Next Pokemon GO Update finally blocks cheaters

Chris Burns - Sep 27, 2016
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Next Pokemon GO Update finally blocks cheaters

Since the dawn of Pokemon GO, there’ve been hackers making use of their ability to spoof their way through the game. Now, with the release of the next Pokemon GO update, Niantic has finally figured out how to kick out all manner of spoofers, hackers, and general chaos-makers. While a previous update appeared to do this, Niantic’s spread of ousting techniques didn’t quite cover all versions of the game. Now they’ve figured out what works, and they’re rolling out the block.

This isn’t the sort of game where someone wins, and then it’s done. Instead, this is a game which draws in hackers because of its extreme popularity and connectivity between players. If every player lived in their own world, there’d be no attraction to taking advantage of the game’s innards. Because there is a point at which a player can affect the game of another player, hackers come a-calling.

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Niantic’s latest move is to work with the same system that several NFC wireless payment systems do on Android devices. It’s called Safety Net, and it makes certain that the user’s smartphone isn’t rooted.

It’s also become apparent that Niantic’s implementation of Safety Net (now and/or in the very near future) will not be blocked from viewing the device’s modified Android system. This means that any use of CyanogenMod, for example, will not be tolerated.

An anonymous message from a source familiar with the matter suggested that “encryption from versions of the game before 0.37 is different from what’s found above version 0.39. API uses encryption from the lower versions while newer versions rely on new, unbroken encryption.”

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“As of now, any account for any version of the game below 0.39 will see the ‘update’ button in-game and will be unable to do anything but walk (without egg or candy reward) until they update. Any user playing with an automatic system will be flagged as they proceed to move in the game without updating, and a later set of bans will be enforced. Soon.”

Current downloads include the string “minimum_client_version”: “0.39.0”, which means no user will be able to play the game with any lesser version for long.

Developers interested in backwards-engineering the game are still doing so, but it would appear that Niantic has gotten ahead of the curve. With this next update, they’ll have gotten to the point where each time a group finds a new way to circumvent their hacker-blocks, they’ll be able to release another set of anti-measures to fight back, so to speak.

While there are still going to be some users out there so hell-bent on cheating that they’ll be out and about in Pokemon Go forever, those that play legit according to Niantic’s Terms of Use can rejoice. We’ve entered the age of legitimacy, at last.


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