Blinded accounts follow up: bots are fighting back, but with limited success

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Niantic’s latest security measure introduced “rare blinding” for suspicious accounts. The security measure prevents certain accounts from seeing any rare spawns in the wild.

Although controversial, the security measure proved wildly successful, as it induced a large amount of panic and disarray in the botting and tracking community. Multiple malicious platforms (account sellers and bot providers) announced a temporary inability to provide high level botted accounts!

And while the legitimate player base is, mostly, celebrating the new security update, others do not share their excitement.

The developers of RocketMap, one of the most popular tracking solutions for Pokémon GO announced the following today:

@everyone Small update on the recent Niantic blinding changes. At this stage, we’re still investigating the details of what triggers it.

This can be a somewhat long and difficult process, but it’s necessary in order to be able to implement an actual fix rather than some band-aid solutions that make it more sporadic but that don’t fix it for anyone. In order not to make y’all wait without being able to scan, we’re working on a first (temporary) approach.

This first approach is to soften the effect on your accounts so you can continue scanning for at least the next few days while we work on some code implementations. To make sure we’re not missing anything, I’d like to ask everyone affected – and who has tried something to make it work again – to fill in this form about your scan setup:

https://goo.gl/forms/WaxXMMUtP40XyPty2

The form is aimed specifically at getting test results to use on top of what we have seen in our private tests. Thanks :heart:

In order to learn more about the effect of this measure, we reached out to a number of “informants” that are tightly connected to several third party developers.

Our sources have confirmed the following:

  • Third party developers have no idea how the new security measure works
  • Although the exact number of blinded accounts is impossible to determine, early estimates range from tens to hundreds of thousands.
  • Blinded accounts were created in the past 3-6 months, indicating that Niantic has been collecting the data for quite a while
  • Although unverified, the word on the street is that machine learning has finally been employed — a number of “looking legitimate” bot accounts are still not blinded
  • Not everyone has the same experience, with some botters claiming zero accounts blinded, and others reporting complete annihilation of their account farm

Unfortunately, some users have already managed to create workarounds to filter out flagged accounts:

All in all, it seems that Niantic’s new security measure was very successful. Although bots are trying to regroup and rebuild their account farms, it’s going very slowly.
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