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.