Google, Niantic Project – Ingress augmented reality game has been hacked

UPDATED: This vulnerability is still active and was not fixed by Google, Niantic Project

Google, Niantic Project – Ingress app has been hacked during a security analysis of an Israeli’s cyber security researchers. The findings was combined into an automated system called CyberWarrior.

CyberWarrior developed by Israeli cyber security researcher – Eran Goldstein, as proof of concept (POC) in order to demonstrate the results of automated vulnerabilities exploitation of the threats and security breaches that were found during the security analysis of Google, Niantic Project – Ingress app.

Google, Niantic Project – Ingress game involve near-real time augmented reality by the need to take control over portals (real-locations) by physically moving between them which means Ingress players community will have to go around cities, places and sites in attempt to gain more power (XM’s), “hack”, take control or even attack Ingress portals.

Naturally, Ingress players must be physically near objects on the map to interact with them. The mobile client represents the player as a small arrow in the center of a 40-meter oval which represents the perimeter within which direct interaction is possible.

By simply configure any Ingress player id and token, CyberWarrior allows the Ingress player to play remotely and to perform different actions in the game includes:

  • Hacking portals
  • Attack portals
  • Create portals links
  • Create control fields
  • Recharge XM’s
  • Collect and use portal keys
  • And more…


CyberWarrior – Dashboard view


How CyberWarrior works?

At the beginning of this analysis we discovered how it is possible to manipulate the scanner module of Ingress app to allow mock locations (e.g. fake GPS location signals). By exploiting this weakness, CyberWarrior is able to travel between portals and to collect relevant portals data remotely.


CyberWarrior – Portals view

CyberWarrior uses that data further to perform different actions. In the “Events” view below we can see how CyberWarrior reports about every action performed on behalf of the Ingress player.


CyberWarrior – Events view

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