Warhammer 40k Darktide Poses a Kernel Vulnerability Risk

Image of Sergeant Minka Lesk, troupe leader of Cadian Honour, of the Astromilitarum.
Like the lives of the Warhammer guardsmen, your cybersecurity is always at risk.
Source: ARR: ©Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2022

Warhammer’s Darktide beta launch was a success. But the game has left a kernel vulnerability for the gamers that played the beta version. Warhammer 40k is a sci-fi fantasy game set in the distant future, playing on Tolkienesque tropes. 

The game had a kernel-level anti-cheat in the beta version. The software blocks any person from cheating in video games, meaning the file isn’t an issue and is standard in the industry.

However, now that the game’s beta test has ended, gamers can’t remove the kernel anti-cheat.

Moreover, those without the developer files can’t remove the file. Thus, the file can access the system and pose an advanced persistent threat (APT).

Linux users are safer than Windows’ because the OS has had kernel bugs in the past. Linux’s easy semi-solution renders the kernel inert. But Windows users must reformat their system entirely to remove the kernel vulnerability. 

Gamers Exposed to Kernel Vulnerability

The kernel vulnerability opens gamers to cyberattacks.

Once the file is inside the system, cybercriminals can easily crack it. Additionally, they can get the affected systems’ list from Steam and target vulnerable gamers.

The kernel-level threats can also infect other systems if they’re connected or communicating. For example, it can leave malware in your emails, increasing risks for complex spear-phishing attacks, which are becoming increasingly common.

Image of an Ubuntu Linux system's specifications in a dark room.
Linux offers many options for advanced users, but it’s difficult for regular ones.
Source: Lukas via Unsplash.com

Kernel Vulnerability Threats

Cybercriminals haven’t yet used kernel vulnerability to the same degree as other cyber vulnerabilities. However, the vulnerability is huge. For example, an attack through the kernel vulnerability can give cybercriminals deeper access while covering their tracks.

Moreover, if gamers can’t update the kernel files, they remain unprotected.

The attacks can also allow cybercriminals to collect information through keyloggers, internal system communication, browsers, and online communication. 

Plus, cybercriminals can extract information and passwords from your device. User information like financial information, private information, and business communication can easily fall into cybercriminals’ hands if they have access to your device.

Fortunately, third-party kernel-level files aren’t as common for iOS and Android. But, if a cybercriminal were to gain access to your iPhone, they could steal your biometric information, which would be the next level in identity theft.

Easy Anti-Cheat Removal for Linux

It’s obvious that the Warhammer 40k: Darktide developers used Linux during the game’s development. Because Linux manages security threats better than the other operating systems, it has become popular with IT companies.

Linux can easily remove the anti-cheat software after its installation. Linux allows users to remove the wine prefix from the kernel file in the WINE directory.

Users can remove the entire wine prefix by entering the command: 

rm –r ~/.wine

However, note that this will remove the entire wine directory prefixes. You’ll most likely need to reinstall Wine to access games on platforms such as Epic. But, since the process is relatively fast and easy, most Linux users are happy with the solution.

Image of a Windows 11 desktop starting up.
Removing kernel vulnerability risks in Windows can break the system.
Source: Johny Vino via Unsplash.com

Huge Issues for Windows Users

Unfortunately, most gamers use Windows. Globally, 74% of desktops run on Windows. Conversely, only 14% use macOS, and ~5% use Linux.

Users prefer Windows for its security, stability, and support at an affordable price. Additionally, Microsoft 365 is a popular productivity suite among users. 

But, when it comes to kernel-level files, Microsoft combines them with the system files. Therefore, removing the anti-cheat kernels in Windows is not easy.

However, the only way to remove the file is to reformat the system. Users can create backups for their data, so they don’t lose information when reformatting.

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