Niantic Enables Captcha Aimed At Blocking 3rd Party Pokemon Go Scanners, Bots And Apps

Posted: Oct 5 2016, 4:06pm CDT | by , Updated: Oct 6 2016, 3:20am CDT , in Technology News


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Niantic Enables Captcha Aimed at Blocking 3rd Party Pokemon Go Scanners, Bots and Apps
Credit: Imgur imiguelacuna

It has happened. Niantic unleashed the pending security update blocking bots and scanners.

If your favorite Pokemon Go scanner or bot app just stopped working, this is why. Niantic has pushed the button to enable the new encryption that is aimed at blocking 3rd party software from accessing the Pokemon Go servers.

The new encryption is using Google's Captcha when it detects unusual behavior. The image above shows how the in-game captcha looks like. The user interface is misleading. Checking the box is just triggering a bunch of background checks on the Google servers determining if you are a legit user on a legit device.

The reCaptcha Advanced Risk Analysis backend actively considers a user’s entire engagement with the CAPTCHA—before, during, and after—to determine whether that user is a human. This enables Google to rely less on typing distorted text and, in turn, offer a better experience for users. In case the risk analysis is unsure, the system presents a full Captcha that requires to decode an image.

In parallel Google changed something that blocks again Pokemon Go app and other apps on rooted phones. The Magisk work around has stopped working because of the new changes to how Google's SafetyNet is implemented. If you have succeeded to get the Pokemon Go app working again after the first time Niantic implemented SafetyNet, you have to find a new work around again. Right now there seem to be no solution to run the Pokemon Go app on rooted devices.

The developer of Magisk is working on an update and believes he can circumvent the new SafetyNet check with the next update of Magisk.

The trainer community is again outraged because of the blocks. Understandably so as Niantic is still not offering any kind of Pokemon tracking. The roll out of the new security measures might though mean that Niantic is finally going to roll out the nearby tracker.

The developer behind the most popular Pokemon scanner FastPokeMap still believes he can find a work around, but a scalable solution will take time. He cautioned just now on Twitter: "Niantic just implemented a new security feature, scanning might be inaccurate." The FPM developer known as whitelist_ip on reddit just posted that half his accounts have hit the reCaptcha. He is stopping FastPokeMap now until he knows how the reCapture is triggered.

He added on Twitter: "Welp, i'll see what I can do but this doesn't look bright. Never give up though."

Update: In breaking developments, the end of FastPokeMap is near, because of staggering reCaptcha solving cost.

FastPokemon App has officially stopped scanning. All other scanners that directly access in real-time Pokemon Go servers will stop working as well. Bots, IV trackers, you name it, will all be blocked.

Niantic is now in control. Lets see how long the 3rd party Pokemon Go developer community needs to find a work around. The cat and mouse game goes into the second major round.

FastPokeMap, PokeAlert and others are scanning again despite the reCaptcha. PokeAlert gives users the URL ot the reCaptcha to resolve and continue. FPM seems to cycle through lots of accounts to keep on scanning, but the performance is way done. I do see though a good number of Pokemon near my location in FastPokeMap. It is useable.

Niantic's reCaptcha deployment is slowing down 3rd party apps, but not completely blocking them. There is supposed also a pending change in the encryption of the protocols. Apparently that is not live.

As usual, Niantic has not said anything yet about what is going on right now. There are lots of comments that say if Niantic would just offer a in-app scanner many trainers would refrain from using 3rd party apps like FastPokeMap, PokeWhere and others. Most trainers are for the blocking of botters, but use scanners to find Pokemon they want for the Pokedex. Niantic has announced a new upcoming feature that is unrelated to what is going on with Captcha security and SafetyNet measures. Trainers will be able to earn capture bonus for rare Pokemon in a future Pokemon Go update.

FastPokeMap recently blocked other apps from using their scan data. With the new security measure rolled out, apps like PokeWhere and ScanGo will not get any data from FPM now. The top dog has now cut access to Pokemon spawn information.

Niantic already introduced the new security measures with the release of the Pokemon Go app version 0.37.0 and 1.7.0 back in early September. The blocking of rooted devices was quickly circumvented by existing solutions that enable apps to run despite Google's Safety net. Niantic has waited almost a month to enable to new encryption and reCaptcha mechanism rolled out in the app updates back in early September.

The new security just got deployed at around 3pm ET on Wednesday, October 5. It is hard to put an exact time on it, but this is when the first reports of affected 3rd party apps surfaced.

Read more Pokemon Go News.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml[@]




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