I've used all of them lately, contact with VG has been the fastest option, fast-track forms also work well. The only current problem has been the immense delay in banning a spoofer, quite different from the start of the fast-track program.
Full portals, recreated links, removal of fake fields, removal of fake items and resos. daily 7 days a week
I usually do this several times a day, trying to help many and many cells as much as possible.
I usually find it difficult to recreate when, for example: a BAF is neutralized by a spoofer and a legitimate account makes a minimum block (coincidence or not) this micro block that was only possible with the BAF's neutralization by a spoofer, is not removed in most times. I've had a few cases where the lock cannot be undone.
Here is the main problem with admission I believe. The suggested word is "speed". the faster a spoofer is eliminated, the more chances we have of discouraging the faker (it happens). and I'm not talking about delay for someone to create a report, we have numerous players who do this every day around the world. But yes the response speed, currently around 2-3 days, that's more than enough time for a spoofer to do damage that will never be redone. "Speed" is the key to continued success.
We have great and fabulous VGs and also many "ordinary" agents committed to honestly and anonymously helping the entire ingress community, they are people who donate hours anonymously for a passion that is the game and the community. but NIA OPS needs to let them be helped, without at least speed in the treatment of reports, much of our work of several and several hours a day, is extremely hampered. And yes, there are demotivating days when watching a spoofer acting freely while waiting 2 or 3 days for a report to close.
Suggested improvements 1? Speed! Expand at least the team of agents able to produce reports at fast-track speed. Treating spoofer quickly is what every community dreams of, wants and hopes for it to happen as soon as possible.
Suggested improvements 2? Increase the team responsible for resets, in addition to some marketing campaign, many agents do not even know where or how it can be done.
NIA-OPS don't let the reset program die. That would be a complete disaster for the entire community. total disaster imagine that a field; for example, based in Antarctica, or on the top of a mountain or an island, or extremely difficult places would only be recreated after a lot of effort by some legitimate agent to be destroyed again in minutes by another spoofer, that would be the end, cause only fear to imagine this scenario.
Everything. First I created a report on Support ticket, then I submitted a fast-track form and thankfully a Vanguard reached out to me.
I requested for restoring the portal to its prior state before the spoofing. There was some cross links to kept the other fraction at bay.
I had only done once.
Those request were fulfilled very quickly. The spoofer were banned and link field were restored to the original state.
Spoofing makes the game less competitive. We put our heart & soul in this game, reach and capture remote portal to create a anchor portal. But in a instant that anchor portal gets destroyed by a spoofer. Which is a frustrated feeling for that person who captured it. In my case I was really angry about it. I even tried to defend the portal for half an hour by recharging the resonators. Before submitting a report, I wasn't that hopeful about it. Because I tried reporting many times before the fast-track form and contact VG was introduced. But when the vanguard reached out and banned that spoofer and restored that portal it was a joyful moment for me. Well the restoring did take a while, and thankfully there wasn't any cross link created by other agents. Only downside of reporting is that, it only works for remote portal. Still I haven't seen any regular spoofer get banned in my area.
I would like to thank @Azhreia for helping out for that day, it meant a lot for our community.
I've spent so much time and energy reporting spoofing incidents — from the original dark days when support didn't respond at all to tickets, to the first version of the Trusted Reports program, to the second version of the Trusted Reporters program (the bot), to the current Fast Track form — that, in crude terms, I've just run out of 💩s to give. Filing reports weekly, monthly… it just… drained my soul. It was all time and effort that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
So, I admire and give credit to the Vanguards for their fortitude and character in continuing to push on this.
Right then. The last time I filed a Fast Track ticket myself was for an incident from June 2020. This is one that @Azhreia helped with, and the remainder of this comment is going to be the epilogue I should have shared with her back then but never did manage to get around to.
For scale, the large green fields here span maybe 200km east-west and 125km north-south. They were the work of three throwaway spoof accounts over the course of 12-24 hours. The baseline for the layers involves what might be the only two portals in the area worthy of a reset going by the vague published criteria.
Fast Track tickets were filed. Accounts were banned, after many hours, and not before inflicting a fair bit of damage to the game board.
The other fellow filing tickets for this incident was the one to coordinate the removal of the spoofer's handiwork, wherein the aforementioned "damage" becomes clear(er).
It would have been nice to get some previously blue portals and links in the rural areas restored to their previous states, but no one could recall all the details, and an afternoon's drive was enough, if anyone cared.
If the spoofing lowered the morale of the RES here, then this reset raised it to higher than when it all started. Under the ever present possibility of spoofing, Agents will continue to play and not rage quit so long as they feel that Niantic has their back. They will report incidents through the appropriate channels, and they will show some measure of patience so long as they feel that Niantic will eventually make things right.
The other thing? This might actually have been the last obvious or noteworthy spoofing incident in this area. After the reset, the troll responsible for the spoofing and their co-conspirator proverbially ran home with their tails between their legs, not to be seen for some months. It doesn't pay to be a troll if your target doesn't actually have to jump through your obnoxious hoops to "fix" things.
That's the impact a reset can have. That's why they need continued investment and improvement.
This is really great feedback so far. Keep 'em coming!
Which method you used to request the reset (Support ticket, fast-track form, contact VG, etc),
Usually the fast-track form. There have been several times that a VG has offered to help though.
What you requested for restore/removal? You can generalise here or be specific.
