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High profile Pokémon Go player wants account back after devastating hack | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


UPDATE 14/3/24: Top Pokémon Go player FleeceKing has had access to his account restored by the game’s developer Niantic.

FleeceKing confirmed the news via social media last night and said he was happy with the result, but couldn’t “get into the details of the situation”.

Today, Niantic has confirmed to Eurogamer it assisted in the account being returned to the high-profile player, and had said its game’s internal security wasn’t at fault. What was the cause? Interestingly, Niantic says the hack has triggered a push to “further strengthen” the game’s account recovery protocol – potentially suggesting the hacker used this method to gain access.

“We can confirm that we’ve been able to restore FleeceKing’s access to his account,” a Niantic spokesperson said. “After investigating, we can confirm that there isn’t any systemic security flaw, and we’re also using this situation to further strengthen our account recovery protocol. We want all Trainers to have a safe experience and we take protecting people’s accounts extremely seriously. We encourage all Trainers to follow our advice on keeping accounts secure here.”

Neither Niantic or FleeceKing have officially commented on whether the prized Pokémon lost during the hack – maliciously deleted by the perpetrator – have been returned. But players with FleeceKing on their friend lists have noted the player is once again in possession of his beloved Shiny Mareep with perfect stats, seemingly confirming some kind of account rollback has taken place.

“Thank you to the Niantic team for helping,” FleeceKing concluded, linking to Niantic’s own help page on keeping your Pokémon Go account secure. “Let this be a lesson to us all to be as familiar as we can be with security and safety.”


ORGINAL STORY 14/3/24:
A high-profile Pokémon Go player and streamer has had his game account hacked and some of his rarest Pokémon deleted, ruining countless hours of play.


FleeceKing holds the Guinness World Record for being the first player to hit Pokémon Go’s current Level 50 cap. After playing the game since 2017, he’s caught more than 2 million Pokémon to date.


Last night, FleeceKing reported his account as being hacked after footage was posted to social media platform X showing someone else using his account – and deleting FleeceKing’s favourite Pokémon.


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The footage of the hack was posted with the caption: “Niantic you servers are shit #PokemonGO”.


“My account has been hacked,” FleeceKing wrote. “[Someone is] deleting my Pokémon, bragging about it.


“No one has my account details, I don’t know how and why this has happened. I am at a complete loss for words and am completely shaken up and sad.”


Questions remain over how the hacker obtained access to FleeceKing’s account, though they claim not to have actually hacked “anyone” – Niantic itself, or FleeceKing’s own account details.


FleeceKing appeared to suggest he had already raised the issue with Pokémon Go developer Niantic and had some form of response, as he continued by saying the company was seeking to restore his access.


“The Niantic team is working on getting it back,” he continued. “But with all honesty, don’t know if I’ll have the motivation to play and continue after this situation.”


It’s unclear if the account will be returned to FleeceKing as-is, with many of his prize creatures deleted, or whether it can be rolled back to its prior state.


Niantic has previously stated that deleted Pokémon cannot be recovered – and there have been numerous examples in the past where deletions of Pokémon (whether malicious or accidental) have been denied by Niantic customer support.


It’ll be interesting to see if Niantic itself bends the rules here for a high profile player such as FleeceKing, or whether its stance on refusing to return deleted Pokémon will stand.


Eurogamer has contacted Niantic for more.


“Sad that people genuinely get joy out of destroying other peoples lives in any way, and celebrating destruction on others,” FleeceKing concluded. “I’m an emotional wreck.”

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