an anti-cheat tool. The video ends with a teaser about a future discussion on a security breach and the potential risks of compromised anti-cheat drivers.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Vanguard

Vanguard refers to Riot's anti-cheat system introduced into League of Legends. It is a topic of controversy due to its kernel-level access to users' PCs. In the video, it is discussed in terms of its impact on game performance, security concerns, and how it operates within the game's environment.

💡FPS (Frames Per Second)

FPS is a measure of how many times an image, or frame, is displayed per second in a video game, which affects the smoothness of the gameplay. The script compares the FPS before and after Vanguard's implementation to assess its impact on game performance.

💡Kernel-level access

Kernel-level access refers to the deep access that a software program has to a computer's operating system, which allows it to control system-level functions. Vanguard's kernel-level access is a point of concern for users due to potential security and privacy implications.

💡Custom skins

Custom skins are user-created modifications to the appearance of characters in League of Legends. The video discusses how Vanguard's anti-cheat measures could potentially flag these as third-party programs, affecting their use within the game.

💡TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module 2.0)

TPM 2.0 is a security feature introduced with Windows 11 that allows for higher levels of trust in software programs. The script mentions issues that Windows 11 users may face with Vanguard due to TPM 2.0, requiring changes in BIOS settings.

💡Anti-cheat arms race

The term 'anti-cheat arms race' describes the ongoing battle between developers of anti-cheat software and creators of cheats or hacks. As cheats become more sophisticated, anti-cheat systems must become more invasive to detect them, as discussed in the context of Vanguard.

💡DLL (Dynamic Link Library)

DLL files are a type of file used by Windows to store multiple functions or procedures that can be used by different programs. In the context of the video, they are mentioned as a common target for hackers to inject cheats into a game's memory.

💡Safe mode

Safe mode is a diagnostic mode of a computer's operating system that starts the system with a minimal set of drivers and services. It is mentioned as a method to disable third-party drivers like Vanguard when not needed.

💡Command prompt

The command prompt is a text-based interface in Windows that allows users to interact with the operating system through commands. It is used in the script to illustrate how users can disable Vanguard's kernel driver.

💡Wireshark

Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that can capture and display the data traveling back and forth on a network. In the video, it is used to demonstrate that Vanguard does not send data until the League of Legends client is opened.

💡Kernel driver

A kernel driver is a type of software that allows a device to communicate with the operating system. The script discusses how Vanguard uses a kernel driver to enable its anti-cheat features and how users can disable it.

💡BIOS

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System and is firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the booting process. The video script mentions BIOS in the context of Windows 11 users needing to change settings to resolve issues with Vanguard.

Highlights

Vanguard, Riot's kernel-level anti-cheat system, has been introduced to League of Legends.

Vanguard has sparked controversy due to its extensive access to users' PCs.

There are concerns about the potential impact of Vanguard on game performance.

A comparison shows no noticeable impact on FPS with Vanguard enabled.

Vanguard requires certain prerequisites to run properly; failing to meet them prevents gameplay.

The league client's web browser nature allows for bypassing Vanguard's initial error message.

Vanguard's data transmission begins only when the League client is open.

Wireshark analysis reveals Vanguard has no network access until the League client is launched.

Vanguard can be disabled via command prompt for those who wish to turn it off.

Custom skins, initially a concern, seem to be functioning without issue post-Vanguard's release.

Linux users are significantly affected, with no current workaround for Vanguard's requirements.

Windows 11 users with TPM 2.0 may face additional hassle due to Vanguard's security interactions.

Vanguard's kernel-level access is a point of contention, but it is not unique among anti-cheat systems.

The arms race between hacks and anti-cheat systems has led to increasingly invasive measures.

Despite concerns, Vanguard's functionality does not appear overly invasive when examined.

Riot's recent security breach highlights the need for robust anti-cheat measures like Vanguard.

There's an ongoing debate about the necessity and impact of kernel-level anti-cheat systems.