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How to Detect Pokémon Go Activity on Your Network

Pokémon Go Clients on Network

Pokémon Go – “Gotta catch’em all” (It’s not what you think!)

I don’t think anyone can have missed the phenomenon of Pokémon Go which has exploded into our lives over the last week or so. The objective is still the same, to capture ALL the Pokémon characters!

It’s a great news story as broadcasters scramble for headline stories,
Danger – Pokémon Go can seriously damage your health! Whether that’s the potential dangers of walking or driving while playing the game

Breaking News – “Kids have left their bedrooms” kids are actually going for walks this summer (motivated by hatching eggs within the game) rather than locked in their rooms playing computer games!

From a business perspective, we have also seen Boeing become the first corporate to ban the game, simply on the grounds of safety.

That got me thinking; in a work environment, Pokémon Go users are pretty easy to spot, as they walk along trance like staring at their phone…. there is clearly an addictive element to the game, but it’s no different to a lot of other computer games, media and social apps out there.

How to Detect Pokémon Go Activity on Your Network

A regular challenge we hear from Network Managers is around monitoring user’s “non-work related” online activities and the subsequent impact it has on, not only individual’s productivity, but also overall network performance. Network Managers are also concerned about the possibility of users downloading fake Pokémon Go apps. These do exist and when installed can introduce malware onto networks.

The good news is there is an effective, affordable solution for monitoring network activity – LANGuardian; LANGuardian enables Network Managers to use a SPAN (monitoring) port to monitor and report on network activities both internally (intranet servers and files shares) and externally (websites, cloud services and social media)

Easy to use; LANGuardian’s “deep packet inspection” provides the highest level of visibility into activity on the network. Its intuitive reporting and dashboards, drill down capabilities, and powerful searches provide extremely detailed information without requiring you to understand and interpret raw data packets

The old expression “You can’t manage, what you can’t see” is no longer a problem, thanks to LANGuardian we “Let you see, so you can manage” So in line with the Pokémon theme and from a LANGuardian view,

“Packets… Gotta catch’em all”

Detecting Pokémon Go activity with LANGuardian

The Pokémon Go application was developed in partnership with Niantic. When the app is loaded it communicates with the domain nianticlabs.com. All communications are secured and the good news is that it does not use a lot of bandwidth.

To track down Pokémon Go users on your network you just need to detect what clients are connecting to the nianticlabs.com domain. To do this on LANGuardian, you just need to use the NetFort search feature.

Niantic Labs

Enter nianticlabs.com in the website field, select a time range and then click on the search button. If you see any activity associated with this domain, drill down to reveal what IP addresses are associated with this. You can then use the LANGuardian Network Inventory reports to get associated MAC addresses if you want to block the clients from accessing your network.

Pokemon Client Drilldown

Active directory and/or RADIUS integration can also reveal any associated usernames. The 2 minute video below shows you the basics of what you need to do to track down Pokémon Go activity on your network.

To see LANGuardian in action, try our interactive demo here