3 Potential Problems with Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go has taken over the world in less than a week. But don’t let your virtual reality fun this summer be ruined by the threats plaguing the software
Let’s get this out of the way first: Pokémon Go is fun. There’s no denying this. You can find colorful, digital creatures of all shapes and sizes in your background, your office, your shower and around your city. You can’t even go outside without crossing at least one person playing the game. But, like so many uber-popular apps, Pokémon Go has its problems—both in the real world and the virtual world. Here, we’ll cover three threats Pokémon Go users should address so you can stop worrying and focus on catching ‘em all:
1. Real-World Crimes
Pokémon Go encourages players to visit so-called Poké Stops in the real world where they can grab useful items for gameplay. Unfortunately, some nefarious players have used these pinned locations in the United States to rob unsuspecting players at gunpoint. There’s no problem in enjoying this nostalgia-filled throwback to your childhood, but keep the adult in you aware of your surroundings and alert when you’re exploring.
Only go where you know you won’t be alone (such as a popular park), avoid Poke Stops that make you feel uncomfortable or are found in unfamiliar places, and avoid trespassing on other people’s property. As game creator, Niantic Labs, says: “We encourage all people playing Pokémon GO to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places.”
2. Pervasive Personal Data
To play the game, users have to share their locations and personal data with the app. The game’s creator reserves the right to do with that information whatever they see fit—they can even share it with third parties if they see the need. In fact, within the first week of its release, some users reported the game having full access to information on the Google accounts used to sign in – a bug that has since been fixed.
While this in itself isn’t cause for alarm, and it isn’t entirely uncommon for apps like Pokémon Go to collect user data, it helps to be careful. This particular app’s massive popularity might mean that you’ll need to take extra precautions when giving out permissions to collect personal info – such as using a burner email address specifically for playing the game.
3. Crafty Malware
Malware creators started targeting Pokémon Go almost immediately after it first was released. A remote access tool called “DroidJack” that allowed hackers to take over players’ phones was detected early on in an online file storage service. Although that particular piece of malware hasn’t been reported to have invaded users’ phones yet, it likely will be only one of many created with the intention of duping Pokemon players.
Hackers have also created plenty of ingenious schemes, posting messages on blogs about ways generate unlimited Pokécoins. Remember, if you read about anything online that seems too good to be true, it usually is.
With such a high-stakes and fast-paced game play, the last you want to be doing when playing Pokémon Go is worrying about your virtual safety. Focus on capturing that elusive Abra or hatching a Snorlax by installing PSafe Total. The free software protects your phone from threats of viruses, malware, and malicious attacks, while also boosting the speed of your Internet.