According to a public announcement given by Rocket Map, one of the biggest and most used tracking solutions, Niantic’s latest packet of security measures is dealing huge blows to third party trackers, bot users and serial spoofers.

The statement was given by Rocket Map developers and it seems, in short, that Niantic has done an incredible job at detecting bot accounts, blinding them and punishing them in the future.

The devs went into details to explain their methods and reasoning about the shadow-banning mechanism, but in essence, they haven’t got a solution that can be deployed and used today. Their early estimates suggest that it will take months for them to recover from this issue.

Although this will not stop occasional spoofers, serial spoofers and bots are slowly dwindling down, as their account base gets devoured by the new security measure.

The whole statement is as follows:

@everyone Hi guys, it’s time to talk about the Niantic in the room. This is about the blind accounts.

Ever since the blinding waves, we haven’t stopped researching every single aspect of RM, pgoapi and PoGo. We did this privately to focus on our work rather than trying to deal with endless speculation and opinions.

So to answer the important question “Is there a final solution in the short term?”: No.

If you want to make sense of what has been happening, imagine that Niantic has installed an AI to analyze and flag accounts. Whether this is actually the case is irrelevant for the example, the end result is the same: it’s not a single or straightforward thing that gets accounts flagged, and the effect on accounts is based on multiple aspects of the accounts.

So what now?

Internally, we’ve set up a list of items that we need to address that all have a possible (or clear) effect on the flagging rate. We’ll be continuing our work with the goal to make RM’s scanning behavior the least identifiable in the long term. Finishing all of these items will take several months, but in the meanwhile we’ll continue to work on (and release) updates that will reduce the effect and the importance of account flags/bans.

We can confirm that:
1. New accounts work for 60 to 140 hours (depending on config).
2. Blinded accounts can get unblinded after 6 to 10 days.
3. Reusing unblinded accounts in any 3rd party app (including RM) will get them blinded again faster than before (sometimes in just a few hours).
4. If you buy accounts to scan, do so at your own risk. These have often been getting blinded in a matter of a few hours (~4h), most likely because they had already been flagged before.
5. Once flagged, the blinding is inevitable.
6. All 3rd party apps/scanners are affected in the exact same manner. We’ve spent extra time to confirm this because some people were pretty convinced we were wrong, although it usually ended up being because they hadn’t even realized their accounts were already blind.
7. There is NO recommended way to test accounts for blindness. The current 3rd party implementations are incorrect and could get your accounts flagged if they weren’t already. This is a WIP and is being added to RM itself.

Right now, here are 3 approaches for your configs to maximize the scan time per account. Results depend on a lot of things, so test and experiment for yourself until you find what works best for you:
1. Burn through accounts: no sleep, no account rotation. For some whose accounts usually get flagged very early on, this will increase the scan time of the account.
2. Use a basic constant rotation: e.g. asi 8h (8h of scanning) for ari 4h (4 hours of sleep).
3. Use more realistic scan times: low asi and high ari (scan in bursts: short period of scanning for a realistic resting time), or low asi and low ari (what you would call “not too active players”) but use enough spare accounts to fill 24 hours with realistic schedules for all accounts.

The ideal will depend on your own results, we’ve found that all three approaches had positive effects for at least one testing setup. A person who needs #1 will be the direct opposite of someone running #3, but both are equally valid.

The blinding issue will only be solved in the long term by addressing all points, and that’s what we’re doing now thumbsup It’s a solvable problem, but it takes time.

 

Unfortunately, a large portion of the playerbase doesn’t understand that bots and spoofers rely heavily on third party trackers to perform malicious activities.

In term, these players usually misunderstand that Niantic’s actions are not targeted against third party trackers, but against large scale bot networks and account sellers.

  • ElectroBlade

    Great news. 🙂 Thumbs up to Niantic

    • the2000guy

      Not so fast my friend. We still have huge problems with bots softwares and spoofers. But the most problematic are bots.

      • ElectroBlade

        Not every problem is solved in one fell swoop. This was a good step forward.

  • Khae Mohamad Khaerul Fahmi

    If they can blinded cheat/bot account, why not giving ban hammer on that account?

    • Sanjeev C Das

      AI is complicated.. it need more data for analyzing.. after understanding the behavior of a bot and real player they can exqute ban.. this is just an early stage.. The implementation now can cause ppain in butt. Nd they loose player..

  • electro

    Maybe if niantic have a better nearby, instead 200 mtrs a 400/500 mtrs is perfect and all tracks and bots doesnt exist.But all new stuff niantic have made for a better game, they have lost more 30/35% of players, just take a look in rural areas, when we need to walk 2/3 km for a pokestop and i talk about a vilage with more then 4k persons..Niantic dont care about rural area, i have sent several emails and not a single response 11 months already pass .Well play NIANTIC.

    • broris

      you are sending mails to them? dont you know their Support is a load of crap. Ive sent countless reports and screenshot proofs of people cheating, more than enough to ban someone for life, and after 3 or 4 ban waves im still seeing my gyms going down by same accounts while noone else is around. And yeah, abour rural part, lets just hope they enable stop applications as they said the would

  • PseudoBob

    Niantic admits hating rural players: major reason to even open Pokémon Go frustrated, will hopefully get rid of people they don’t give a crap about.

    According to an internal memo sent around Niantic’s offices, the latest measures to thwart scanning accounts have proven to be very effective. Rural players who have been a thorn in Niantic’s side due to the low ratio of player numbers to IAPs and their constant whining about wanting more stops in the middle of nowhere and an in-game scanner that favors their conditions – all of which have been draining Niantic development and support resources – have been dealt a heavy blow as they have been relegated to chasing low level Pokémon in their neighborhoods and nary a gym-worthy Pokémon to be caught, let alone leveled up.

