Niantic - GPS Spoofing Increase.

SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭
edited July 27 in General

First off, I am not a founder, however I have been active in Ingress for many years. I am a Resistance agent.

(West Australia/Indian Ocean area active).

In the last four weeks or so, we are seeing a large increase in the number of serious GPS abuse actions.

We had a large Enl field spoofed down before all layers could be completed. This cost the players a lot of time and money, including airfare to get to offshore island, ferries, accommodation etc. Several of Enl agents were enraged- and I don't blame them. This lead to much improving xfac relations, disintegrating again.

Next, we had lines set up for Resistance, which involved a few days driving, only to have a spoofer complete the fields for them.

Next, the large Enl fields over India, were enabled by spoofing down of hard Res blockers. These are global score altering fields.

Trawling over Intel for evidence of impacted portals, all sorts of agent names started becoming apparent. (We keep a close eye on the area, it's sparsely populated, and generally, we all know who is who.

So @NianticBrian @NianticCasey We- the players, end up spending a ton of time and money putting fields up, then even more time doing detective work, preparing reports, getting reports knocked back, resubmitting reports, then asking for resets. It's a lot of work.

Yes- we can get resets now, this is good, but still a lot of time and effort and coordinating between factions. Often when one faction is rather angry. Often with incomplete data. We now have screenshot only chats for the purpose of storing legit deploy data, periodic intel screenshots for link recording, hell whole operations just for tracking cheated down portals and links.

We should not be having to do this.

Yes, this has been going on for years.

It's about time Niantic put SERIOUS EFFORT into anti spoofing and multi accounting.

I work for a software developer and we make heavy use of machine learning. Spoof accounts should be a piece of cake for machine learning to detect. Yes you will get false positives. Given very few players will risk their main account spoofing, it should not be many. Same goes for backpacks and multi accounts.

See an account that never does intel appearing actions? Drops and picks up gear all the time? Only hacks?

Stop allowing multiple accounts on one phone. Yes there is a tiny percentage of players who require one for family members, again, a tiny minority. You are at risk of losing even more players, including newer players who are giving large fields a go for the first time, only to have their fun ruined by some keyboard jockey.

Put limits on the amount of actions one can take before showing on intel. (Deploy/fire before hack add new action on login?)

When a capsule is dropped, put it on comms. "Blah dropped a capsule" Put a 10-15 min time delay on if you have to. Don't put the location.

Yes, a portion of the player base will ****, but this, but that, but anything. I think the end benefits, to the majority of the player base, will be much appreciated.

Please do something.



  • NikaKorNikaKor ✭✭✭

    I agree. In this situation, it is much easier to apologize and unban several dozen people than to deal with each new account, of which there are hundreds and thousands.

  • EvilSuperHerosEvilSuperHeros ✭✭✭✭

    Good ideas minus putting dropped capsules into comms notes. That's going to suck for those who drop keys for others to throw fields, or are dropping gear for other agents in general. If this becomes a thing, it's just going to spam up comms and annoy agents who are trying to pass keys/gears without notifying others.

    Example, I dropped a few capsules for a newer agent yesterday to throw some fields (keys separated into multiple capsules) plus extra quantum capsules so he would have some. I would of shown up in comms at least 5x for dropping capsules.

    Wonder how many people would just start randomly dropping and picking up capsules for the heck of it?

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭

    Yeah- stores are back with comms spam, bots everywhere and spoofing exploding again.

    Niantic- you must have a huge repository of data to feed a machine learning engine. Use it.

  • GrogyanGrogyan ✭✭✭✭

    TFLA is something Niantic aren't even looking into, instead using classic heuristic methods

    Spoofing doesn't just cost players personal money when things are spoofed, but it affects Niantic's bottom line too, which directly impacts the game as a whole.

    Any TFLA has to work with their NRWP, across all 4 games, and all upcoming games and products.

    Many of us players have even offered free consultation on better methods for detecting spoofing. All met with silence.

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭

    Mediterranean Sea has also a lot of spoofing activity.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭

    Yeah- stores are back with comms spam, bots everywhere and spoofing exploding again.

    Niantic- you must have a huge repository of data to feed a machine learning engine. Use it.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭

    Happy to live with comms spam if it helps stop cheating or add a new chat channel for this in game.

    The comment re dropping keys for someone, that's why i suggested a delay.

    Niantic, you have had many years to take action on this.

  • aaronviannoaaronvianno ✭✭✭

    Add the whole of India to that complaint.

    The biggest problem is that Niantic is not taking action against the owners of the accounts and the ones who are taking advantage of these spoofed actions.

    Spoofers simply know now that they can make gigantic fields with their main accounts after spoof setting up everything else with another ID, and nothing will happen to them.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭

    Yes I notice with India that the Enl are publicly patting each other on the back for a job well done.

    And doubled their global score.... @NianticBrian

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭

    The situation you just described applies to several other places, perhaps not as big as India, but the same pattern nevertheless.

  • GreenVamGreenVam ✭✭✭✭

    I'll just leave it here. Not for advertising purposes, of course. Maybe someone from Nia suddenly wants to know how deep the rabbit hole is.

  • TunkelTunkel ✭✭
    edited July 31

    Yes, spoofer and multiaccounts are easy to detect, even without machine learning. Its all about data management and statistics. You also privided some ideas. Do you think that it isn't crystal clear to Niantic what they should do to prevent it? Do you think we are the only humans with at least half of a brain seeing all the opportunities to stop cheating? Do you think Nia needs our brainstorming to do something?

    I tell you what... They know. They just give a ****. And this brings me to the point that something is going on. Either they change the game concept at all to allow spoofing like actions (like my idea of a browsergame). Or they want us to spoof to ruin the game. To finally shutdown the servers.

    Whatever it is, spoofing seems to be a crime withyout any consequnces.

  • Wallflower14Wallflower14 ✭✭✭

    I never thought in that point. But make huge sense.

    I think all spoofers now it's more free working players for their Wayfarer, because a LOT of new profiles spoofs and when achieved L10, they stopped and created new accounts to achieve L10 to review their own fake POIs, and then Niantic will have thousands of millions POIs to create more games that people don't give a damn about it, like in Pokemon Go, more important is having a POI than having a valid one.

    I saw one fake player that have 3 accounts L10. Imagine how many new fake players that person encouraged to spoof too!

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭

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