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Riot is now making you download their anti-cheat to play League

league of legends spyware

Riot Games confirmed that Vanguard, its always-on anti-cheat engine, is coming to League of Legends sparking both security and hardware concerns from players

Riot’s anti-cheat and anti-botting software, originally created for Valorant, is considered one of the most effective anti-cheats. It allows Riot Games to hardware ban the cheaters and end a match if a cheater is detected. It does this by having deep access to a PC’s processes, with the ability to disable other programs and monitor what the user is doing even before booting Valorant.

The implementation of Vanguard comes as a response to a security breach in early 2023. In January, a group of hackers stole League of Legends’ source code, including the game’s anti-cheat Packman. At the time, the hackers asked for $10 million in exchange for the stolen information. The power stolen source code has for cheat makers was recently seen in Grand Theft Auto 5, where cheat makers were able to use stolen source code to make a variety of hacks for GTA Online.

Similar to the Insomniac Games leak that revealed long-term plans for the Spider-Man games and gameplay footage and story details for Marvel’s Wolverine, Riot refused to pay. The source code then went up for sale in different online forums. The attack, which took 36 hours to detect, leaves League of Legends vulnerable to cheaters, rendering Packman obsolete.

How will Vanguard impact League of Legends?

Vanguard could help combat botting and cheating in League of Legends.

Botting and cheating are likely some of the most common issues in League of Legends. The existing anti-cheat software hasn’t stopped the problem and some players say it has gotten worse since the security breach back in 2023. Vanguard has kept Valorant secure to some degree and could have a similar impact in League of Legends.

Valorant Cheater Detected

Players who are already using Vanguard for Valorant won’t have to take any extra steps when it’s released for League of Legends. LoL players who don’t also play Valorant will have to download it.

Is Vanguard safe?

Vanguard has been criticized for the deep access it has to users’ PCs. Riot Games has made monitoring software for governments, and some are reluctant effectively give the company full access to their PC. Vanguard initially had compatibility issues with some important software that doesn’t impact gameplay like hardware temperature monitors, but this was fixed over time.

Alongside the security concerns is that it will impact modding and content creation. The most likely casualty is custom skins. There are websites that offer mods to change the champions’ appearances, the announcer’s voice, and even voice lines. After Vanguard is implemented, players who use these or other mods could be banned from the game.

Another possible casualty is the popular YouTube channel SkinsSpotlight. This is one of the first channels to show new champions and skin lines in detail. The creator sets up encounters between specific champions to trigger voice lines, showcases skills, and shows the models in detail.

Vanguard might make it impossible for them to continue creating these videos, as the tools that make their videos possible will likely result in a ban. This will likely apply to other content creators as well.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2. His work has previously been featured by Bleacher Report and The Washington Post, and he was an Assistant Editor at WIN.gg. You can follow him on Twitter / X at @srondina.

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