It’s usually just portals but we’ve also requested links and fields be restored too. The challenge with getting links and fields restored is keeping the lanes clear for the restoration.
How often you've had to request resets? Was it a once-off event or do you require resets more often?
It’s been a month and a half since we’ve requested a reset. Sometimes there’s long gaps of time and other times we need it more frequently. It’s a market thing dependent on how easy it is for someone to spoof or how much the going rate is for paid spoofs.
How soon were those resets processed and was everything restored as requested? If not, please add why not.
Everything has always been processed as requested. The only issues have been keeping the lanes clear. Resets have taken anywhere from a day to two weeks to process. I would say the average is 2-4 days though.
How did the spoofing and the restore impact you? Either personally, or your community?
Personally? Not that bad. It’s bad for the community though. Both inside the faction and in x-fac relations. It helps when we can get a ban and a restore quickly. It hurts when it takes multiple reports.
If i can suggest improvements is this: we send the link on the intell like the field was before being destroyed in fake, NIANTIC reconstructs by automatically removing link (made in fake o legit).
usually remove fake reso the portals Tuesday and Friday, this resonators have to removed immediately after the ban.
Consider punishing colluding players too, too many players use their legal accounts only in real and after do illegal things with secondary accounts like farming keys in fake and after using whit account legal.
All of the above. I usually make an in-game support ticket, fill out the fast track form and then contact VG with the ticket number. For portals that are serial spoofed I contact VG first.
Mostly remote portals that take time/money/effort to get to for restore. I have reported and requested wipes of spoofers that jump location too fast in the past as well regardless of the type of portals that have been spoofed. e.g two portals taken down within minutes, but it takes 30 minutes to drive between them on a country road.
At times I feel like I have VG on speed dial, and other times it can be weeks or months in between.
In my experience the spoofer gets banned quickly, most of the time within hours or a day, same with Vanguard processing it. But the actual restore of portal/links/fields is far too slow. Earlier this spring a remote island portal was serial spoofed..The spoofer was banned and we had to wait 2-4 days for restore. immediately after the restore the portal was spoofed down once again. This lasted for months and the portal was down more than it was up, basically taking it out of play. Even though the spoofer was banned, they accomplished what they wanted. Also being able to just make a new spoofer account the ban made no difference to them.
In these situations I wish Niantic would do more. You know there is a problem with spoofing here and here, what can be done to prevent it or make it harder to spoof. Serial spoofed portals should not be left as level 1 with no shielding for example.
Having to wait so long for restores also makes the chance of links going through the spoofed lanes greater, and we can´t expect all agents to know where they can or cannot link.
Personally I have spent a lot of hours gathering information about the portal state. Level of the portal, who owned the resos and mods, what links and fields where there, which way did the links go, etc. All this information has to be provided for a restore, since Niantic has no historic data. After a few times you get the hang of it and keep track of frequently spoofed portals, but the first time was really a pain. This makes the threshold high for actually bothering doing it for many players.
But the biggest detriment is to the community and specially x-fac relations. Alligations, rumors and drama run loose when there are spoofing incidents. Also it is really demotivating when players spend money, hours hiking or going somewhere, planning, transporting keys etc and its all for nothing. A lot of players really enjoy this aspect of the game and if it wasn`t for the restore program I think a lot of them would just stop playing.
The work the vanguards put into this is truly priceless. Thank you. But Niantic needs to develop this further. If you cant get rid the spoofer problem, at least make the restore process quicker so that the impact of these actions is lessened.
I think this program has added some value back to a game we love to play and applaud the time and effort of the Vanguards.
In the area I am playing, we have had dozens of spoofers in short periods many times and the reporting has improved with the new system as opposed to what used to be.
I hope that the players that create and sell accounts get their main accounts banned, I wish that niantic would be a little more proactive and look at ebay and craigslist to find the perpetrators making money selling accounts and the people that buy them.
I managed to get one of the spoofers to chat with me on tg and he admitted his involvement and the others that he assisted in doing the spoofing, it was quite disturbing that people spend so much time trying to cheat
I've used the reset process many times over a number of years, including during a long period when there was a large amount of spoofing activity in our area (Canberra, Australia) and resets were being logged on a daily basis. Thankfully this has died down a lot, but we still see spoofing in the region that has a big impact on the game. I have requested portal resets, link restores and also removal of spoofed fields and links.
I've used both fast-track and direct contact with vanguards to request resets. In my experience going directly to a Vanguard gets much better, quicker results and I would only use fast-track as a last resort.
One of my frustrations with the reset program has been how unpredicatable the timeframes are. On rare occasions I've seen resets processed in less than hour, but at other times it has taken weeks and sometimes even longer - despite vanguards logging resets quickly. It would help enormously if we could rely on resets being done quickly.
Another big frustration is that there is so much opportunity for link resets to be blocked (either inadvertently or deliberately and I've experienced plenty of both!). This would be reduced if resets were done quicker, but I'd also love to see something more done about this. It's really quite discouraging to see legitimate links that took a lot of effort to setup, fail to be reset because someone has blocked them. Surely blocking links could be removed in these situations? We're talking about links that were only possible as a result of somebody cheating. It ruins the strategic aspect of the game that many of us love and results in people giving up and leaving.
Spoofing has a very BIG impact on the game and on the community, and I've seen some great people leave the game because of it. This is absolutely the number one thing I'd like to see Niantic work on to improve the game!
