Niantic Labs sues hackers who help players cheat in Pokémon Go

Niantic Labs has filed a lawsuit against a group of hackers that are allegedly behind hacked versions of Pokémon Go and Ingress, which give players an unfair advantage in the mobile games.

The lawsuit targets Global++, which the developer claims is an “association of hackers” behind unauthorized versions of Pokémon Go and Ingress named PokeGo++ and Ingress++. The hacked apps allow players to cheat, while also infringing on its intellectual property rights, Niantic Labs said in its complaint. The developer also claims that the group has earned money by selling subscriptions to the apps.

Niantic Labs names Ryan “ElliotRobot” Hunt, described as the leader of the group and the main developer of the hacked apps, and Alen “iOS n00b” Hundur, who helps develop the apps and promotes them on YouTube, in the lawsuit. The legal action also includes 20 other members of Global++ that have not yet been personally identified.

The developer is hoping for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit, which will require Global++ to immediately stop distributing the hacked apps and working on reverse engineering the code to its games.

The timing of the lawsuit coincides with the upcoming launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic Labs’ next major project that is already undergoing beta testing in New Zealand and Australia. Niantic Labs claims that Global++ has already created Potter++, which the developer said will threaten the success of the game.

The lawsuit against Global++ is the latest move by Niantic Labs to crack down on Pokémon Go cheaters, which have been a problem since almost as soon as the game launched in 2016. The developer has been bringing down the banhammer against players who were caught cheating through methods such as location spoofing and hacked apps, such as the ones created by Global++.

Last year, Niantic Labs also started deleting Pokémon from the accounts of players who used third-party services for location spoofing to catch them.

With the lawsuit against Global++, Niantic Labs is protecting its multi-million dollar investment in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, as it looks to prevent cheaters from populating the game as they have done in Pokémon Go.

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