Tuesday, November 29th 2016

Watch Dogs 2 Uses EasyAntiCheat - Monitors Systems, Potentially Prevents Modding

Watch Dogs 2 has recently made its debut, encountering both critical acclaim and inversely proportional sales - at least for now. The game features a living open world, achieving what the original promised but never delivered, with both single-player and multi-player modes being praised by their quality.

And when there is a semblance of multiplayer, there must also be an anti-cheating mechanism. Watch Dogs 2 makes use of EasyAntiCheat, which has, embedded in its TOS - and even on its features page - a field that claims "Client data analysis to identify anomalies in the game process runtime" is used to enforce it anti-cheat detection mechanisms. What it basically means is that EasyAntiCheat installs a driver in kernel mode and a service that monitors your systems' operating files (when Watch Dogs 2 is running). This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only - and even offline - modes, meaning that you're not getting out of its crosshairs no matter how you are playing the game. The addition of file-integrity checks at the start of the game, so as to detect any changes to the games' files also precludes modding, with some injection-type modding also finding troubles in being able to access the game, due to it checking game memory and system memory as well. Popular applications such as Afterburner and OBS have their overlay and recording capabilities disabled, and Cheat Engine is also not working - though that just means EasyAntiCheat is doing its job.
EasyAntiCheat TOS:

1. EasyAntiCheat is not compatible with any anti-cheat programs other than VAC, therefore you must not run EasyAntiCheat if you wish to play with any other anti-cheat at the same time. The user is fully responsible in case his/her game account or cdkey gets banned or refused by the game, EasyAntiCheat or any other anti-cheat.

2. EasyAntiCheat finds game cheats by scanning games' memory, the system memory and verifying original game files on disk to ensure they have not been modified. Only games' folders (and subfolders) are verified to contain original game data. EasyAntiCheat may replace or remove permanently any modified or custom game files found in games' folders (and subfolders). The use of any custom models, textures, sprites or other modified game files may lead to permanent ban if they can be considered to give the player an unfair advantage over other players.

3. EasyAntiCheat will take screenshots of your game screen and upload them on public servers, viewable to everyone, if the server provider wishes so. The author of this software and EasyAntiCheat takes no responsibility of screenshots captured outside the game screen. If any personal or harmful information is captured into a screenshot, the user is fully responsible of the happened incident and any consequences it may result in. (In case this happens to you, please inform your server provider to remove unwanted screenshots from the server.)

4. EasyAntiCheat will scan system registry to detect forbidden modifications, settings or other features enabled to the game or graphic card drivers.
The EasyAntiCheat TOS, as you can see, does a pretty good job of exculpating the company, by making it loud and clear (as loud and clear can be when you're talking about TOS that no-one-reads-but-definitely-should) what the application does. Of course, that also means that unless you're privy to bypassing this kind of mechanisms, you have no way of saying "No" to these other than not playing the game.

It needs to be said EasyAntiCheat is a legit anti-hacking, anti-cheating software, though - it's been used in eSports (such as Counter Strike, Warface, and others) for years, and professionals willingly submit themselves to this kind of constraints and TOS in an environment that is, understandably, controlled (and apparently, only in this kind of environments - and Counter Strike ones in particular - does the application take and upload screenshots, at the behest of the organizing party). But it seems that this anti-cheat mechanism is operating even in single-player offline mode, which simply removes from the player the ability to maintain his desired privacy. There should always be an option not to agree with the installation of this kind of applications, even if that were to mean no access to multi-player modes. I, for one, would make that trade willingly.

This looks like a possible way for Ubisoft to protect its monetizing programs with in-game purchases, which abound in Watch Dogs 2 - a way to prevent players from using exploits in the game that could harm the sales of in-game items.

Update Dec 2nd: For a way to disable EasyAntiCheat in Watch_Dogs 2, see this article.
Add your own comment

44 Comments on Watch Dogs 2 Uses EasyAntiCheat - Monitors Systems, Potentially Prevents Modding

#1
P4-630
Raevenlord, post: 3562021, member: 166527"
This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only modes, meaning that you're not getting out of its crosshairs no matter how you are playing the game. The addition of file-integrity checks at the start of the game, so as to detect any changes to the games' files also precludes modding, with some injection-type modding also finding troubles in being able to access the game, due to it checking game memory and system memory as well.
I'm not buying it anyway, but :wtf: o_O :shadedshu:
Posted on Reply
#2
Ferrum Master
Not touching anything ubersoft anyway... they won't get a penny from me.
Posted on Reply
#3
bug
A game with a bundled kernel driver just for kicks. In which world is this a good idea?
Posted on Reply
#4
INSTG8R
My Custom Title
Fired it up this morning. Crashed on my first Hack....So I played it for like 5 minutes...I finally fired up MGS V and damn I'm hooked so no big loss. I'll get to it eventually.
Posted on Reply
#5
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Don't ya just love invasive crap? :rolleyes:
Posted on Reply
#6
rtwjunkie
PC Gaming Enthusiast
I have nothing against Ubisoft. Some of their games are fantastic and give me a varied 40-60 hours of fun, like FC4, Black Flag, or Syndicate.

But something installed at the kernel level, even if no multiplayer is played? No. Frickin. Way. :shadedshu:

With this info, I believe sales will stay inversely proportional to the positive reviews.
Posted on Reply
#7
TheinsanegamerN
Meh, is a UbiJunk game. It'll be worth, oh, $5 in two years once you can buy all the DLC for $7, ad they have finally fixed all the bugs.

