A hot potato: Nobody likes cheaters in online multiplayer games. Some cheating programs operate in Ring 0 to avoid detection because most mitigation methods operate in Rings 2 or 3. Valorant's Vanguard software uses Ring 0 drivers to detect these programs. While it is not the only one to do this, Vanguard has recently become a hot topic in the community because of it.
Earlier this month, Riot Games came under fire over its "Vanguard" anti-cheat software. The problem was that the program uses a kernel-mode driver with Ring 0 privileges, which raised issues for some players. Users and security analysts expressed fears that it would create system-wide stability issues and an additional attack vector for hackers, even though several other games use similar cheat mitigation methods.
In response to these concerns, Riot security and privacy teams quickly posted a detailed explanation of the Vanguard software and announced it was increasing the rewards for its bug bounty program on HackerOne for Vanguard-related vulnerabilities.
"Today [April 17], we're announcing that we're creating a special scope for Vanguard vulnerabilities with even higher bounties," said the developers. "We want players to continue to play our games with peace of mind, and we're putting our money where our mouth is."
This week, the company announced on the r/Valorant subreddit that it has since made a few changes to the Vanguard software. Effective immediately, the program will have a system tray icon (after rebooting). From there, users can turn off the Vanguard system at any time. One must keep in mind, however, that this puts the PC into an "untrusted" state, so they will not be able to play the game until rebooting the computer.
Additionally, if players want to keep the Vanguard software off indefinitely (even after a reboot), there is now an option to uninstall it. The anti-cheat system will automatically reinstall when launching Valorant. Users may also turn off the system tray icon through the Windows Notification Area.
It still does not address the fact that there is a driver in Ring 0 (except for with an uninstall) but does at least give players more control over the software, which is never a bad thing.