Electronic Arts announced a new and controversial anti-cheat system for the upcoming PC version of FIFA 23: kernel-level anti-cheat. EA AntiCheat is mandatory for certain games that are competitive and will initially come out for PC with the release of FIFA 23. This way, PC gamers (as well as console gamers who have to play against players on PC) would be protected from cheaters.
This fairly recent technique against cheating software requires access to the kernel level of the operating system, practically as close to the actual components of your PC as is possible. At this level, it is more difficult to shield anything from a program, which is exactly why you see anti-cheats at the kernel level more frequently lately.
Cheat software makers are in fact using deep-rooted drivers to cheat in games, something that a regular anti-cheat program might not realize. There is actually no normal “cheat program” running in such a case that can be detected. With kernel-level anti-cheat software, such a driver can be detected. But so can the software with just about anything on a PC.
Game makers are theoretically not interested in this and, they say, write the software so that it only looks for cheats. EA therefore emphasizes that EA AntiCheat only collects information about programs that interact with the game being secured; no passwords, e-mails, photos or other sensitive data.
In addition, EA says it uses hashing to encrypt any sensitive data. The good news with that is that the program shuts down when the associated game is shut down. So unlike Riot Games’ software, this program is not continuously on.
The software will be released with PC versions of other competitive online games after the release of FIFA 23 later this month. Single player games and multiplayer games without leaderboards or competitive leveling may get other measures.