I also want to mention that I found the removal of the Trusted Reporter program to be a step backwards in dealing with spoofing. The TR's were a great help when it came to getting spoof accounts banned promptly - much better than my experience of fast-track. These days I consider the Vanguards the only real option for getting a spoofer banned quickly.
I also want to say a very big THANK YOU to the Vanguards who have been wonderful to work with when there are spoofing incidents. Azhreia in particular has been amazing and puts an enormous amount of effort into helping us!!!
I've used the old TR Bot and I've used the support.ingress.com bot both. The TR bot on telegram was a bit to get used to, I have to admit the bot on support.ingress.com is much easier to use. I've reported a lot of portals that have been spoofed down in really hard to get to places around the Gulf of Mexico. Not everything warrants a reset and it's hard to have good screenshots and data as to the previous states of these portals. Spoofing seems to happen in spurts. Often we can go a long time without any problems but there are times where nothing stays up and we are doing a lot of reports. As for how soon we get resets depends on everything working out and we having the correct data. It can take a few days, or even just a day or two. Sometimes up to a week or just never. The resets do help the community, especially with morale. Players get very discouraged when their fields get spoofed down. A lot of money is invested in getting to hard portals. Satellite phones and sophisticated gear and high data costs are often involved in capturing these portals when it can be all taken down by some computer nerd at their desk spoofing their location. I've seen players quit over it. It's really bad and destructive to the game to have nothing happen after a field is spoofed down. The Vanguards are really appreciated and needed for this help and they are really over worked at times. If anything, please add a few more to help carry the load. They are providing a free volunteer service that costs nothing to Niantic.
First off - The VG program is invaluable for processing portal resets.
I cannot thank our Vanguard enough for the many times she has assisted us.
Also - A little bit about where we play. Western Australia - Perth. This is one of the most isolated regions on earth, we are bordered on one side by the Indian Ocean, over 1000km of desert to the East and it's a few thousand km to Indonesia. We have islands, a rugged coast etc.
Key portals are usually offshore islands, annoying military bases, (one of which is on an island) and BGAN / specialist gear remote portals in the '****'.
We tend to deal more with Indonesia than our Eastern States, (it's closer).
I often act as a go between for the local Resistance and, on occasion, for local Enlightened for reporting spoofer actions/giving advice on how to report and putting people in touch.
We also have a national anti spoofer chat. This is largely useless, it's main purpose is for alerting a spoofer action has occurred and to request lines be observed whilst we wait for reset. (Often it's "How do you know they are a spoofer" "You should check with us before reporting" etc).
After playing for many years, you can "smell" a spoofer account with surprising accuracy. (They are a new name, they play too well for a new player etc).
Anyway - on to the question responses:
- Which method you used to request the reset (Support ticket, fast-track form, contact VG, etc)
I have used all methods, including prayers, curses etc.
These days I tend to contact VG directly for portals that are hard to get to.
For urban stuff, I tend to use the normal Support Ticket method.
VG direct report - very easy, give Portal, Time, IGN and a picture of stats - extremely effective bans. Occasionally it has to be escalated 2-3 times (this is rare) for a ban to stick.
TR Fast Track form - This works, but is tedious and slower. Feels like a lot of make work for what can be done far easier above. Occasionally annoying interactions with the TR agent.
Support Ticket - Pretty much absolutely useless, slow, (but see further comment). Usually no ban. (Sometimes, very fast response, ticket closed, no ban, so fast you wonder how on earth the support team actually examined it so quickly, I suspect they have not).
- What you requested for restore/removal? You can generalise here or be specific.
Generally, specific portals and links. Often island based, with 1000km+ long links. Some regional BGAN etc have been reported. Misc hard to get access portals in urban areas. (Usually in fenced areas with staff access only).
- How often you've had to request resets? Was it a once-off event or do you require resets more often?
It varies, these days, it's occasional. In the recent past, every few days. Tends to come in spurts of activity.
- How soon were those resets processed and was everything restored as requested? If not, please add why not.
Usually resets are run twice a week, no issues usually. The issues that do occur are due to us, not reporting links to restore. (Forgot, failed to inform etc).
The annoying ones are when another account either on purpose or by mistake, crosses the lines to be restored. This usually results in a mad rush to contact agents, plead, beg or drive an awful long way.
We actually maintain a specific operation to record links for the sole purpose of restoration. It's easier to manage than a spreadsheet and gives a visual record of what's in place. The issue is, maintaining it, keeping it current. We also store screen shots of portal deployment pattern, (resonators, mods, ownership etc).
I assume after this, the VG has to turn this into a format Niantic can use for processing reset. This must be tedious. Again, I cannot thank VG enough for the amount of unpaid work they do here!
- How did the spoofing and the restore impact you? Either personally, or your community?
Spoofing can be devastating. Our opposition had a massive operation, costing $1000+ to implement and involved charter flight, BGAN, 1000's of km of driving. I could criticize the operation, it was too big and too slow, we could see what they were doing but unable to stop them. Watching them doing the op was like watching a bad paint job dry.
Then, a spoofer took out their key charter flight anchor when they only had one layer up, it ruined the whole operation. For whatever reason, they took ages to get reinstatement processed. In the meantime, we flew to the island and claimed it for ourselves legitimately.
The opposition team collapsed totally from this. All that work, time and money, ruined by a keyboard jockey. Inter faction relations collapsed- no IFS, blocked on chats etc etc. It's still touchy now over a year later.
