In the endless war of cheat vs. anti-cheat, Valve are considering serious measures to lock down programs hooking into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The new measures, currently being put through their paces in an opt-in public beta testing, will not let you join VAC-enabled servers if you launch CS with incompatible files loaded. This is, to be clear, not any sort of kernel driver like Valorant's controversial Vanguard. The new anti-cheat feature is currently being tested in an opt-in public beta and seems a way away from launching properly, bringing crippling performance problems for some players right now.
Valve explained in Friday's announcement that this new anti-cheat feature "significantly restricts the types of programs and files that can interact with the game." This doesn't only affect cheats, it blocks loads of harmless software too. In its initial state, folks have reported it objecting to software including Discord's overlay, some of Nvidia's jazz, anti-virus, and the OBS video capture software. Sounds like some software developers will be able to make it comply with Valve's new rules.
Valve explained more of what's going on:
"In the unlikely event that you launch the game with incompatible files, you will receive a warning indicating the incompatible file and may be blocked from joining VAC-enabled servers. To resolve the issue, you can disable the 'Trusted Launch' in your game settings, however this may temporarily impact your trust score."
"For developers of third-party programs that interact directly with the CS:GO executable process, we have added requirements that will impact your software. Moving forward, all DLLs that interact with CS:GO will need to be digitally signed with an Authenticode signature. Additionally, we will block signed DLLs if their functionality interferes with the game in any way."
For now, the new measures are limited to a public beta branch for those who really want to try it. Following many reports of the beta build running far worse, Valve popped out a beta performance patch last night. Some are still reporting their performance has tanked on the beta so it sounds like more work is needed. With that in mind, I wouldn't expect this to launch super soon.
This isn't mean to be Valve's big end-game anti-cheat move. It targets a specific type of cheat, doing nothing to sneakier types. It's still helpful to have one more tool in their kit as the endless cheatwar continues.
As is the way with the cheatwar, this new level of protection was reportedly broken the same day. Doubtless Valve will try something else to counteract that bypass. Then the cheaty cheaters will one-up Valve. And on and on through the decades and centuries until only Dustnet remains