Pokémon Go and Mobile Security Threats

llRecently it is fairly hard to find anyone unaware of Pokémon Go – which is definitely saying something about the popularity of the game app. The guess is that such popularity can be explained by the rare (and successful) mix of reality and virtual in one small app.

Surely, most of us have already seen those crazy people trying to catch a Pokémon at the street, in a mall, in your grandmother’s garden. Well, you can hardly miss it as your phone starts sending vibrations as soon as you approach one. The fancy part of the game is that no matter where you are – in Lisbon’s Alfama or Aukland, New Zealand – your  Pokémon will be (as if real) catching #28 tram, or riding a ship. The more of them you collect by capturing, the cooler.

Quite fascinating, it is. Right?

The Sad Part

However, there is a silver lining. One of the things you have to do in the first place to play is to log in with a Gmail account. Then, the app gets your location data – well, this one is essential, otherwise how else you are going to get all these realistic creatures in those definite locations? By logging in, you grant the app full access to your personal data… and here is the question – what information is actually being collected by the app?

Here are several things to understand. The first one is not to grant full access to your personal information to anyone.  Most users do not clearly understand the mechanism as well as consequences of such apps’ functioning; thus a great number of problems may arise.

Many have heard about identity theft, however, it is only when it happens, we do realize the scale of a problem. Personal data – from health to finance – is not something we want others to be aware of; when it is lost, it can be fraught with serious consequences.

About 1 billion of personal records are lost annually in accordance to official resources; and the situation isn’t likely to improve. Sad fact is that we often make it accessible on our own by allowing such apps as Pokémon Go into our smartphones.

ddAnother study shows that about 43% of all software companies faced with identity theft issues recently and hackers are getting better and better in their ways to get personal data (FBI have numerous reports about email phishing campaigns and etc.) In many cases it is not anything complicated taking into consideration the fact that people grant access to their data by themselves simply by being unaware that a simple click and login/password procedure opens the doors wide to viruses, and consequently, to any third parties who gets your name, financial and private data in an instant.

Data breaches can never be harmless, no matter on a personal or a company level. Thus, it is quite essential to learn some tricks about security and use them.

What to Do

Kaspian - Keynote smalllcGetting back to Pokémon Go, here are some things to remember when you download and install any app to your smartphone:

Gaming is fun, let’s make sure it is safe for our kids. Don’t permit access to your personal data and privacy. Grant third-party applications limited access to your data and take precautions to protect your family from the possibility of being hacked.

  • First of all, use two-factor authentication. This refers especially to the apps that deal with finances – e.g. banking apps, online shops and etc. Such measure allows higher level of security and your financial data will be much safer.
  • Antimalware can also come handy. It won’t save you from a professional hack attempt, however, it will definitely keep away any unwanted apps and viruses, as well as intrusive spyware.
  • Firewall and security apps. Those will help to keep away any attempts at security breach at least by blocking them.
  • One more thing not to forget is to have a feature that allows remove blocking of a device. Dead useful in case of stealth.

To Cap It All

Pokémon Go is not that dangerous as any other app that you download to your device. It is fun to some extent and for some period of time it is likely to go on being popular. For those who haven’t joined this fun – make sure you take all the above mentioned precautions into consideration.