Captcha Does Not Block Pokemon Go Scanners, New Encryption Does

Pokemon Go is putting the spotlight on how weak widely used security technology really is. Niantic has enlisted Google security technology to block 3rd party developers from accessing Pokemon Go servers and extract the valuable location of spawning Pokemon. In addition to that, Niantic also relies on Google’s SafetyNet to block the Pokemon Go app from running on rooted devices.

Update: Niantic has released a new encryption of the protocol blocking all scrapers. It is not just Captcha now the 3rd party developers such as the creator of FastPokeMap have to deal with now. It is another reverse engineering job. They need to find out how the new encryption works before any Pokemon Go scanner or bot is going to work again. This can take days.

Both security technologies can be circumvented. Running apps on rooted devices that require SafetyNet verification as been possible before Pokemon Go. Before solutions that hide rooted have been known by relatively small group, now millions more use these techniques so they can run Pokemon on their rooted smartphone.

This attention and wide spread forces Google to improve their security technology. This happened earlier this week with SafetyNet. Solutions like Magisk stopped working. This changed has not just affected Pokemon Go trainers, but anyone who was running Magisk for instance to use Android Pay on rooted phone.

There are already methods to circumvent the new improved SafetyNet and Magisk is getting an update that will deal with the changes. This means there will be another round of SafetyNet changes coming soon. Google can’t give up the fight. Business partners including banks will come down on them. They already will have increased the pressure on Google.

The situation with reCaptcha is no different. Yesterday we reported that FastPokeMap, the largest Pokemon scanner, is going to fold, but things already changed. The creator of FastPokeMap found a viable solution to deal with the Captcha. First he increased the number of worker accounts significantly from the 500,000 the service used. This reduces the number of captchas FPM triggers. Yesterday they still had 10,000 captchas per second. Secondly, they made a deal with a Captcha solving service to solve the captchas they hit. The end solution is to redirect the captchas to the 15 million daily users of FastPokeMap. This is not trivial and will take some hacking.

Captcha solver and captcha solving services have been around since a long time, but now they get a lot of attention becaues of Pokemon Go. Not just large scale scanners have to deal with captchas. Anybody who is running a personal scanner or bot needs to deal with them and they do with similar methods as FPM. The fact that you can circumvent Google’s reCaptcha with a “earn money online” service scheme makes Google look bad.

Pokemon Go is going to make the web more secure by forcing Google to make its security solutions better. Banking and online payment services should lead that charge and not a game. More Pokemon Go News.

Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus is Incredible for Web and Social Media

I have no talent for making good photos. I took once a DSLR class, but that did not help. I just snap and hope for the best. This is why I use my iPhone only for making photos since the last 2 years. As reported earlier, my black iPhone 7 Plus arrived yesterday earlier than expected. It is actually perfect timing as Apple just released the public beta of iOS 10.1 with the new portrait mode feature.

I installed the iOS 10.1 beta right away after getting the iPhone 7 Plus configured. The highlight of this iOS beta is the portrait mode feature. With the easy to use camera mode you can snap photos with a blurred background, so called bokeh. So far the bokeh effect is a feature mostly available in DSLR cameras.

When you select Portrait mode the display shows a depth effect label. Only if yellow than the depth effect is at work. The object or person you want to focus on needs to be within 2.5m.

I first did a test on the Apple Watch on my desk. This test shoot immediately made clear that you need a lot of light for a good photo. As the blur is not optical, but algorithmic, you get washout effects on the edges of the object your focusing on. I headed outside as the sun was peaking through the clouds. The results have been dramatically better in sunlight. Sharp lines made the object in focus pop out like the lion and mermaid you see in the photo gallery.

The iPhone 7 Plus Portrait mode is an incredible way to snap photos with the cool bokeh effect for web publishing and social media. For great hi-res photos, everything would need to be perfect. Professional photographers will definitely want to stick to DSLR cameras. If you only need low-res photos for web publishing or social media and you are like me not into using DSLR, the iPhone 7 Plus Portrait mode is incredible.

The feature is still in beta. We do not know if Apple’s engineers have still room for improvement and make the low light performance better. A great feature to have would be the ability to zoom in portrait mode.

An annoying limitation is that you cannot zoom in portrait mode for some reason.

The iPhone 7 Plus is in high demand and ships with a 2 to 3 week delay. The Jet Black model is delayed until November. Apple released the new iPhone 7 on Friday, September 16, 2017. Apple is likely selling more iPhone 7 than expected by industry insiders and analysts. The iPhone 7 is what the iPhone 6 should have been. The iPhone 7 looks like a real Apple product. The iPhone 6 with its ugly antenna lines and steampunk camera lens did never feel right. The black iPhone 7 Plus has solved both issues. The camera lens is still protruding, but the way Apple solved the necessity of this it is acceptable.

The iPhone 7S must be really out of this world to make me upgrade from the iPhone 7 Plus. It was a very easy decision to get rid of my iPhone 6S. No regrets besides a whole in my bank account.