A couple of weeks ago, Riot Games caused some consternation with the inclusion of a kernel-level anti-cheating system called Vanguard as part of their new team-based shooter Valorant. Gamers were understandably upset, particularly with Riot’s rather tone deaf and flippant response to security concerns. Now, the company behind the Denuvo DRM system is jumping into the already troubled waters with an anti-cheating system of their own.
In a blog post, Irdeto announced their Denuvo Anti-Cheat software had been rolled out for Bethesda’s DOOM Eternal, specifically to protect the BATTLEMODE multiplayer mode for players on PC. The post indicates that the software is GDPR-compliant and does not capture any personally identifiable data, nor does it run unless you happen to be running a game which uses the software, and even that is ostensibly restricted to multiplayer games. However, the blog also cavalierly points out that the software does not have a splash screen to indicate it has been launched or a system tray icon to indicate it is currently running. “This invisibility could raise some eyebrows,” is explicitly written right before an attempt to explain what is and is not happening when the software runs.
When Ars Technica reached out to Irdeto for comment, a spokesman for the company, Michail Greshishchev, had this to say:
These same gaming machines already have a sea of subpar (security-wise) administrative services with active Internet connections. Drivers from mouse and keyboard vendors, lighting and overclocking services, etc. If attackers really wanted to compromise gamers’ machines, they would go through them—not through the world’s strongest anti-tamper software.
Greshishchev further defended the software as being equivalent to video drivers or Steam’s Client Service. “It’s human nature to have a fear of the unknown, and no amount of technical claims by us could address that,” he concluded.
A post on a DOOM subreddit has already picked up over 5500 upvotes and over 1400 comments, and the general mood seems to be unsettled. Several people are asking why Bethesda decided to roll this out now, after the game’s release and without any prior warning. The original poster gives clear and unambiguous instructions for uninstalling the anti-cheat software, but some respondents are indicating a desire to go further and remove the game entirely along with the anti-cheat.