Inter faction relations are always difficult to maintain and require a lot of work, before this relations were the best they had ever been, some key cheats had been removed, regular IFS events and even XFAC socials. All torpedoed by one action.
On a personal basis, I am frustrated Niantic can't improve spoofer detection. There *are* patterns to spoofer play, especially when spoofer accounts are being leveled. I am convinced Deep Learning would assist / could be used to flag accounts.
It is often obvious to see a new spoofer account being leveled, but helpless to do anything as it is urban playing. These are not eligible for a Fast Track and reporting via normal Help Support is basically a complete waste of time. The spoofers at this point make basically no attempt to hide. We have to sit on our hands and wait to see which key portal they hit the next day etc.
It's also a lot of work for players and VG to maintain information for restorations, process the reports, process the resets, communicate with faction and other faction. Sometimes it feels like a second job.
Also - consider being a little more aggressive in implementing anti spoofer sanctions on suspect actions? (Though we have had legit agents unable to play after a normal flight before which is very annoying, especially for charter flights where time is a big issue).
Anyway - that's enough for now. If anyone want's to contact me directly for more information, feel free.
Answers follow each of the billeted questions below:
• Which method you used to request the reset (Support ticket, fast-track form, contact VG, etc),
The method I use to request the reset has evolved with the retirement of the Trusted Reporters Program & TRBots in December 2020. Now I report via either the In-app support or via the support website to get the Ticket ID to submit on the Fast-Track form followed by a chat with a VG to let them know we have a reset coming.
• What (have) you requested for restore/removal? You can generalise here or be specific.
We have seen a wide variety of spoofer actions, and I will generally request a portal reset for any qualifying portal(s) affected (owner, reso, mod & link resets when we have the information available). Resonator wipes are sometimes requested instead of letting things decay off.
• How often you've had to request resets? Was it a once-off event or do you require resets more often?
Like others have observed spoofing tends to happen in spurts. Maybe a isolated spoof followed by 3-4 months of quiet which is then broken by a flurry of spoofing activity with multiple spoof accounts in a 24 hour period and several over the course of the week. The reset requests probably average out to 2 a month for the past year.
• How soon were those resets processed and was everything restored as requested? If not, please add why not.
The resets usually take a few hours to the better part of a week depending on how quickly the spoof account is banned, how long it takes to gather & submit the restore information along with how long before the next NIA OPS reset is run. Successful resets are usually a given for remote or hard to access portals, but they can be hit very and miss for links and fields. Even with the challenges of potential blocking links NIAGameMaster will show up a couple of times a year on the local cell score boards.
• How did the spoofing and the restore impact you? Either personally, or your community?
The spoofing is frustrating as it takes time and resources to report and restore. It has however brought our local & regional Resistance closer as a faction through the shared interest of combating spoofing more effectively. We on occasion get assistance from Enlightened in reporting, but the response is lackluster unless it is one of the rare occasions that they are affected. Lots of local drama.
• Please be honest but respectful in your criticism. Suggest improvements.
Effectively combating spoofing should involve reducing its impact on legitimate players while tilting the cost / benefit against those doing the spoofing to where it’s not an appealing option. Having a 24 hour history of the state of and what has happened within the Portal Network would both make spoofing easier to detect as well as easier to reset in a more timely fashion. The Vanguards are truly guardian angels of the portal network! Their uncompensated hard work goes a long way to bridging a wide gap in what Niantic should be doing about location spoofing compared with what is actually being done. I find it hard to believe that device and/or game client identification or blacklisting can’t be implemented to help prevent repeated spoofing.
I come from a region where the leader of the other faction has been banned multiple times and the other players aren't too different when it comes to playing fair. Finding spoofers take down our remote portals and dealing with them has become a routine.
I have used the reset system extensively. I think the dedication and effort put in by the Vanguards to manage them is just amazing. I have nothing negative to say about the way they work.
I would just like to suggest that the system be made simpler and more efficient so that daily resets become a reality. I believe that it is currently twice a week and that just isn't regular enough to discourage spoofers and keep the game fair.
These cheaters just continue to level up new accounts for spoofing remote locations with the confidence that their actions will be reversed only once in 3 days. This is just too slow to keep up with them.
Daily resets would discourage most of these spoofers because of the effort involved to setup these new accounts for takedowns and the continuous action taken against their cheating.
This would be good for the game in the long run with a fewer number of spoofers.
I'm not going to say anything that hasn't already been said:
- The Vanguards are the best.
- The reset system is necessary, but slow.
- There is a plague of spoofer accounts that are immune to ban.
I used to take care of asking for the reset when there was spoofer activity near my position. The best method has always been to contact a vanguard.
In the last year, spoofer accounts that cannot be banned have proliferated, so I have had to report many times (daily), but very few times I have needed to reset something.
Fast-track form, because I didn't want to bother a VG without logging my report first.
Close to everything: restoring a portal including resonators and mods, restoring links, removing links thrown by the spoofer (which were often drawn from or to the spoofed portal anyway).
Twice so far, because I don't even bother reporting portals that are not in mountains and obviously spoofed (no hope for a ban in those situations) and sometimes I just left another agent handling it for me (no need to clog the system by filling several reports for the same portal)
One of the last took 72h to get processed, I shared my opinions on it here. Another was not processed because the agent didn't get banned. Both the VG who reached me to plan the restoration and myself were very surprised by it.
