U.S. Patent No. 11,040,285: Secure anti-cheat system

Issued June 22, 2021 to Electronic Arts Inc.
Filed/Priority to September 18, 2019

This Electronic Arts patent is yet another great example of the ways in which companies try to implement anti-cheat systems for video games.

Overview:

U.S. Patent No. 11,040,285 (the ‘285 patent) relates to an anti-cheat system. The ‘285 patent details a method of implementing an anti-cheat system within a first computing system under a user’s control. In response to the execution of a static loader of a game application in the computer’s volatile memory, a dynamic cheat detection module is obtained from a second computing system, independent from that of the user. The dynamic cheat detection module is loaded directly into a portion of the volatile memory of the first system, allocated to the first application. The module is then executed, sending a heartbeat signal to the second computing system which indicates that the dynamic cheat detection model is running. The dynamic cheat module then loads a set of cheat signatures into the volatile memory and compares the volatile memory to the signatures to detect whether a second, independent application is executing on the system, enabling cheating in the first application. The ‘285 patent could provide game security by detecting cheating on systems locally for some games.

Abstract:

An anti-cheat system may be accessed over a network and stored directly into volatile memory of a user computing system. In some embodiments, this anti-cheat system may scan, or access portions of, the volatile memory of the user computing system to detect whether cheat software or other unauthorized software that may interact with a game application is detected on the user computing system. The accessed portions of the volatile memory may be compared with one or more signatures that are associated with the execution of cheat software on a computing system. The anti-cheat system may be prevented from being stored within non-volatile memory, thereby preventing malicious users from modifying the anti-cheat system.

Illustrative Claim:

  1. A computer-implemented method comprising: as implemented by a first computing system under the control of a user, the first computing system comprising one or more hardware processors configured to execute specific computer-executable instructions, executing a static loader included as part of a first application executing within a volatile memory of the first computing system; responsive to executing the static loader, obtaining a dynamic cheat detection module from a second computing system under the control of an entity that is independent from the user; loading the dynamic cheat detection module directly into a portion of the volatile memory of the first computing system allocated to the first application; executing the dynamic cheat detection module stored within the volatile memory of the first computing system; using the dynamic cheat detection module, sending a heartbeat signal to the second computing system indicating that the dynamic cheat detection module is executing; using the dynamic cheat detection module, loading a set of cheat signatures into the volatile memory without storing the set of cheat signatures in a non-volatile memory of the first computing system; and comparing portions of the volatile memory to a cheat signature of the set of cheat signatures to detect whether a second application that is independent of the first application is executing on the first computing system, wherein the second application enables cheating in the first application.
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