Valorant employs a kernel-level anti-cheat system called Vanguard that by definition runs in the heart of an operating system. The security measures put forth by Riot Games are always running in the background and for many players out there, the functionality brewed concerns that Vanguard can potentially spy and gather private information kept on systems at all times.
While Riot Games clarified that no such surveillance has been programmed for Valorant and that kernel-level operations actually allow Vanguard to detect cheats more efficiently, the developer obviously needed to quell the storm. Hence, Riot Games has decided to allow players to disable or uninstall Vanguard at any point via a system tray icon. When starting Valorant though, Vanguard will be installed automatically once again as a mandatory requirement.
Note that removing Vanguard will not allow anyone to play Valorant. What Riot Games is offering is a way for players to remove the anti-cheat from their systems when not playing and when doing so, gain a peace of mind that their systems are safe. Once again, Riot Games has categorically stated that Vanguard is not a spying software. However, anyone still having concerns can disable or uninstall Vanguard outside of the game. Though, that will require a system reboot.
Furthermore, the developer has also made Vanguard to notify players when certain third-party software are either blocked or modified. While chances of that happening are slim, Riot Games has assured that a particular software being blocked will have a known vulnerability or exploit.
Cheaters (and malware) typically use vulnerable drivers to load their code in the kernel and attack the operating system. By protecting against these attacks, Vanguard will be able to provide better competitive integrity and a more secure environment for all players.
Earlier in the week, Riot Games put out a bounty on Vanguard by announcing a reward for anyone who can manage to bypass the anti-cheat in Valorant. Sending in “high-quality reports” to Riot Games to reveal how Vanguard can be fooled will result in cash rewards ranging between $25,000 and $100,000. The final amount will depend on the nature of the exploit and suffice to say, the most dangerous of exploits will score the largest bounties, as long as they run on the latest version of Vanguard.
Valorant remains in closed beta and will officially release somewhere in the summers. It will be free to play and utilize microtransactions.