The future of Pokemon GO: no more GPS spoofing?
Author: Lenaj, Cybersnake - 12th Apr 2017 08:39 pm GMT
Since the moment when Pokemon Go was released, cheaters started their acivity. Players use different programs like GPS spoofers or bots that allow them to level up or find rare pokemon at a tenfold rate compared to the «clean» players. According to an online poll, anywhere from 20% to 25% of Pokémon GO players use GPS spoofing programs.
There are two types of the swindlers: bots and spoofers. Both use programs that modify player location coordinates, subsequently, the players can «jump» or «fly» anywhere in the world in the matter of seconds. The difference between bots and spoofers is that the «bot» is a piece software that is automated to do different things like: pokemon catching, egg hatching, pokestop spinning, but they don’t usually capture gyms and their activity is not evident for other players.
Spoofers on the other hand are a little more troublesome, a spoofer is a player that can alter it's ingame location with an app like «Fake Gps», this opens the possibility to play Pokemon Go from the comfort of your couch. These players don’t hesitate to battle gyms, even worse, make a person's gym hunting effort of 3 hours look like a child's game, when they can recapture the same gyms in less than 15 minutes.
Every day Niantic receives hundreds of letters where gamers ask them to prevent the fraud. This struggle though, is a prolonged one, since we can personally feel the impact of bots and spoofers every day. Perhaps it's not that easy to find and ban cheaters?
Today though, we can see a ray of hope and seems like people’s pleadings where heard. According to different sources, after latest Android and Niantic updates, spoofing became more difficult. The Android 7.1 update made GPS spoofing apps impossible to «hide» from the system and subsequently from Pokemon Go, this made spoofing impossible for this Android version. There are rumors that the 7.1 changes could go further down to the lower Android versions, the bottomline being 6.0.1. However players can ignore the new Android update or better yet jailbreak their phone and spoof further. Though we hope that Niantic will be watching over this and make the needed changes, to further improve game experience.
It's not clear if Niantic made any changes from their side to prevent spoofing, but we do know that there was a forced game update and with that, a new game API. This means that bots and spoofer programs became obsolete and need updating, we also found out that another ban wave is in progress starting from April 11. This is why bots and cheaters are laying low at the moment, even we could keep 5 Pokegyms for more than a week, this is incredible, it's a new experience for us and we like it a lot, keep up the good work Niantic!
This is what other Pokemon Go players write about new changes on reddit.com:
OneLastSpock: “There is a local spoofing facebook group, and currently they are (almost) all complaining about how they can't "fly" for Pokemon GO currently. It seems that the most recent forced update for iOS made it so that their spoofing app cannot work, and the Android update that works to stop GPS spoofing has started rolling out and locking out those players. So good job, Niantic and Google, it's good to see them upset for once; just don't let your efforts stop here.”
FPShinobi: “Better than nothing. But Android updates are voluntary so most spoofers would just continue spoofing.”
It is clear that the struggle against spoofers has only started as there are still many mobile versions that spoofers can use and it should also be understood that spoofing programs contiue to be developed, that is why Niantic should always be one step ahead.
Recently Ninatic have opened a new official Twitter chanel dedicated to bug reports, help inquiries and providing general technical support. Seems like we could get more information from Niantic about the “spoofer battles” from this channel.
Remember that spoofing or botting is against the «Term of Service», this means that eventually your account will get banned if you are using unfair playing methods. We hope that in the future, all Pokemon Go players play on equal ground and the game is enjoyable for everyone.
Keep safe, keep warm, and keep playing.