Pokémon Go : Protecting Yourself As You Play
A Symantec Security Response
A worldwide craze at the moment, Pokémon Go, seems to be taking over smartphones everywhere. Unlike your typical smartphone game, this one uses augmented reality – a blend of real life and technology, using real-time GPS locations, geocaching technology and the world around you. Needless to say, cybercriminals are looking to cash in on this huge opportunity in a variety of ways.
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The latest Symantec research indicates that cyber criminals have found a number of ways to trick and scam Pokémon Go players while on their quest to become Pokémon masters. From free PokéCoin scams and fake versions of the mobile game, to Pokémon Go cheaters and permission and privacy issues, there are a handful of risks that players should be aware of.
Look out for trojanised versions
Just days after the official Pokémon Go App hit the market, researchers from Proofpoint discovered a Trojanised version of the app. When downloading the app, be sure to only download apps from trusted sources such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Guard against online scams
With all popular games, users are sure to scour the Internet for cheats and hacks online. Scammers are already on top of this – fake websites have popped up offering Pokécoins and other powerups from the game in exchange for filling out surveys or visiting questionable websites.
Surveys may seem harmless but they can collect a lot of personally identifiable information about you, which could be used in identity theft.
Review app permissions
It’s always important to evaluate what an app wants to access when it is installed. Currently, some iOS users and some Android users do not get asked permission to access anything. If signing in via Google, you are potentially allowing the game full access to your Google account. This means that the app has access to your contacts, e-mail, Google Drive documents, and more.
Pokémon Masters should also keep the following tips in mind to reduce their chances of falling victim to scams and attacks.
- Avoid downloading Pokémon Go from unofficial marketplaces, as attackers can use these sites to deliver malware disguised as legitimate apps;
- Install the Pokémon Go update that removes the request for full access to Google accounts;
- Stay away from game-cheating tools, as they could be fraudulent or may contain malware;
- Keep your smartphone’s firmware updated to prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited;
- Use strong and unique passwords for your Pokémon Go account;
- Install a suitable mobile security app, such as Norton, to protect your device and data.
For more details on how to stay safe, read Symantec’s official blog post on this, Pokémon Go: How to protect your device from scams, malware, and privacy issues.
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Headline image, courtesy Symantec, is of a scam site which asks users to confirm they are human before they can access a non-existent PokeCoin hacking tool.