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'Pokemon Go' Cheaters Get Soft Ban, Niantic To Apply Perma-Ban?

By Benjie Batanes , Jul 20, 2016 09:38 AM EDT
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Pokemon GO players meet at Sydney Opera House on July 20, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. The Opera House hosted a Pokemon gathering, adding lures to all nearby Pokestops. The augmented reality app requires players to look for Pokemon in their immediate surroundings with the use of GPS and internet services turning the whole world into a Pokemon region map. (Photo : Brendon Thorne/Getty)

"Pokemon Go" cheaters caught by Niantic Labs have been punished soft bans. However, the mobile app developer may decide to impose a perma-ban or similar harsh punishment to cheaters in the coming days.

Cheaters are resorting to GPS spoofing to improve their chances of catching a Pokemon monster, according to Polygon. Most of those who resort to such dishonest method are mainly located in sparsely populated areas. GPS spoofing will take the cheaters to city locations where Pokemon pickings are quite good.

Players caught cheating reported that they could still enter the game but little else. Players could not gather items or even do battle while they are banned from the game. If a banned player throws a Pokeball at a creature, it will leave the area instead.

The soft ban, however, is not much of a deterrent according to many players. The punishment will only last for a few hours. Everything will be back to normal and the errant player can get back to the game will all privileges restored. Niantic was stricter during the beta days of "Pokemon Go." They have become much lenient since then.

GPS spoofing is basically using a rootkit on an Android smartphone or tablet, according to Motherboard. The rootkit along with appropriate software will report a GPS location to "Pokemon Go" servers. The cheater, however, can choose whatever location he likes.

GPS spoofing can be used to trick the server that the cheater is at a certain Pokestop or gym miles away from his actual location. The player can also fool the "Pokemon Go" server that he or she has walked a great distance in order to claim experience points or reward items.

Niantic did impose perma-ban to cheaters of an earlier game, Ingress. The developer imposed a worldwide ban on Ingress cheaters suddenly and without warning. Industry observers believed that the developer might employ the same tactic in the near future.

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