Until then, pass. We have enough open world games out there.
Posted on Reply
#8
Nabarun
EasyAntiCheat is total crap. Crytek uses it with Warface in addition to Fairfight and there are tons of cheaters in the game. At least Fairfight catches up eventually. But this easy shit is easily bypassed and once done it can't do shit. It's only job is to spook off noob script kiddies.
Posted on Reply
#9
RejZoR
I bet, despite all this protection and potential privacy invasion, there will still be bunch of cheaters. Why not just make it worse even for those who don't even cheat (ever). Coz that somehow makes sense...
Posted on Reply
#10
wiak
bug, post: 3562038, member: 157434"
A game with a bundled kernel driver just for kicks. In which world is this a good idea?
they arnt even kernel developers either, sooo the code is probably worser than, the worst of a drunk kernel developers
Posted on Reply
#11
ShurikN
A new low even for Ubisoft.
Posted on Reply
#12
xSMaa
EasyAntiCheat's actual TOS can be found here https://www.easyanticheat.net/privacy/
Not sure where those 4 TOS points in the post come from, but they're wrong.

edit: Reading through, there's nothing in there about screenshotting for WD2. Article title seems clickbait to me..
Posted on Reply
#13
bug
Nabarun, post: 3562064, member: 132591"
EasyAntiCheat is total crap. Crytek uses it with Warface in addition to Fairfight and there are tons of cheaters in the game. At least Fairfight catches up eventually. But this easy shit is easily bypassed and once done it can't do shit. It's only job is to spook off noob script kiddies.
You're assuming it's meant to stop cheating. You don't need a kernel driver to stop cheating ;)
Posted on Reply
#14
TheGuruStud
EAC doesn't even work. There's a million cheaters on Rust.
Posted on Reply
#15
natr0n
I never got into the game much. GTAV is my type of open world.

Watchdogs watches you !
Posted on Reply
#16
manofthem
WCG-TPU Team All-Star!
I won't be playing this game but I do wonder which info is accurate. According to the bottom of their Privacy page:
For the Sake of Clarity
Throughout history several anti–cheat solutions have gained a reputation of being invasive to the end–user privacy, and have thereby given the entire sector a bad name. We see countering cheating as a fight based on merit and coding excellence, not one of witch hunts and assumptions. We guarantee you that we do not get involved with screenshots, keylogging, or scanning your hard disk. We are not interested in anything that is personal to you as an individual.

Only when licensed in the context of competitive Counter–Strike tournaments, we do offer the possibility for uploading in–game screenshots to the organiser's servers. Note that those screenshots will never touch our servers. In order to participate in such tournaments you need to agree with the organiser's EULA, EasyAntiCheat is not responsible for the data in any way. In these cases, the EULA is fundamentally different from the one typically used by EasyAntiCheat's integrated games. Screenshot functionality is not included nor available for any game other than Counter–Strike
.
Posted on Reply
#19
bug
manofthem, post: 3562150, member: 91647"
I won't be playing this game but I do wonder which info is accurate. According to the bottom of their Privacy page:
What does that even mean? That they're only raping your system, but won't tell 3rd parties about it?

GAMES SHALL NOT MESS WITH THE KERNEL. Games are not important enough to risk that.
Posted on Reply
#20
RejZoR
This mechanism is also running even when you're in single-player-only - and even offline - modes.
Sorry, but that's just retardation galore. We've gone from games having cheats out of the box down to this shit where you can't have stupid fun with single player either because they force all the protection garbage on you. I knew I had to avoid Ubisoft and this is one more reason for you guys to do the same...
Posted on Reply
#21
ZoneDymo
RejZoR, post: 3562249, member: 1515"
Sorry, but that's just retardation galore. We've gone from games having cheats out of the box down to this shit where you can't have stupid fun with single player either because they force all the protection garbage on you. I knew I had to avoid Ubisoft and this is one more reason for you guys to do the same...
iddqd :'(
Posted on Reply
#23
RejZoR
ZoneDymo, post: 3562261, member: 66089"
iddqd :'(
Games don't even have single player cheats anymore. I remember how fun it was figuring out how to use cheats in Half-Life. It was rocket science to figure out how to add commandline to first unlock the console and then use console commands. And I remember how fun it was replaying Half-Life, Duke 3D or Doom using cheats after you've already finished the game and you started it again with weapon of your choice from beginning. Like MP5 and that rail gun in Half-Life. Or with chaingun in Doom. It was fun going absolutely insane with weapons, not caring about ammo, just having pure fun. This is clear indication current developers don't even know how to make fun with their own games. The concept of "fun" is unknown to them.

Or if you were clever, you could modify game parameters. I know Half-Life at one point had all parameters for weapons damage in plain text file, for each difficulty level. I remember modifying parameters so normal 9mm Glock from beginning made so mcuh damage all enemies literally spilled litres of blood on walls when shot. Or in Carmageddon 2, I've modified money and time parameters so every hit pedestrian gave me 5 minutes of time instead of original 10 seconds (I think). Same for money. Instead of crappy little money, I got plenty. It was super fun doing goofy stuff with tons of time and money, just doing insane shit in the game. With hard locked even single player content, all this is gone.

Ubisoft = No Fun
Posted on Reply
#25
TheDeeGee
So no unlocking full graphics? :P
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment