Pokémon Go – the hidden risks of today’s technology
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the facts; the augmented reality game has swept the world by storm. Pokémon Go has become the most popular downloadable app around, and launched in Hong Kong on July 25th. You’d be hard pressed to walk down a city street now without seeing a cluster of people enthralled by their smartphones and tablets, immersed in an alternate reality reminiscent of their favourite childhood game.
However, recent reports warn that this growing international phenomenon isn’t necessarily all fun and games. To engage in a full-fledged poke-battle, users of the game must enable geo-location tagging services on their phone, and cyber security specialists have warned that this leaves devices susceptible to malware and hacking, with the data stored on mobile devices open and accessible, including emails, photos, documents and anything obtained from a Google account if a user grants ‘full access’.
Malware can create rogue versions of the game, masquerading as an innocent extension of the millennial franchise when in reality, something sinister could be lurking around the corner – and no, we’re not talking about any looming villainous cartoons.
Opinions aside, it’s hard to refute the fact that this has brought the wider issue of data privacy to the fore – people and corporations alike should be vigilant to new technologies and the risk they may carry. What’s more, geo-location has also helped advertising companies target consumers more specifically than ever before, with some analysts warning that behaviour and activity reports obtained through unsecure networks will be sold on to advertisers. So Pokémon fans, take note; you better catch ‘em all, before the hackers catch you.