Having played PokemonGo before starting playing Ingress I am sadly not surprised by how easy spoofing (and multiaccounting, but that's another topic) is, and how difficult it seems to fight against it for Niantic. However this is slowly killing the game. The post I shared above describes how it is: this kind of accident shows how useful spoofing can be and the moral impact on the legit players is strong… Restoring, when it happens, never manages to restore the situation from before spoofing, leaving a lot of work for legit agents to clean up the mess and the links thrown (sometimes by legit agents) during the time of the restoration. When it doesn't happen it leaves a weird feeling: why was the spoofer not banned ? was it a legit action in the end ? or maybe Niantic failed to ban a spoofer ? we'll never know, but in the end the real damage caused is the one harming trust between agents. I'm not fully trusting half of my faction those days. I know for sure the opposite faction has spoofers : one guy lost two accounts because of it (and he was welcome in his faction, so who knows what can be accepted by people welcoming obvious cheaters ?) and he played for years before receiving any sanction, so I'm afraid some people in my faction could think "hey there might be a chance for me not to get caught if I take all the precautions".
While I get fighting spoofing is hard I would at least hope for a faster response to accidents, so that at least people spoofing could think "If I get caught it was all for nothing", while today the situation looks more like "If I get caught it was already useful for winning the score, I'll just create another account and keep it going".
Thanks to the Vanguards for their hard work though, we desperately rely on you for helping the game's health.
Hi, thank you to open this call of testimonials... there is a lot of things to say about spoofed portals... i relief like other above, that is killing ingress and have a big impact on local community... and in chats there is a same comment since a lot time : "What is Niantic doing?"
I'm leaving near the coast with some strategic portals on islands with low access. It's a real pain to get access to some of them and a deeper pain to see them spoofed. On average we have two or three illegal actions per year. The positiv is that three years ago we haven't any capability to reset and restore was unimaginable! Today it seems me that we have better ways to react... and the difficulty is to find the good one.
For my last report i was hightly motivated. Firstebale I opened a ticket, responded all questions and sent a complete report of 10 pages with real arguments to prove the spoof... and Niantic respond three days later : "Thank you for reporting this issue. We’re writing to confirm that we have carefully reviewed your report and have taken action where appropriate"... and what else... nothing.
With this ticket i've activated the fast track... i'm always waiting for a response.
Fortunately, the spoofed portal have an high impact for several countries, and there was a many exchanges on several chat until a VG was interested by the problem. I sent him the ticket number with my report and today i'll never thank him enough for is action. Spoofer was baned some days later and portal completely restored with majority of old links one week after ilegal action. Fortunately both factions understood the spoof from the begenning and did not made **** links.
Spoof have an hight impact on our community and some players stoped the game because they don't understand the lack of confidence in them in there report to Niantic by official way.
Personnaly it's hard to spent a lot of time to report, it's highly impact my confidence in Niantic capability to take alone good actions versus spoof. I understand that war is hard for them with a lot of report to treat. Perhaps solution could be coming by the creation of an high value portals with a specific surveillance.
Until now i take pleasure in Ingress and I'm happy to give my testimonial. THX
Don't write 10 pages dude, Niantic will bin it.
Suspected spoof, Ign, portal, UTC time. That's it.
The more you write, the less likely Niantic will do anything.
Contact by Vanguard, which went very smoothly.
Remotest portals to be reset to appropriate prior state. Others which only anchored block fielding, it was ok to set to gray, so our fields could be built. Urban would be nice, though (however when all of a spoofers resos are gone, that does help)
Once, the prior spoofing events did not require reset
Quickly and yes
Very much because parts of the community tend to break away.
Keeping motivation until a spoofer is gone, can be tough on some.
A few fewer core subscribers by now is the current result.
It can take an enormous amount of work to keep lanes clear in order for links to be reset. It's great to have some cooperation between factions when it comes to this, but it's inevitable that things still get blocked and agents end up having to drive many hundreds of kilometers to clear.
I remember one occasion when I took a day off work to do a drive of over 800km for clearing to allow some link resets to go through. About 20 minutes after I'd cleared my last blocker I got a message to say the resets had been done! Hooray, success!! Perfect timing! There have been other times when we've had multiple agents drive long distances to clear only to for link resets to still fail due to blocking. Needless to say this gets very frustrating and demoralising.
We really shouldn't need to go to all this effort to enable resets. Please Niantic, give us a way to have links reset even when they've been blocked.
The things I would most like to see improved regarding resets are:
1. Give us a way to reset spoofed links even when they've been blocked
2. Run resets more frequently and regularly
For me these are the most important things Niantic could work on to improve the game.
Spoofing has left us with a lot less agents who are willing to do the hardcore things like climbing mountains, flying to offshore islands and driving to the ends of the earth. I'd love to see these parts of the game return as well as the big team ops that go with them.
Support ticket and fast-track form.
Difficult-to-access portals, requiring chartering boats or aircraft. Commonly, where multiple spoof accounts appeared to be taking advantage of one another's efforts.
Maybe one spoof report in ten, but most of my reports are in spoofer gardens.
The slowest part is usually waiting for NIA ops to process the request, re-submit/escalate after they decide it wrong, and wait for a VG to be assigned. After that, it's quick enough, on the order of a day or so plus some timezone back and forth. VGs like some level of substantiation as to what they're being asked to request a revert to, and that can be tough to come up with, but generally speaking the kind of portals requiring reverts aren't built in complex ways. Restoring links/fields is another matter entirely, but I haven't done that.
