Pokémon GO raises security concerns


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Security concerns with the new Pokemon GO app are sparking privacy issues after millions of downloads.

“When you have such a wide adoption in such a short period of time security becomes a big risk,” said Elder Family Endowed Chair and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of New Haven, Abe Baggili.

Most people are signing up with Pokemon GO with Gmail. According to experts that could put your information at risk.

Baggili says if certain permissions are enabled, an app could have access to your information. Cyber security experts tell News 8 Pokemon GO is under fire for not warning users about the permissions on download and how much access the app has to personal information.

The app developer, Niantic Labs, released a statement,

We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon Go only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon Go’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon Go needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”

Baggili says until all the issues are fixed, it might be best to hold off downloading the app. “I personally wouldn’t use it right now until security issues are fixed and the company releases a public statement,” he said.

If you can’t wait to play Baggili adds that your best bet is to create a fake email account. “Create an alias email with another phone that would allow you to play that game and just use that phone for that specific purpose.”

Baggili told News 8 an app creator could have access to your information long after you uninstall the app.

“If the app has access to the stuff when you originally installed it could be that they actually already took the information and stored it on their servers,” said Baggili.

Do your homework before downloading apps on your smartphone.

“Any app that you download specifically apps that might attempt to take permissions from your phone that they don’t need is of issue. So the next time that you download an app look very closely at the permissions that their requesting from your phone,” added Baggili.

Malware infected versions of Pokemon GO are surfacing on third party sites. Baggelli says make sure you’re downloading the app from the app store.

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