Lack of timely response to spoofing in CT-USA

Hey all,

Just wanted to dump a post here, as this was suggested by someone at the IUENG Telegram channel. Tagging @NianticCasey as instructed.

Timeline of events:

1/9 @ 11pm: Low level agent who is covered by a field spoofs to an anchor on hiking trails at 11pm. Location is in the middle of the woods, with the only entrances gated off 1/2 mile away from the entrance to the entrance to the trails. Agent performs impossible travel between portals inside the area (made it ~300 meters between two portals on separate properties, in pitch black, up a 60 foot rock cliff face, across the next property over, to another portal in two minutes. Report sent to Niantic with supporting evidence of impossible travel times.

1/10 @ 10:42am: "Francisco" produces generic "We’re writing to confirm that we have carefully reviewed your report and have taken action where appropriate."

Spoofer has not been banned. Agent is level 5, so defending portals is possible

1/10 @ 3:30pm: Agent starts attacking portal on trails in question. I'm nearby so I recharge and go out to the location. Nobody is on the hiking trail, I stay to get keys to portal in question.

1/10 @ 4:02pm, While on the portal in the middle of the woods, the agent starts attacking again. I recharge, then start recording video of all the area around me. Nobody is out there but me, no sounds were made, it's impossible to traverse the woods as there are thorn bushes thick throughout the area, the only way to get there are the hiking paths. Also, this is a level 5 agent at this point, they would have had to be on top of the portal to even be registering damage to it.

1/10 @ 6:14PM: Agent takes down portal successfully. Museum trails are closed at dark and gates are closed at 5:30pm. Once again, agent travels between portals in the area at impossible speeds. Total MU lost from drop of anchor: ~4,500,000 MU. Agent is now level 6 from AP gains of taking the anchor.

Report goes in to Niantic. Video evidence from earlier in the day, with a screenshot of the video timestamp submit to Niantic. I've shared this with my teammates, the leads for our faction in the state have started putting in tickets as well.

1/11 @ 9:00AM: I recaptured the portal in question earlier in the morning around 8am. I stay and farm out keys. While in the parking lot for the trails, the agent starts attacking it again. Nobody has passed me on the trails or the parking lot.

1/[email protected] 9:42PMGiven the lack of response needed, I reach out to the IUENG community and learn about the Trusted Reporter system. I create a ticket with "IngressEnlTRBot" with all evidence I have given Niantic, plus the new event which occurred today.

1/11 @ 10:17AM: Receive another "We’re writing to confirm that we have carefully reviewed your report and have taken action where appropriate." generic E-mail from "Francisco". The agent in question is still not banned. By this point, accounts from both factions who aren't known have created derp links to stop any chance of rebuilding the large fields off of our anchor.

1/11 @ 10:32AM: The Trusted Reporter system bot confirms my ticket has been reviewed, and they have escalated this issue to Niantic for review/action.

1/11 @ 11:58AM: The Trusted Reporter system bot confirms that Niantic has "reviewed the ticket and taken actions where appropriate"

The agent is still not banned.

1/16 @ 9:00AM: Spoofer is attacking the hiking trail portal again. At least it's during times we would expect, but why they're not already banned, I have no idea.

1/16 @ 6:42PM: Spoofer is attacking the portal again, after hours, in the dark, again, in a closed area, again. I send a message and evidence to the Trusted Reporter bot hoping this will reopen the ticket I just had with them. I also create another ticket to Niantic as well at this time.

I never receive a response back from the Trusted Reporter with the new evidence.

1/18 @ 9:18AM: Receive my third "We’re writing to confirm that we have carefully reviewed your report and have taken action where appropriate." E-mail from Francisco.

Agent is still not banned

1/18 @ 1:33PM: AGENT HAS ESCALATED SPOOFING FROM TRAIL PORTAL TO NEW PORTAL, OUR SOUTHERN ANCHOR FOR FIELDS WHICH IS A LIGHTHOUSE MORE THAN 3 MILES OFF THE COAST

Lighthouse portal taken down. Spoofer starts throwing links to their normal play areas and anywhere they have spoofed previously.

