Niantic officials have confirmed (via reddit) that the new anti bot security tool has been activated on their end:

“We’re committed to maintaining the state of Pokémon GO and our community of Trainers. People who violate the Pokémon GO Terms of Service (including by using third party software and other cheats) may have their gameplay affected and may not be able to see all the Pokémon around them.

While we cannot discuss the systems implemented, we can confirm that we are constantly refining new ways to ensure the integrity of the game in order to keep it fun and fair for all Trainers.”

The key takeaways are as follows:

  • Niantic is fighting against bots actively and constantly, despite player’s perception
  • Third party apps that violate Terms of Service are also targeted (trackers, etc)
  • Although they are not allowed to announce new security measures, they are being deployed in the background

We already published news on the effect of the recent “rare blinding” security update. For those who haven’t read it, a new security measure implemented by Niantic targets bot accounts and blinds them from seeing rare Pokémon in the wild.

Multiple sources have verified this and assembled a list of common and rare Pokémon that are affected by this change:

Can be seen by banned accounts:

Pidgey, Rattata, Ekans, Sandshrew, Nidoran, Zubat, Oddish, Paras, Meowth, Psyduck, Poliwag, Bellsprout, Tentacool, Geodude, Magnemite, Krabby, Goldeen, Staryu, Magikarp, Sentret, Ledyba, Spinarak, Natu, Marill, Hoppip, Sunkern, Wooper, Murkrow, Snubbull, Slugma

Cannot be seen by banned accounts:

Evolved Pokemon, Starters, Caterpie, Weedle, Spearow, Clefairy, Vulpix, Jigglypuff, Venonat, Mankey, Growlithe, Abra, Slowpoke, Gastly, Onix, Drowzee, Voltorb, Koffing, Chansey, Tangela, Horsea, Scyther, Lapras, Eevee, Porygon, Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Snorlax, Dratini, Hoothoot, Chinchou, Mareep, Sudowoodo, Aipom, Unown, Girafarig, Shuckle, Sneasel, Teddiursa, Remoraid, Stantler, Larvitar

Unsure (probably cannot be seen):

Regionals, Diglett, Doduo, Seel, Grimer, Shellder, Exeggcute, Cubone, Hitmonlee, Hitmonchan, Lickitung, Jynx, Electabuzz, Magmar, Pinsir, Yanma, Wobbuffet, Pineco, Dunsparce, Swinub, Mantine, Skarmory, Houndour, Phanpy, Hitmontop, Miltank

Unsure (conflicting reports):

Ponyta, Rhyhorn

In addition to this, Niantic has implemented in-game store blinding also, disabling bot accounts the option to buy any items in the store!

In conclusion, it’s nice to see that Niantic is actively committed to improving the state of the game and the community around it.

  • ダーク マウジー

    they should blind majikarp too because it can evolve to gyarados.

  • Fernado Cabral

    Jynx is true, don’t see

  • Jose Cintron

    Not sure how, but I got caught in this damn thing. The only thing that I have ever used is 3rd party IV checkers. But I am not a 100% sure that the statement “In addition to this, Niantic has implemented in-game store blinding also, disabling bot accounts the option to buy any items in the store!” is true. Yesterday I was able to buy incubators, so it could be that I am in some different tier than bots. In any case this blows. I missed the last 3 days of the rock event. Hopefully I will be re-instated soon.

    • Konsekvent

      We are in the same boat. But i have never spoofed or used any gps-app. But i have used iv calculator. I now hope to see if this is a permanent ban or if we can get our account fully operational in the future. If not i cant continue playing since it is totallt pointless. I have never got warned before either…

      • Jose Cintron

        I submitted a ban appeal to Niantic and I keep getting the same response from them…

        “In general, we aren’t able to comment on our anti-cheat systems. As such, we are not able to confirm or deny when actions have taken place. As long as you’re abiding by the Pokémon GO Terms of Service and the Pokémon GO Trainer guidelines, there should not be any reason for concern.”

        My reply keeps being something along the lines of…

        “I know you cannot talk about what you guys are doing to prevent abuse, but is there a process to request that an account that has been, erroneously (at least in my view) marked or “banned” as a bot/abuser/whatever be revised and probably re-instated to good standing?”

        I guess I can always create a new account start from scratch (this will suck as my account is currently at level 33 and getting there again is going to be a heck of lot more difficult now that I don’t travel as much for work) and when they enable trading find a way to transfer my little critters to the new account.

  • EXEMOK

    What about fighting against gps cheaters? They are the main problem. In any case in my region.

