The Bad Actor - Darkness Returns
Where I once ranted on Google+ every few months, my new medium is now this forum where my story continues. This time discussing the bad actors once again. With the shutdown of the TR program, my only avenue for actual results with reporting accounts was closed.
I want to believe Niantic and others when they say TRs were nothing but putting tickets on top of the list for support to process faster, but I have a list that is more than I want to admit where things would go as follows:
1) I report an account, as a regular agent including all the suggested information.
2) Ticket takes 18-36 hours for response. Account still alive.
3) Another anchor taken, left white pointing to obvious spoofing.
4) A TR is contacted, ticket open and account banned in under a few hours.
This became the norm, and I'm really sad that it is. I really dislike having to bother other agents just to get a chance to take a malicious actor off the board. So now I want to discuss a story, which to my knowledge as of writing this post isn't even over.
This story begins with an operation where time, money and more was spent to build a field. That field was successful and each anchor special in its own way. One morning it is discovered overnight that an anchor was killed and reclaimed. Due to timing of this, it seems eerily suspect. This agent is unknown to the area and the profile just looks suspicious. A ticket is opened and before the ticket is even closed - it strikes again. This time jumping across the states to another very special portal.
At this point - it is obvious. This account is not piloted in person and instead engaging in spoofing. The ticket closes and the account is still alive, gaining AP and destruction under its belt. We reach out and plead to those willing to listen - a few helpful hands jump in eager to help get this account taken down. They try, a valiant effort, but unfortunately the only keys to this solution lie with Niantic.
Another day passes and the account levels up, but it has left our sphere of destruction. However, a regional chat posts a screenshot of a suspect account killing anchors in another state. Behold, our same suspect account once again striking. This leads to an idea - who else knows about this account?
A worldwide chat begins discussing it - people speaking up with Intel links. The account has been in Australia, China and even South America. Other American cities speak up, this account has hit even their most secure no-signal portals! People begin piecing the path of destruction together.
The jumps are insane, jumping continent to continent with one purpose in mind - pure destruction. So we have a picture of the path traveled from just agent’s knowledge. This picture may be incomplete, but even incomplete paints a disgusting photo. It doesn’t matter the location or the color. This account is coming to **** your stuff.
I wake up on day 4 since recognizing this account, with now community contributed knowledge placing this account’s initial spoof on Sept 25 in Japan. This is insane. We are talking weeks of destruction now - not days. This reminds me of Ingress in the first two years, where accounts stayed alive for months.
The story continues - the account and destruction remain alive as of this post time.
This leads me to wonder - we have beta builds of Android causing false bans in a nearly instant automated fashion. This is an old scanner so excusable, but this proves to me that the technology exists to do automated banning. I however, only have knowledge of the bans that happen after destruction has occurred on the map. Has Niantic banned thousands before they’ve stepped foot on the map? Only they can answer that.
I just sit here mainly upset, what more do you need Niantic Support? What information do you have at your disposal? How can accounts jump continent to continent, ripping down portals without triggering anything automated? Yet locals can take a 1hr boat trip to an island, yet get stuck with cryptic errors preventing portal flips and long links.
You obviously have protections in place, because legitimate agents hit them! We sit there on operations that are down to the minute, restarting phones and panicking as flip cards won’t work and long links don’t go out. Are we the victim to an automated system?
Recently we had an agent on a cruise, going port to port with his wife. For some reason they reached a port and only one of their phones worked deploying. They restarted. They waited. They glyph-hacked. They opened a ticket with support - which finally worked - both agents could now play. Was this an automated detection block?
I get so sad hearing legitimate agents blocked by systems meant to protect them - then agents that obviously go over the sand line spoofing everything seem unaffected. I want these systems to work, but are they? When grandma's and children get banned for being classified as multi accounts and legitimate agents are blocked for unknown reasons, but malicious actors run wild - I don’t know what to do.
Thanks for listening.
The initial ticket for above story for investigation NIA: #4541363