Spoofing damages the game, Niantic's blithe unwillingness to devote the kind of resources to stopping it damages it more. The vanguards running reverts keeps some trust going in the overall combination. Fortunately around here both factions are fairly good about not working with spoofers, so it doesn't totally **** the fielding game, but we disagree a little over whether it's fair to take advantage of something a spoofer just happened to do un-asked. The adage "spoofers have no faction" is false -- spoofers often do have a favored faction, have identities in that faction's community and work on their behalf.
There are areas of the game that have been desertified by spoofers -- where no human play is worth doing, because anything one does will be un-done by spoofers of both colors within hours. It's depressing to pass through those areas and see it.
Support ticket and fast-track form.
BAF anchor in a mountain portal, taken down by an evident and well-known local spoofer.
In my case, just once, the only time one of my many (dozens) reports was accepted.
If I remember correctly, it needed less than 24 hours since I reported, but by then restoring was impossible, since 'legal' accounts set blockings to prevent it.
That sole spoofing didn't have a remarkable impact in the moral of our community, but just because it was only one after and before many others. It was (and is) all those, all reported but nearly all unpunished, what deeply impacted (and impact) it, inducing about a dozen veteran and very commited agents (three of them BRRN) to quit the game. Banning the spoofer was rejoicing in spite of the impossibility of restoring the fields, but it was short-timed: few days later a new spoofing account appeared (by every clue managed by the same player) and took over its activity, unpunished up to now.
I'll keep my notes brief on this: despite the fact my community has had to file numerous amounts of these since 2019, the report handling and reversing of spoofing itself is handled pretty quickly and adequately, from what I have seen. @Valkryria may have better insight into this for our community as she has also had to help handle reports of spoofers directly.
I would greatly appreciate if Niantic did more, at least publicly facing, to proactively restrict the ability of spoofing. I understand nothing will be perfect, but measures like IP/device bans and bringing back account verification would, in theory, place a more significant limit on what spoof accounts could accomplish. I understand they would still exist, but at least they would not be as easy to produce en masse.
All of the above, several hundred times.
Everything what is possible to do in Ingress.
Depends from a spoofing frequency. It`s usually every few days in the past 2 years.
I am quite satisfied with the communication with the Vanguard, the restoration in 99% of cases passes without any problems. What could be improved is the speed of the restoration. I am convinced that restoring process on a daily basis would be quite frustrating for a spoofer.
On this issue, I agree in every word with what greekdiver wrote. Due to the delay in solving this problem, the community lost a lot of great players.
But, the problem is still present.
So, my community would like to add here some suggestions on how to improve gameplay in order to reduce the impact of spoofing activities.
(The text below is part of a much larger document which was previously forwarded to Vanguard)
Based on our experience, we want to suggest measures that can aid the suppression of spoof activities:
1. Prohibition of use of VR items by low-level players.
This suggestion makes sense considering game logic, low-level players should only have access to basic items, so VR items such as ADA, JARVIS, Hypercube, should be unlocked for use gradually as the player progresses through the game.
2. Suspension of "forever" passcodes.
We have noticed that spoof accounts have considerable amount of XMP and Ultra Strike items, which are most likely acquired via passcodes with unlimited duration ("forever" passcodes). We propose their suspension, or prohibiting the use of "forever" passcodes until the player reaches Level 8.
We base this assumption on the fact that these spoof accounts have unlocked statistics and a very few hacks, not nearly enough for the amount of weapons they have.
3. Change the player’s level requirement for virus use.
In this case the player would be able to use a virus only on the portal which level is not higher than [player’s level -2], instead of [player’s level +1] as it is now. That way the low-level spoof accounts, that are in most cases L4 or L5, wouldn’t be able to flip L5 or L6 portal (respectively), instead they would have to reach at least Level 7 for the L5 portal flip. Please implement this restriction or any other method that you find viable for prevention of portal flips by low-level spoof accounts.
4. Limit the drop and pickup of items/capsules until the player reaches Level 8.
I hope that this suggestions can be helpful. Thank you for your time.
WRT the suspension of forever codes, I would simply prevent new accounts from using passcodes that were released before the account's "birthdate". So new players would only be able to use codes that are released after their account creation.
I file support tickets mainly for record keeping purposes. Fast track for spoof accounts that don't require reset. Fast track in my experience can still take up to a full day. But contacting a TR is the most reliable method of requesting a reset.
We have several strategic portals in the region that are either limited or difficult to access that are frequently the target of spoof accounts.
For example, this spring there were 15+ accounts that targeted a specific portal and were subsequently banned.
Following the success of Blue Cities in June, our region has experienced a constant barrage of spoof accounts for the past three months. Since June, roughly 30 spoof accounts that we have reported have been banned. Sometimes up to 4 spoof accounts on one day.
The bad actor(s) are able to spin up new accounts in a matter of hours to target these strategic locations. And in one case, dropped 8 drones on a portal that was not reachable from land just to troll.
It requires a team effort to track, report, log, and keep records of the current state of portals in the likelihood that they will be spoofed because Niantic does not keep record of the previous state or links.
Resets typically occur twice a week. They need to occur more frequently. If you are "lucky" enough that the spoofer takes a portal the day before reset, action can happen quickly. If reset has just occurred it can take up to four days. Four days in game time is an eternity to try to maintain a lane for reset. Usually it's just not possible. Compounding that, our local spoofer waits for reset and makes the portal unusable again. Requiring several more days for reset to occur again.
