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‘Call of Duty: Warzone’ and ‘Vanguard’ anti-cheat updates include a kernel-level driver | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jessica Conditt



Activision has unveiled its big, new approach to squashing hackers in Call of Duty: Warzone and Vanguard, and it’s a two-pronged system called RICOCHET Anti-Cheat. The first stage is a series of server-side enhancements that will better identify and remove cheaters from games, and this is scheduled to hit Warzone with the Pacific update later this year. These new server tools will be live in Vanguard when it comes out on November 5th.
The second prong is a PC kernel-level driver designed to monitor the deepest level of every player’s rig while they’re in-game, in an effort to stop outside software from sneaking in through this back door. The kernel, or ring 0, is the most privileged level of any PC, granting access to every layer of hardware, and generally reserved for things like graphics card drivers and trusted bits of the operating system. The RICOCHET Anti-Cheat kernel-level driver will only turn on when Warzone or Vanguard is active; it’s not an always-on situation.
While operating in the kernel isn’t uncommon for anti-cheat software, this is likely the most concerning part of Activision’s new plans for many players. Riot Games faced scrutiny in 2020 for implementing a similar kernel-level driver in Valorant, though the main issue was that it was always on, operating even when the game wasn’t active. (Confusingly, the Valorant anti-cheat system is called Vanguard).

This isn’t a new worry, either — in 2013, the always-on ring 0 anti-cheat system employed by ESEA was commandeered to turn unsuspecting players’ PCs into a secret bitcoin mining farm.
With these lessons in mind, Activision has stressed that RICOCHET will only be active when the associated game is live, saying specifically, “the driver shuts down when you exit the game and turns on when you start a new game.”
The kernel-level driver will hit Warzone alongside the Pacific update this year, and it’ll come to Vanguard at a later date.
Cheating has been a significant problem in Call of Duty: Warzone for a long while now. Activision has banned more than 500,000 accounts since the game’s launch, though it’s not uncommon for matches to be riddled with aimbots and cheap hacks to this day. Players have been screaming for a robust anti-cheat system in Warzone and other Call of Duty titles, and RICOCHET is Activision’s kernel-level, not-always-on answer.All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine come to ‘Fortnite’ | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Epic Games’ fondness for Capcom continues unabated. The game developer has added legendary Resident Evil characters Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine (aka the “master of unlocking“) to Fortnite, complete with numerous nods to the zombie-slaying franchise. Chris and Jill have alternate costumes that make nods to their appearances in Village and Nemesis, while the Back Bling offers three shades of Resident Evil’s life-sustaining herbs. There are themed pickaxes and even a “brolly stroll” emote making fun of everyone’s least-favorite fictional corporation.
The outfits and equipment are available to buy in separate S.T.A.R.S. Team and S.T.A.R.S. Team Gear bundles. The Resident Evil packs are particularly timely drops given Halloween and the hordes of “Cube Monsters” in the current season, and we won’t be surprised if they lose some of their early luster. Still, this is a Fortnite gaming crossover that makes sense — Chris and Jill are already well-dressed for a bitter fight for survival.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Astronomers directly observe one of the youngest planets to date | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Astronomers have spotted young planets before, but rarely this young — or with such easy observation. As CBS News says, a University of Hawaii-led team has discovered 2M0437b, one of the youngest planets ever found at ‘just’ several million years old. The baby planet was found in the Taurus Cloud “nursery” and young enough that it’s still emanating lava-like heat from its birth.
Importantly, this is also a very rare chance at directly observing an infant world. Researchers will still need to use special optics to compensate for Earth’s atmosphere, but they won’t have to use the host star or other tricks to study the planet. It helps that 2M0437b is about one hundred times further from its star than Earth is from the Sun, reducing the chances for interference.
The scientists first spotted the planet in 2018 using the Subaru Telescope, but spent the next three years using the Keck Observatory and other Hawaii telescopes to track the planet and confirm it was tied to its host.
Future observations could shed more light on planetary formation. It might not take much longer to glean more details, either. The team hoped the imminent James Webb Space Telescope could help detect atmospheric gases and newly forming moons. As significant as 2M0437b might be now, it could be more important going forward.All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Hasbro unveils ‘ultimate’ Nerf version of the Halo Needler gun | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Past attempts at a Nerf version of Halo’s Needler gun have fallen short, but the latest iteration might just live up to (most of) the promises. The Verge reports Hasbro has introduced a Nerf LMTD Halo Needler that looks and acts more like the iconic Covenant weapon. It still won’t shoot homing rounds, unfortunately, but the motorized blaster will shoot 10 darts in a row from a rapid-fire drum. The needles light up when you grab the handle, and they’ll dim one at a time as you unleash foam rounds upon your foes.
There’s a Halo Infinite tie-in, as you might imagine. Hasbro promises a card in the box with a code for in-game Infinite content. While the toymaker didn’t say what you’d get, it won’t be surprising if it’s linked to the Needler.
The blaster will chew through six AA 1.5V batteries at a time. You might not mind so much, however, when there’s a light-up display mode and matching stand to show off your acquisition.
You’ll have to be particularly patient if you want to brandish real-world Halo gear. The Nerf LMTD Halo Needler is available to pre-order from Amazon now for $100, but it’s not slated to ship until December 1st, 2022. Look at it this way, though: this could easily be the most impressive Halo blaster you can buy for a long, long time.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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