Hacking Pokemon Go to reveal characters all around you

Pierluigi Paganini July 24, 2016

A group of hackers has devised a method to hack Pokemon Go to and reveal the exact location of characters all around you.

Pokemon Go is the game of the moment, its viral and the attention of the media is very high on the gaming novelty.

As the players know, they haven’t the precise location of nearby Pokemon because the popular game only allows players to have a radar with an imprecise location for the nice characteristics.

Of course, the hackers are already working to overwhelm the limitation and find the exact location of the Pokemon. A group of hackers on the PokemonGoDev subreddit has devised a method that exploiting Pokemon Go‘s server responses to draw a map that displays the position of hidden Pokemon in the player vicinity.

The experts have analyzed data sent and received by the Pokemon Go servers while using an API, they were able to parse responses sent by the game. The hackers used basic protocol buffers to decipher the response acquired through an SSL tunnel, then developed a Python script to use the data and plot the hidden locations on Google Maps picture of the nearby area.

PokeMapper-building Pokemon-Go app-using-Cloud-66

Example of PokeMapper building

Anyone can exploit the technique by following a step-by-step installation guide, but be aware, it violates the terms of service of the game. Niantic Lab can block the accounts exploiting the hack, but it could improve the security of its server to avoid any abuse.

“Already, people are trying to use this mapping data to crowdsource a complete, worldwide map of all in-game Pokémon. Other apps in the works can notify players when rare Pokémon pop up nearby, spoof GPS coordinates to fool the game into thinking you’re in other locations, or even automatically “farm” Pokémon from Pokéstops.” wrote Dan Goodin on Ars.

Leaving aside the technical aspects of ‘hack, using such tools is against the spirit of the game, cheating makes little sense and would end up killing the pleasure of playing.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Pokemon Go, hacking)

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