You can't escape it. No matter where you go--shops, office buildings, universities, even churches and cemeteries--you'll run into (sometimes literally run into) zombie-like humans wandering aimlessly and staring at their mobile phones. They're not reading texts or deeply engrossed in the weather radar.
I'd be willing to bet you a Pikachu or a super-rare Mewtwo that they're playing Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go is a smartphone app that allows players to "catch" virtual monsters at real-world locations across the globe. Once captured, the creatures can be trained and/or traded for virtual items. The premise is based on the Pokemon video and card game phenomenon of the middle to late 1990s.
Sure, there are undeniable benefits of a game like Pokemon Go. Instead of sitting in a dark room playing a video game alone, players (of all ages) are outside (at all hours) walking around and meeting other (real, not virtual) people. They're encountering landmarks and businesses they might not otherwise visit--and helping the economy by driving sales at all kinds of commercial Pokestops.
However, this virtual reality is creating some real-world security problems for users. Predictably, cybercriminals are using their powers for evil, so users and device owners should be hyper-aware of these potential cybersecurity risks of playing Pokemon Go:
Compromising your Google credentials
Inc. reports that because the Pokemon site is not accepting new signups (this is a VERY popular game, guys) new users must use their Google credentials to log in. Security researchers have reported that when some users recently used their Apple device to log in through Google, the game and its developer gained full access to their Google accounts. Theoretically, a developer with full permissions could send emails in your name or access your photos.
Rather than blindly agreeing to all of the app's terms and conditions in your haste to get logged in and hit the streets, take a moment to review what permissions you are giving the developer. Although the reports above were supposedly due to a short-term glitch in the software, there's no guarantee that another bug won't occur.
Beware of third-party apps
According to CNBC, bad guys are taking advantage of the unprecedented Pokemon Go demand by wrapping the app in malicious code and selling it on unapproved but easy-to-access platforms. When this version of the app is downloaded, the malware starts gathering sensitive information from your device. This information could be used to hack your bank accounts, make social media posts in your name, or commit other insidious crimes.
To avoid this risk, be positively sure that you are downloading Pokemon Go from a legitimate site: either the official Android or iOS appstores. If it's not available, your best bet is to be patient and not turn to an unknown site for faster access.
In addition to these cyber risks, there are also reports of Pokemon Go players blindly following their phone into traffic, being ambushed by robbers at Pokestops, and trampling obliviously through funerals or church services. As with the cybersecurity concerns, common sense, patience and mindfulness will go a long way in protecting Pokemon Go trainers on their quest to catch 'em all!