While portal reset is an important band-aid for the situation, the root of the problem seems to go unaddressed. The spoof accounts are easy to spin up, easy to level up undetected by Niantic and can destroy a strategic portal while still relatively low level.
All it takes is 1-3 bad actors in a region to disrupt legitimate play and sow distrust and accusations between factions about who is condoning it and who is benefiting from it.
Niantic needs to make it more of a priority to prevent and roll back the actions of spoofers
-Which method you used to request the reset (Support ticket, fast-track form, contact VG, etc),
I used all of the following methods: support ticket, fast track form, and contacting VG.
I tried to contact support first.
Contacting VG was the quickest and most effective.
-What you requested for restore/removal? You can generalise here or be specific.
-How often you've had to request resets? Was it a once-off event or do you require resets more often?
The spoofers we faced used portals with no signal or on uninhabited islands to create similar BAFs over and over again to overrun cities.
Some days it's ENL, some days it's RES.
I spend a few days creating a report to get my spoofer account banned.
The day after the portal on the anchor uninhabited island is reset,
a new spoofer appears and creates a BAF.
Over another few days I make a ban request for the spoofer, and the day after the desert island portal is reset, another new spoofer creates a similar BAF and sinks the city.
This went on for about two months and then the spoofer went quiet for six months.
This spring, however, the spoofer reappeared.
I still continue to sue the spoofer and hope to reset the portal.
-How soon were those resets processed and was everything restored as requested? If not, please add why not.
When I contacted VG, they took care of it in 24-72 hours.
If I used a support ticket.
I get a response in about a week to two months, but nothing changes.
Each time I got a response, I added the anchor portal information and logs,
and it took about three months until the two spoofers appealed to support were banned.
I feel most helpless when I get a reply from the support team and nothing has changed.
The recent portal reset, which I contacted them about in July, still hasn't been done and I'm still waiting.
The portals on the uninhabited island are still being recharged even after the owner was banned.
However, the portal is only reset and neutralized.
I was also asked how many resonators I had and what my lvl was, but these were not reflected.
The portal is never restored to its previous state.
-How did the spoofing and the restore impact you? Either personally, or your community?
The community I was involved with had a city sink into BAF for over a year.
Many AGs had quit.
The legitimate AGs have spent hours going to difficult-to-reach portals to lift the BAF, have pooled their money to arrange satellite phone for portals with no signal, and have chartered boats to go to deserted islands.
Then, on the night that the legitimate AGs had gone to so much trouble, Spoofer would mockingly create another BAF.
In areas where Spoofer is in the dark, trust between agents is undermined.
I was fortunate enough to have the cooperation of the remaining AGs of both RES and ENL, so I was able to stand up to Spoofer.
However, this is something that an AG who is not part of the community or who is new to the game would not be able to do anything about.
They won't understand anything and will quit before they realize the appeal of Ingress.
-Please be honest yet respectful in your criticism. Suggest improvements.
I believe the most effective way to combat spoofers is to deal with them at a faster rate than those accounts can be mass produced.
I hope that the system can work without VG.
I also think that reinstating authentication at account creation and introducing phone number authentication will help curb the mass production of accounts a bit.
Finally, I would like to express my respect and deepest gratitude to Azhreia and the rest of the Vanguards for their unpaid hard work.
- How often do you have to ask for resets. Was it just once or do you ask for it more often?
Very often practically daily
- How long it took to perform the reset and if everything was restored as you requested. If not, decide why.
It usually takes several days, it should be automatic and instantaneous
- How the "spophy" and the reset affected you on a personal and community level.
Impersonation itself is extremely damaging to the community and to individual players who spend hours accessing certain portals. It also takes longer for legitimate players to make the necessary requests for an account to be locked, a portal restored, etc., while counterfeiters can continue to create new accounts. It is extremely exhausting when it happens over and over again. Phishing is the plague of Ingress, not dealing with it efficiently caused most agents to drop out or lose interest in playing, that is well known to agents who love the game for its original and strategic gameplay. It is frustrating to invest time and resources, organize and try to achieve something only so that sometimes even before you are successful, people who have no real interest in the game and its fun turn into ruining other people's game. That said, restoring is an oasis in the desert. In my opinion, the vanguards did an incredible job sacrificing personal time and dealing with many valid or absurd requests, or anything in between, just to give the game an air of "fairness", a role that should be the NIA's to begin with. . It really sucks dealing with someone whose only goal is to be toxic to the rest of the community by faking and making disposable multis to make fun of them. This behavior really takes its toll on the remaining community of both factions. Stain cycles and if they just create new accounts or disposable items it seems endless.
I'm new to this whole dealing with spoofers thing, so this is good timing. A few weeks ago me and another agent figured out how to make a large layered field in our area, which I guess happened to be in a cell (MIKE-01) where a spoofer and a really intense legit player have teamed up to keep control of it for over 2 years, and suddenly we became a threat to this.
At first it was just us vs. the legit player and it was a fun game of back and forth strategy trying to outsmart and outplay the other team. It was exciting and we were starting to learn patterns and come up with good plans and we started gaining ground, but once we became tougher opposition, we had a few of our anchors spoofed down. The spoof account was reported twice, but nothing happened and the account is still active to this day and recently spoofed down several of our other attempts at making fields. Then another agent trespassed, and then they spoofed into the same restricted area, and then continued to spoof down the fields, so we have given up.