    With rural player numbers dwindling, Niantic can now concentrate on the money-makers; the sub-urban families and affluent inner-city dwellers who have the disposable income to help make Pokémon Go grow and attract further lucrative deals such as that struck with Starbucks and Sprint – two chains who have historically been underrepresented in rural areas, with Sprint having the worst rural coverage of the four major carriers – which will also further re-enforce that Pokémon Go is intended to be played by the middle to upper class rather than the working class.

    When asked about this apparent financials-driven development model, a PR manager for Niantic replied under condition of anonymity that “players who do not find Pokémon Go entertaining – the game may simply not be for them. I hear FarmVille is quite popular.”

    /s (sarcastic? salty? you decide!)

    • Brad

      ^ This!!! Kill the scanners, kill the rural players. I used to spend $100 a month, mainly to buy pokeballs due to a lack of pokestops. The last couple months I have spent zero since that is what rural players are worth to Niantic.
      Until an event I will continue to just do my dailies, 1 catch and 1 stop.
      Suck it Niantic, your going down faster than a hooker on nickel night.

      • Ralazar

        You must know the slowest hookers ever

  • Because of this AI, my phone overheats.

    • Ralazar

      That’s total BS. It’s happening server-side, not client-side, which would make no sense.

      • meh

        We actually don’t know how exactly niantic is implementing the shadow bans but toto is right in that phones are overheating like crazy more now than ever, if you don’t believe it just google it and you’ll see the problem many of us are having which results in almost unplayable gym battles

        • Ralazar

          But that’s not what Totoy said. They said it was because of the AI. I can’t imagine that they’d be using AI client-side to do this. Perhaps some of the requisite calculations are being done client-side and returned to the server, but the idea that artificial intelligence has been included in the app itself to handle perform the shadow bans seems nuts.

      • Really? You mean they are monitoring my position, server-side, alone? That’s really BS, AF! So, the server is getting data of my position from my ISP? LOL!

  • Frost The Fox

    What a joke of an article.

  • leonidaswin

    I’m really really HAPPY, those cheaters botting and spoofing all the time are just leaving from my city. It was so frustrating seeing them with 3000+ CP and with repeated names invading all the gyms. Step by step Niantic, well done for now.

  • leonidaswin

    I’ve heard rumors that the flagged accounts will soon be unable to claim a gym or just they’ll be unable to claim the pokecoins. Really really hope for that.

  • Rafe M. Spaulding

    If only niantic would listen to the consumers using/paying for their product and give us what we want they could have a profitable product for years to come. Quit trying so hard to “control” your consumers and sell us what we want to buy. This product was great until you became so greedy and controlling. Speed caps, pokemon caps, no tracker, pokestop caps, curfews, giving all your events to japan!…. punishing the consumer is a great way to fail, and you are failing. A good company has a “servants heart” and serves their consumers, not control.

    • John Malley

      $100 per month? Wow! I’m sure you’ll find something better to do with that money. Good move!

      • Rafe M. Spaulding

        My Fiance’ and I are both lvl 40. In the rush to become 40, it became necessary to max-out our XP during events and normal play… Luring a 24 stop “loop” with lucky eggs, and maxing out incubators allowed us to catch more than 1000 mons per day towards the end… Again, we were hard-core “50-somethings” who needed a social life which Pokemon Go actually provided (Tons of new friends) and got us off our butt from binge watching netflix…. So yes, we were investing a minimum of $20-$40.00 per week EACH in the last couple of months UNTIL they put a cap on the amount you can catch per day which pretty much made lures/insense/incubators useless…. and now that they targeted trackers and maps… I do not feel inclined to hunt around town for rats and pidgies…. So yes, at this point we felt we were not going to invest any more into a game that is not willing to invest in their players and only punish the ones playing the game hard-core.

  • Redgymstinger

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1f0e759e763baf95b2b829f3837c10bd699e2d97b89fa547196351cf31e127f6.jpg

    Debunked, my RM still operates sorry to rain on your misinformed interpretation.

    • meh

      Bruh how is this not upvoted to the top? the thirst for attention from da hub is real

  • Edison Poi

    i need some action toward those teleport guy.. i going to hit 2 gym, but once i take down 1, the teleport guy take it down and keep repeat.. lol

    • Fabulousyo

      the only thing you can do is reporting the player. i guess you can see his name when he defeats your gym and takes it over.

  • Redmi Note 4

    You seriously know how to drive traffic … With false news

  • Fabulousyo

    Hey guys, i hope somebody from pokemongohub will read it. there are again new pokestops in germany.

  • Alex Gillman

    Should just perma ban anyone cheating or botting good riddance

  • PseudoBob

    > Unfortunately, a large portion of the playerbase doesn’t understand that
    bots and spoofers rely heavily on third party trackers to perform
    malicious activities.

    Quit taking us (that portion of the audience who would use trackers at all) for idiots, by the way. We all know very well what the difference is. So does Niantic. Do you honestly think that they can’t tell the difference between an account that hops between geolocations in ways that they shouldn’t be able to, and one that seems to just wander around? Do you honestly think that they can’t tell when an account seems to suddenly appear at a gym, fight it, and put a strong Pokémon in, then disappears, vs an account that only checks what pokemon are in a gym (if even that, seeing as it’s a toggle in most scanners)?

    Yes, dealing with trackers can also in some way deal with the spoofers and botted accounts. But you’re delusional if you think they’re not just targeting both and putting effort into that very goal.