A single Pokémon Go player managed to block access to the game for millions of people over the weekend.
As part of a promotion, Belgian cell phone carrier Proximus allowed all of its users to play Pokémon Go for free, regardless of their data plan. But after one player tested the limits of Niantic’s servers using at least 1,000 dummy accounts on Friday, Niantic temporarily blocked every single Proximus customer from playing Pokémon Go.
As you might expect, that promotion was swiftly changed.
So, what happened exactly?
This player, who was posting his progress on Reddit under the name mewtwo_captured, claims to have created 1,000 bot accounts, which are able to perform automated tasks without any direct input from a person. These bot accounts then scanned the Pokémon Go servers simultaneously, causing strain on the network.
When Niantic detected this unusual activity, it shut down access to the game from the IP address that was scanning the server, but mewtwo_captured manually changed his IP address to be linked to the entire Proximus network, causing every single Proximus customer in Belgium to get banned at once.
When he discovered what had happened, he posted, “Holy [s—] i just ruined it for a whole country.”
Niantic recently announced it was cracking down on players who were cheating, including those who use GPS-spoofing technology to make it seem as though they’re moving around the real world, when in fact, they haven’t taken a single step. This anti-cheating policy also applies to third-party Pokémon location services, like Pokévision, that intercept data from Niantic’s servers. The latter is the kind of forbidden activity that mewtwo_captured was doing.
Luckily, Proximus was able to resolve the issue with Niantic soon thereafter. The next day, the Proximus Facebook page let its users know the free access to Pokémon Go was restored — but only for its loyal subscribers, not for those who use pre-paid cards.
Players who were innocently using those pre-paid cards to play Pokémon Go are probably not very happy with mewtwo_captured, who managed to ruin it for the rest of them.
H/T Game Rant