In talking with fellow agents, it seems the spoofing has been an ongoing issue with the same player for years. Their field is regularly rebuilt by either the intense legit player or the spoof accounts, most of the time before the next checkpoint. Eventually after they use the accounts enough and after enough people report the spoofing, the spoof accounts get banned, but the spoofer just makes new ones. Since he doesn't seem to spoof with his main account, that never gets in trouble, and the score will never stand a chance of being beaten.
In my eyes the report form is a joke. People can spoof or trespass onto a closed area, but they suffer no consequences, and nothing is restored. Due to this I have given up rebuilding the field and have lost any motivation to do anything of consequence in this game. I have heard of others either quitting or switching teams due to this same spoofer. They are a blight on the community and Niantic hasn't done anything to solve the issue.
I've only been driving for this field in the single cell, to relatively short hiking trails. Reading all these other stories makes mine feel small in comparison, so while I don't expect anything to change where I am, I truly feel for all the players on both teams that play legit and work much harder, only to lose things to someone on their couch.
I used the Contact Us - Report Inappropriate Gameplay option in the scanner four times (first spoof account two times, trespasser once, and second spoof account once), and then also filled out the fast track form three times (first spoof account once, trespasser, second spoof account).
The first fast track form I submitted was because the anchor was about a 10 minute walk into the woods in a park, which seems like a silly request now, but I was new to all of this and felt that I shouldn't have to put more physical effort into the game due to someone else sitting at home violating the rules of the game. Oh how naive I was.
The second report I didn't request resets because the anchors were in a town center, easy to rebuild, but we lost a few checkpoints because of it, and those can't be fixed.
I filled out the form on 10/1 to request resets of two P8's taken out by the trespasser, which were on restricted areas that only I have access to, so they can't be rebuilt to P8's currently. I didn't hear anything and nothing was restored after 6 days, so I recaptured them and now they're only P6's, since the area is restricted and nobody else can visit to help bump them.
I filled out the form again on 10/8 because a L3 spoof account took out two more of the restricted access P8's, but I doubt anything will come of that either, so I'll eventually go recapture them back to P6's.
Only these four times within the past two months. Since we have stopped trying to win the score, or anything else of significance in this game, I doubt we'll have any further incidents to report.
I never heard anything back about any of them, the spoof accounts are still active, and the initial spoof account has taken out anchors four more times since the initial report. Nothing was ever done after the first two times, so I didn't bother and just started expecting that we'd get spoofed down whenever we got close. Kind of like a badge of honor that we've been doing a good enough job to get noticed and to frustrate the spoofer.
The spoof accounts would hit right before checkpoints, so regardless of things being reset or not, the score was affected and the team using the spoof accounts wins. The intense player gloats that 'he' has a winning score streak that will never be broken. Even if the spoof accounts get banned, new ones can be easily created and affect the score again. This has caused me to stop playing for the score, stop playing for anything meaningful, and to not trust anyone on the other team. People play along with the spoofer and consider it part of the game that as long as they can get away with spoofing it's acceptable and the score is legit. It's ridiculous and stupid.
I'll keep it short as there are several answers already stating most of the points. While I already have a long post about Support requiring attention, this questions are about a part of the system which is the Portal Reset, so all answers will be about portal resets only:
Fast-Track form is the only method that has brough up some activity, but in the end it is the same path as contacting a VG.
Portals requested to be reset are always remote and/or difficult to access. Sometimes there is activity logged "very close" to those but if it is being requested for a restoration it is always for a reason. These portals are either ancors or LTP, usually both.
Once every several months because of portal conditions. If the portal is not identified as "hard to reach", reset is never requested.
100% of portal request were never performed, so I'd say that is a 100% REJECT rate.
Personally: spoofing is the greatest problem of the game, but cheaters have more ways to cheat aside of that, so I guess I can say that "it's my everyday".
Community: avoiding details, at any given time, 80% or more of existing links in affected cells belong to known spoofers.
-Support cannot be dependant on VG's pushing up tickets. This MUST be changed.
-Spoofing review cannot take longer than few hours. It is unacceptable that several days are required to revert a 10 min session of spoofing.
-If a ban for spoofing has taken place, reverting actions HAVE to be automatic. Players are suposed to be playing, not fixing cheaters actions.
-It makes no sense at all that links created after a spoofing move are considered as legit. Current system strongly rewards unlegit gameplay and that MUST be put an end.
-And last, but not least: agents involved in spoofing events should always be investigated wether there are tickets submitted or not. Very easy to spot these on link restoration. Also, scores earned should be reverted too, so those that colaborate with spoofers quit doing so.
I am a survivor of cell K-spoofteen, where gps spoofing is a weekly and sometimes daily occurrence in a cell with around 20 active and semi-active players. The spoofing comes in all sorts in the cell:
Before commenting on portal resets, it is necessary to say that Niantic simply must do better in the software to slow the advance of spoofing. Spoofing might never be completely preventable, but the apparent current ease for bad actors to engage in spoofing activities is a terrible situation.
How often you've had to request resets? Was it a once-off event or do you require resets more often?
How soon were those resets processed and was everything restored as requested? If not, please add why not.
Possible suggestions to make this better:
(1) Much better spoofing prevention and detection by Niantic. Prevention, early detection, and rapid elimination are key.
(2) Consider grouping all impacted parties that have raised the ticket into a single Telegram group. This can allow all needed information to travel to the vanguard in a timely manner and avoid the telephone game that was described above.
A few more comments....