A programmer working on the game, RiotArkem, quickly clarified the issue. Responding to a post on the Valorant subreddit, the developer set the record straight. Yes, Vanguard installs a driver that checks your PC at startup. No, apparently, you shouldn’t be worried. A startup anti-cheat driver is supposedly necessary to prevent players from activating cheating software before they turn Valorant on. Riot has, they promise, designed this system very carefully.
As summarized by RiotArkem:
TL;DR Yes we run a driver at system startup, it doesn’t scan anything (unless the game is running), it’s designed to take up as few system resources as possible and it doesn’t communicate to our servers. You can remove it at anytime.
Problematic anti-cheat tech
The good news is that Vanguard appears to be quick and easy to uninstall. RiotArkem gave very simple details about this, saying, “The Vanguard driver can be uninstalled at any time (it’ll be “Riot Vanguard” in Add/Remove programs)”. The question is, if it can be pulled from the game so quickly, in what way does it prevent cheating?
RiotArkem also notes that other types of anti-cheating systems have often led to security breaches. This is one reason why a startup driver is so concerning. If Valorant could be cracked, it could potentially provide easy entry to any computer. As most players won’t even notice the presence of Vanguard on their computers, if the software ever was compromised, legitimate players would be the most likely to suffer security breaches.
It certainly sounds as if Valorant‘s anti-cheat measures won’t actually stop serious cheaters, and yet it’s created a lot of extra security work for the team at Riot. Even if the offending driver is easy to remove, it’s not exactly making players’ lives easier.