EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat

Electronic Arts offers "A Deep Dive on EA AntiCheat for PC." This announces that EA is launching its own kernel-level anti-cheat/anti-tamper solution as part of the launch of FIFA 23 this (northern) autumn. This approach can be effective at enhancing security, but the fight fire with fire approach leaves many gamers uncomfortable, since such drivers are so intrusive. EA explains that creating its own in-house approach has a number of advantage over third-party solutions. Here's the plan:
EAAC is a kernel-mode anti-cheat and anti-tamper solution developed in-house at Electronic Arts. PC cheat developers have increasingly moved into the kernel, so we need to have kernel-mode protections to ensure fair play and tackle PC cheat developers on an even playing field.

As tech-inclined video gamers ourselves, it is important to us to make sure that any kernel anti-cheat included in our games acts with a strong focus on the privacy and security of our gamers that use a PC.

Third party anti-cheat solutions are often opaque to our teams, and prevent us from implementing additional privacy controls or customizations that provide greater accuracy and granularity for EA-specific game modes. With EAAC we have full stack ownership of the security & privacy posture, so we can fix security issues as soon as they may arise.
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30.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 15:00
30.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 15:00
Sep 14, 2022, 15:00
 
jdreyer wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 11:18:
thestryker wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 01:17:
Riot's anticheat they use for Valorant paved the way for this type of system. I have my doubts regarding EA's competence with regards to getting it right, but if they do it's clearly superior to third party anticheat systems.

I'd prefer that they just use a VM, Sandbox or UWP for the MP portion of their games as this would be infinitely less invasive for users. This would undoubtedly cost more money to develop and maintain so they're going the cheap/easy route.
Wouldn't that affect performance?
UWP has zero impact on performance, but is easily the most problematic/controversial because it locks you into Windows 10/11 and requires a lot of understanding how it works. I may be wrong, but I don't believe any of the MS store exclusive PC games were so much as pirated successfully until they left the store (UWP was mandatory originally for the MS store).

Any form of sandboxing would certainly add in overhead, but I think that's certainly a much better tradeoff than kernal level access. It's one of those things: would you prefer a game to have higher system requirements or an anti cheat which requires you to trust a gaming company to do due diligence with coding and has to be enabled on boot so any time you didn't want it running you'd have to reboot and do the same for when you wanted it running.

While I'm not opposed to what they're doing in theory I'm also thrilled they're rolling it out in a game I'd never play. I'm all too happy for someone else to deal with their teething issues first because it's pretty much guaranteed to come to every other competitive multi-player game they sell.
29.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 13:24
29.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 13:24
Sep 14, 2022, 13:24
 
Geez EA, if you wanted me to never give you any more of my money, all you had to do was say so.
Buy/HODL AMC! (Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor / this is not financial advice)
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28.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 13:15
28.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 13:15
Sep 14, 2022, 13:15
 
Laughing Man wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 10:41:
Hate to inform you, but this is literally the only thing comes remotely close to defeating cheaters and if you don't want to accept it then stop playing video games.
The devs make the sandbox. Instead of policing what toys a child can bring into the box, monitor the movement of the sand to find evidence of an illegal toy.

Instead of chasing the evolving aimbot.exe, developers should instead focus on in-game player actions/accomplishments. The worst cheaters are statistical anomalies, because they blatantly break the in-game physics or exploit gameplay elements, accomplishing unreal feats. These cheaters rack up the points to make themselves a statistical anomaly (which can be analyzed post-match), and their in-game performance is dissimilar to a normal player (which can be analyzed during the match). These cheaters make regular Joe Fragger quit the game, and that's lost revenue.

There will be false positives, so the punishment system must reflect that. And subtle cheaters may be indistinguishable from skilled players, so that raises the question: if they are not disrupting the game for others... why deploy a kernel anti-cheat to weed them out?
27.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 12:17
27.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 12:17
Sep 14, 2022, 12:17
 
RogueSix wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 11:50:
I thought no one plays crappy EA games anyway so why is there such a big fuss about their anti-cheat?
Wrong is wrong. "We want to protect the innocents!"
“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” -- Carl Sagan
26.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 12:06
26.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 12:06
Sep 14, 2022, 12:06
 
RogueSix wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 11:50:
I thought no one plays crappy EA games anyway so why is there such a big fuss about their anti-cheat?
Despite what Real Gamers™ say about EA, Ubisoft, ActiBlizz etc. as well as their games, those companies still sell a boatload of their flagship titles to those who aren't as invested in gaming.

Advertising works.
25.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:50
25.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:50
Sep 14, 2022, 11:50
 
I thought no one plays crappy EA games anyway so why is there such a big fuss about their anti-cheat?
24.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:41
24.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:41
Sep 14, 2022, 11:41
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 11:20:
Laughing Man wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 10:41:
Good choice of pseudonym, you certainly had me laughing at your response.
This is what I saw “To view this user's posts click on the username.”
But I peeked and you were right, re-verifying my choice to ignore.
- At this point, Windows is the OS equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome. -
Burrito of Peace
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23.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:25
Verno
 
23.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:25
Sep 14, 2022, 11:25
 Verno
 
Wouldn't that affect performance?

Sandboxing and process isolation definitely has a performance cost with respect to videogames specifically and there are other interoperability factors that are complicated by using it. This is part of how Denuvo operates. It's a question of tradeoffs though, I would rather sacrifice minimal performance than give kernel level access to a gaming company with dubious IT practices just so that I can play some soccer on the PC. Meh, I'll just move onto the next game.
Playing: Dead Space Remake, Chained Echoes, Hi-Fi Rush
Watching: Superstore, The Last of Us, Love Death & Robots
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22.
 
