Last week, Ubisoft announced an “important security update” to prevent cheating on the popular Rainbow Six Siege. And although Ubisoft has said it “cannot share details of the update in order to protect its integrity”, anti-cheat watchers believe the developer could thwart cheaters using an interesting form of obfuscation. semi-randomized code and frequent game updates.
The popular Anti-Cheat Police Service (ACPD) Twitter account noted last week that “every 2 hours, a new unique version of R6 appears,” citing SteamDB tracking data showing dozens of updates over a few days. The game’s frequent Steam updates seem to have stopped just when Ubisoft temporarily canceled its new security features in order to implement fixes on Wednesday, further establishing the link.
Prominent rainbow six ScriptLeaksR6 mining account also explained last week this Headquarters “has a new system in place where some [PC players] getting custom builds of the game.” The proliferation of dozens of different builds of the game in a short period of time means that “cheat developers have to effectively update 100 builds of the game for their cheat to work,” as ScriptLeaksR6 puts it.
Hey, where did that variable go?
Speaking to PC Gamer, New Avalon’s Paul Chamberlain (who previously worked on Riot’s Vanguard anti-cheat system) noted that generating “new builds” of the game could be as simple as shuffling the memory order. logical variables or flags in some games. programming structures or changing a single encryption key used for server communication. In each case, these small changes might require a large-scale rewrite of a cheat engine to account for the new memory locations of crucial information.
The ACPD also states that the multiple versions “[make] cheat developers are working even harder,” quoting one cheat creator who noted in a private forum that “there won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution.”
While Chamberlain says it could be an “effective” anti-cheat system, he notes that it comes with a lot of “operational complexity.” Due to this complexity, he assumes that Ubisoft has developed many rainbow six built before the launch of the new security system and now distributes them randomly, rather than literally creating a new version every two hours.
ScriptLeaksR6 too Remarks that this kind of data mixing has the unintended side effect of stopping tracking statistics. Ubisoft cryptically noted that its security update “will impact some third-party apps” and that it will “keep tabs on all of your behavior change reports.”
Cheaters might possibly be able to automatically detect and account for the types of obfuscation that Ubisoft seems to be using here, which means it’s not a “silver bullet” method to prevent cheaters long-term. Still, it’s always interesting to see great developers seemingly trying out new strategies in the never-ending cat-and-mouse battle against cheaters.