Kaspersky is branching out from protecting PCs and businesses from cybersecurity threats and into protecting eSports players from unfairness. This week, it announced a beta version of Kaspersky Anti-Cheat, a tool specifically made for eSports organizations to ensure fair play.
It's not hard to guess why. Teams can win millions of dollars by playing in tournaments for popular titles like Dota 2, League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Learning that someone managed to cheat during one of these tournaments--which has happened before--can lead to all sorts of problems for their organizers. (Should prizes be returned? Brackets changed?) When it comes to professional gaming, it's imperative the competition is fair.
The methods currently used to deter cheating vary from event to event. Blizzard carefully manages all of the equipment used for Overwatch League (a profesional eSports league for Overwatch players) matches, for example, while Ubisoft's partners for Rainbow Six Siege rely on anti-cheat solutions because many matches are played online. Organizers can largely decide for themselves how they want to maintain a level playing field in a given eSports title.
According to Kaspersky, its cloud-based solution is to be installed in players' systems, after which point "game process information is collected, sent to the Kaspersky Anti-Cheat cloud and analyzed for suspicious events." A referee then receives reports in real time through a web interface, leaving the ref and organization to decide what actions to take on the cheater.
Kaspersky partnered with StarLadder, which hosts tournaments for numerous titles, for a trial run of Kaspersky Anti-Cheat. StarLadder chief business development officer Alexander Chegrinez said in the announcement that it will "test this new solution at our tournaments to check how often players resort to dishonest behavior." Whether that will lead to a longer partnership or not likely depends on the tool's utility.
Kaspersky Anti-Cheat was also made available to game developers looking for a way to maintain integrity in non-eSports matches. The service has plenty of competition in that field, however, which could make it harder for Kaspersky's solution to gain traction.
More information about the service can be found on Kaspersky's website. Pricing information and other details aren't publicly available.
Of course, those trusting Kaspersky for their antivirus needs should have no problem trusting their anti-cheat. However, if you're wary, then consider that their anti-cheat probably needs similar root-kit level access to the system.