They magically travel back on-shore and then halfway into the state, by 1:54PM. 21 Minutes...

This isn't physically possible, especially given the travel over the water. At this point everyone in the state is putting in tickets.

1/18 @ 1:42PM: I submit yet again, another ticket to Niantic directly.

1/18 @ 2:26pm: I send new evidence of spoofing to the Trusted Reporter Bot. I comment that the system has failed. I receive the response back @ 3:15PM:

"The Trusted Reporters did exactly what the program is intended to do: escalate incidents of suspected spoofing to NIA Ops for review. If you suspect spoofing, please fill out the form and send the required information to the bot so Trusted Reporters can review and respond."

Great. Good program. We're at over a week of spoofing with no actions taken and the spoofer has escalated their targeting.

1/18 @ 4:47PM: I receive my fourth "We’re writing to confirm that we have carefully reviewed your report and have taken action where appropriate." response from Francisco.

1/18 @ 7:00PM: I create a new, second ticket with the Trusted Reporter bot. I receive no confirmation a ticket has been created.

At this point, I confirm that our team leads in the state are indeed in contact with folks in the Trusted Reporter / Vanguard programs. Niantic still has taken no action.

1/18 @ 10:30PM: The spoofer has started linking FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE, to portals in other areas of the state again. Connecticut is currently in the middle of a major storm in the area. This is the spoofer's second visit to the lighthouse today. This time, it's currently dark at 10:30 in the middle of the night, and we're supposed to believe he's on his second trip to the lighthouse in the same day?

Niantic's automated detection system isn't picking anything up, it has become very clear at this point.

Basic tickets to Niantic support are being automatically closed, with no review.

The Trusted Reporter system being able to get Niantic to take action is broken. It's clear they are just auto-closing tickets from the TR system as well.


Today is 1/21/2020. The spoofer's account is still actively playing. They're closing in on level 8 now, when they started causing issues they were level 5.

This has been going on for close to two weeks now. The spoofing to lighthouses has been going on for four days now.


As of this morning, the Connecticut Enlightened have decided to ADA any and all major standing fields within the state, as it's clear there is nobody at the helm of Niantic. The departure of long-standing managers within a team after organizational/financial changes in a company prove to be good indicators of the health of said company. We can only assume with the loss of RedSoloCup, that things have shifted to drastically cutting manpower in support and/or development of anti-cheating software.

I joined Ingress in the summer of 2018 and finally reached level 16 and recursed this past weekend. I've been able to experience two anomalies on the ground, a handful in recharge rooms, and I've also been to multiple First Saturday events. I've also participated in, and also planned multiple operations. To me, the draw of Ingress over playing another game is how much effort and teamwork it takes to accomplish cool things. Moreover, this game is more about the meetups and stories to be told at them, usually while having beers and hacking/exchanging gear at a local restaurant/bar. The removal of anomalies worldwide and replacement with Hexathalons really destroys the teamplay, planning, and downtime while on the ground (which are used to barhop/foodhop while exploring the city). Moreover, Niantic hasn't really given agents a reason to keep playing and meeting up regularly once they've gotten to the highest level of play. Despite that, we've held on with the hope that things are going to improve and get better. We've suffered through the release of Prime and as long as you have a high-end phone, it's very playable and even faster than Redacted. Sadly, having a high-end phone isn't something everyone we play with has... and as such, they have retired.

I can't speak for the OG agents who have been playing for much longer than I have. I can only tell you that from the stories I hear, I've grown up in what seems to be the "Ingress Lite" phase of the game. I don't believe this spoofing incident alone has caused the reaction from our team here in Connecticut, but it definitely has proven to us that Niantic as a company, has really abandoned the game. As such, we seem to be moving into a semi-retired mode. Why bother investing in a product which can't be bothered to invest back.

@NianticCasey I'm sorry for the wall of text that this is, but the lack of any appreciable action has really boiled over at this point. This is my last communication to Niantic regarding the incidents going on in the state and I hope others will chime in with constructive feedback. I will at some point create another post focusing on the economics of the game and how I feel that's hurting our numbers but for now, this thread is meant to address the lack of support in combating active spoofing.