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:23
El Pit
 
22.
Re: EA's Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:23
Sep 14, 2022, 11:23
 El Pit
 
And even this will have DLCs and "surprise mechanics"!
"There is no right life in the wrong one." (Theodor W. Adorno, philosopher)
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi)
21.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:20
21.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:20
Sep 14, 2022, 11:20
 
Laughing Man wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 10:41:
Good choice of pseudonym, you certainly had me laughing at your response.
“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” -- Carl Sagan
20.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:18
20.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:18
Sep 14, 2022, 11:18
 
thestryker wrote on Sep 14, 2022, 01:17:
Riot's anticheat they use for Valorant paved the way for this type of system. I have my doubts regarding EA's competence with regards to getting it right, but if they do it's clearly superior to third party anticheat systems.

I'd prefer that they just use a VM, Sandbox or UWP for the MP portion of their games as this would be infinitely less invasive for users. This would undoubtedly cost more money to develop and maintain so they're going the cheap/easy route.
Wouldn't that affect performance?
If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends. Slava Ukraini!
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19.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 11:00
19.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 11:00
Sep 14, 2022, 11:00
 
Ah yes, surely nothing will go horrifically wrong with this plan.

Hopefully EA posts a list of upcoming games that will use this, or any previously released games that you are going to add this to, so they can be avoided/uninstalled.
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18.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 10:41
18.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 10:41
Sep 14, 2022, 10:41
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Sep 13, 2022, 19:45:
Devs: "Let's fuck with the kernel! Surely everything will be brilliant!"
Microsoft, bent over with their hands spreading their cheeks wide: "Like this, EA Daddy?"

The fact that they think a kernel level anti-cheat is not only valid but acceptable is disgusting. "Pew Pew: Let's Pretend We're Soldiers Part 357" doesn't need system level protection. It's a low priority userland application, FFS! If you're that worried about your MTX cash cow, run it in a locked container and use encrypted data and network comms.

Yes, I'm a cranky, old neckbeard about it.
Oh look, the guy who can barely install drivers is trying to tell people that a kernel level anti-cheat is neither valid nor acceptable. Hate to inform you, but this is literally the only thing comes remotely close to defeating cheaters and if you don't want to accept it then stop playing video games. Those of us who actually play online competitive games have been wanting this to become a standard for the last 3 years since they no longer do LAN outside of huge events.

I am not saying this will stop cheaters as I doubt anything ever will, but this is a step in the right direction to eradicate them. Sorry your privacy is so important that you'd rather have cheaters in every game than play the game, but most of aren't paranoid security asshats.
17.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 09:57
Verno
 
17.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 09:57
Sep 14, 2022, 09:57
 Verno
 
Yeah I'm not a fan of this practice for many reasons but ultimately the most important one is that it's a videogame, there is no reason they need low level access like this. I would rather tolerate cheaters, seriously.
Playing: Dead Space Remake, Chained Echoes, Hi-Fi Rush
Watching: Superstore, The Last of Us, Love Death & Robots
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16.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 07:35
16.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 07:35
Sep 14, 2022, 07:35
 
I'm just happy I've not really been interested in EA titles for over a decade.

I'm sure I've missed out on some super-amazing-can't-ever-live-without-it game, but they just haven't been able to make something I wanted. And this move just makes me even less likely to install Origin on any system I own.
15.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 07:01
15.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 07:01
Sep 14, 2022, 07:01
 
Good to know, I'll stay clear of their games, not that I care for fifa anyway.
As if there wasn't enough problems with denuvo... it looks like it would really pay off to get cracked version, so they can only encourage it.
14.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 06:45
Wolfen
 
14.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 06:45
Sep 14, 2022, 06:45
 Wolfen
 
The_Pink_Tiger wrote on Sep 13, 2022, 20:20:
Anyway, just you wait; it will turn out that the only reason EA is doing this is because they don't want to pay for a license to a third-party (like Easy Anti-Cheat) for the functionality. I'd wager this move might even have been inspired by one or more of those third-parties trying to renegotiate their deal with EA.

It certainly won't result in more robust software since it will just be a side-operation for EA, whereas companies like Punkbuster or EasyCheat do nothing but work on the thing (and even they have problems getting it right). It's a penny-pinching move by EA's C-level execs, nothing more.

To be fair. Most companies in any industry look to reduce costs and not want to have to license everything.
13.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 06:25
13.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 06:25
Sep 14, 2022, 06:25
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Sep 13, 2022, 20:03:
Sigwolf wrote on Sep 13, 2022, 19:05:
What could go wrong?
Start the countdown for when someone mods their "AntiCheat" software and uses it to launch ransomware or some other PITA issue...

EA: "We are aware of the issue and are rolling out a patch over the next few months. We are sorry for the inconvenience that you may have faced, like having your bank account wiped out and identity stolen."
12.
 
Bye bye EA
Sep 14, 2022, 04:53
12.
Bye bye EA Sep 14, 2022, 04:53
Sep 14, 2022, 04:53
 
Not gonna install anything that could risk compromising my daily driver, just to play any of their games.

So long EA….

This comment was edited on Sep 14, 2022, 09:09.
11.
 
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat
Sep 14, 2022, 01:17
11.
Re: EA Launching Kernel-Level Anti-Cheat Sep 14, 2022, 01:17
Sep 14, 2022, 01:17
 
Riot's anticheat they use for Valorant paved the way for this type of system. I have my doubts regarding EA's competence with regards to getting it right, but if they do it's clearly superior to third party anticheat systems.

I'd prefer that they just use a VM, Sandbox or UWP for the MP portion of their games as this would be infinitely less invasive for users. This would undoubtedly cost more money to develop and maintain so they're going the cheap/easy route.
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