  • reygie reyes

    Yes! This is good news indeed.

    • Josh Hack

      It would be good news if it wasn’t affecting those who haven’t used 3rd party apps as well. I will openly say that I have spoofed before and it hasn’t ever affected me, but it has affected many others.

  • RobertVS

    Too little too late. In my home town, 90% of gym battles are spoofed. Well organized spoofers take down and keep gyms using area control tactics, and having filed well-structured trainer reports with proof for 6 months I am convinced Niantic is doing nothing to ban these accounts.

    BAN anyone spoofing, zero tolerance. That’s the only thing that’s going to bring back the gaming experience it once was. Hiding rares isn’t really helpful against a level 35-40 spoofer who by now already has about 30+ pokemons powered up beyond cp3000.

    • VanPelt

      This is a start but I agree it’s s very small step. These accounts are already established and should be permabanned, not soft banned. Anyone who has been spoofing has an unfair advantage over people playing the game fairly, especially the accounts with multiple blisseys. I can sympathize with the spoofer problem because it’s the same in my area. They banned the spoofers from my team but left the other teams alone and the spoofers won’t let you keep a gym for more than an hour and they take it back in off hours of the night which should be a number one clue in they’re spoofing.

      • Jose Cintron

        Taking gyms at odd hours is not really a sign of spoofing. I do it all the time. I am within driving distance to 15 gyms and I have been known to drive to a bunch of them at 2:00 am take them over and when I wake up just collect the coins.

        • VanPelt

          I would agree with you if it was only one person but the gyms in my area are all on private property and if one gets taken over, it’s immediately prestiged to level 10. I can believe one person taking it over but not 10 people all at once late at night. That would involve at least two cars full of people at least hanging out on private property. My town has barely any crime and the cops are bored and would be on anybody trespassing in two seconds.

  • Kliktu

    If Niantic could also make it so that those bots also could not obtain items from Pokestops, then the spoofers who use bots to gather items to take down gyms would REALLY feel the pain!!!

  • Spencer Wixom

    Bots and trackers don’t bother me anywhere near as much as spoofers. They haven’t seemed how to limit them which are the biggest problem IMO

  • Akash Sahu

    It’s funny that niantic states that “we can confirm that we are constantly refining new ways to ensure the integrity of the game in order to keep it fun and fair for all Trainers”.what about the area where there are no pokestops or gyms in within 75 mile radius but they state to keep it fair to all trainers

    • Dime

      Maybe once people quit behaving like entitled little a-holes and stop violating darn near every line of the TOS Niantic can focus on fleshing out the density of PokéStops and gyms. ?

    • Alexander Hessler

      I agree fully. I happen live in a village of 600 people, the in-game tracking system is absolutely trash here, I can only see Pidgeys, Rattatas, and maybe an Eevee at the only Pokéstop here. I do live near a moderate-sized town, so I’m lucky in that sense, but I know what it is like to be a rural player. That’s why I get so pissed when urban players accuse rural ones of cheating when using trackers, even though it really only evens out the odds a little.

    • Pika Lee

      Wow. That sux. Do you live in America?

  • Wisnu Iswanto

    How about make this game more enjoyful? How to make the pokemon come easier to find.. not just spread in the big city..

  • Lucas Araujo

    my account is flagged and show Ponyta in Pokestop…

  • Alexandre Alves

    This is permanent? I was banned, i think because of my iv calculator app. :'(

  • Dr.NanOcOrtex

    Day 354 still banned and niantic says all its ok… no changes… we dont know how much time we can resist…

  • Cody N. Reed

    I happen to know that when they catch a modder they set them to lvl 1

  • Andy L

    This is complete BS. I am a totally honest player who has never used a tracker app or any other kind cheating measure and I still got a ban. I want every cent I’ve spent on this game back. See you in court Niantic.

    • KezzaKrunch

      Same has happened to me, if they do it to my kids I’ll be furious!!!

  • hkmaly

    …. sooo, is the in-game store blinding the reason why it takes ~10 minutes after starting the app before the store is available? Like, they need to verify I’m not using bot account first?

  • Rui Pedro Roxo

    I´m a legit boter 100%, and those setings from Niantic dn´t make bot progress slow down

  • KezzaKrunch

    I have one legitimate account and have been shadow banned, does this mean someone has used my account? Or is it my poor gps reception that migh trigger something? I have never spoofed whatever is involved in that, and I know what bot do but no idea how they work and have no interest in knowing. I have walked so many km for this game and found ever Pokémonon honestly. This has been a big disappointment.
    Watch out everyone this obviously can happen to anyone!