Agent KonnTower (Recursed, Level 6)

Comments

  • to addon, spoofer has been playing all day in their hometown, as late as 8PM EST. So we know they're not banned.

  • It truly sucks that good players are leaving the game due to the amount of uncontrolled Ingress spoofing lately, I had hoped prime was going to get this under control

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭

    It's your time, it's you who decide how to waste it.

    😉

  • mortuusmortuus ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 22

    so spoofers win yet again.. i understand why so many players quit this game... I thought before redacted died that prime would have better anti-cheat detection systems ? guess not...


    We need someone like Krug for this kind of issues to highlight how much spoofers destroy for all legit players.

  • I have yet to meet KONNTOWER but have been admiring his hard work and diligence with fielding and playing and now that I've read this, his even harder job trying to keep this game honest and real. I've been playing since the beginning and seen the changes in the game, mostly not so good. Ive seen so many good agents on both teams leave because Niantic no longer cares about all the hard working agents, who actually aided heavenly in setting up Pogo and HP for the company. It's very sad and disappointing to have spent all this effort to be forgotten. I do not begrudge my time spent because of all the places and new friends I have made playing but the end does seem to be near? Thanks Niantic

  • EvilSuperHerosEvilSuperHeros ✭✭✭✭

    To my knowledge, until they switch over to the new backend it won't. But if it's the same type that Pokemon Go uses, then it won't matter much sadly.


    @NianticBrian do you happen to have any encouraging words for agents who just read that wall of text above? Anything new in the pipes that will help combat these types of ongoing issues that cause agents to quit playing the game? Any way we can have support be more helpful in these situations?

  • MidnyteFMMidnyteFM ✭✭✭

    @konntower reading this was incredibly stressful and mirrors my experience with reporting spoofers too. Sorry this is happening, and hopefully you get some kind of resolution.

  • AzhreiaAzhreia ✭✭✭✭✭

    I had a look at the reset for that portal. Resets can only be logged once the account is banned. You mentioned it was banned on the 23rd. The reset was logged then, but you guys went out 2 days later to recapture. Resets were run yesterday morning,

    The reason this particular portal wasn't reset is purely because agents recaptured it. It was logged for reset from blue to green, and since it was already green by the time resets were run, it was skipped. This is to prevent the reset from undoing the actions of legit agents if they occurred on a portal scheduled for reset.

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭

    Total of 6 tickets and 14 days time lapse response. Noted.

    Thank you very much for sharing your personal experience, @konntower , and I would like to invite you to discover and try some of the sub-games that Ingress can provide.

    Ever tried AoD?

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    14 days and a portal that can be directly recaptured.

    That's a story that's far better than it used to be. Still sucks, but it's better than 3 months of arguing for a ban and no reversions.

  • It sucks that you had to write here to be able to be listened. The spoofer should be banned when the first report was made. Whats the point of having the report tool if a bot is gonna close the ticket? The telegram bot should helped too. NIA did not ban him until you write here. We have reported several spoofer from my town and nobody was banned. Next time will make a forum post, looks its better.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 29

    NIA did not ban him until you write here. 

    Or NIA Ops was doing its own investigation that took longer and coincided with a few days after this post. Correlation is not causation.

  • "1/18 @ 1:33PM: AGENT HAS ESCALATED SPOOFING FROM TRAIL PORTAL TO NEW PORTAL, OUR SOUTHERN ANCHOR FOR FIELDS WHICH IS A LIGHTHOUSE MORE THAN 3 MILES OFF THE COAST"


    How is this even a portal? No pedestrian access at all.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 30

     No pedestrian access at all.

    Pedestrian access doesn't mean you can walk from your home. It means you can stand next to it. Ever heard of a lighthouse on an island? They have plenty of pedestrian access once you take the boat to the island.

    Otherwise, every single portal in Europe, Australia, Greenland etc has "no pedestrian access" because I can't walk to it from my home.

    Hawaii is "2551 miles off the coast" of North America. It has pedestrian access.

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