Many people are using the fun new "Pokémon GO" exercise application on their mobile devices. The application based on the classic Nintendo game uses groundbreaking augmented reality based on GPS technology to track a user's progress, and place Pokémon randomly in their path. Pokémon GO is especially popular at mapped Points of Interest, called Pokéstops, at places like Museums, Libraries, Schools, Colleges, Parks and Churches, where "freebies" often appear such as Pokéballs, eggs, potions and other power-ups. Businesses can sign up for a Pokéstop, and players can make in-app purchases of "Pokémon Lures" which allow other users to collect Pokémon wherever they're activated.
According to Apple, users are spending more time engaged with the new Pokémon GO application than even social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat. Many sites are offering so-called "tutorials" or "hacks" built in to unofficial Pokémon GO downloads. Even some of the well-known gaming websites are offering them, particularly for Android based phones.
Unfortunately for Android users in particular, many of these applications "side-load" malware applications that modifies their Android core security settings, allowing their device's OS to install other untrusted applications, or install rootkits such as Droidjack, a backdoor to your phone's operating system, or applications like Pi Network which locks your phone according to Anti-Virus company, Eset. Eset also reports that one popular 3rd Party Pokémon application, "Guide & Cheats for Pokémon Go" installs scareware, fake virus alerts, and possibly even ransomware.
Since Pokémon GO accesses your GPS data, your Google account data (including address book) and even your payment information (if you make In-App Purchases,) it is also worth bearing in mind the following security concerns and taking steps to address them:
1. If you plan on installing Pokémon GO to your personal phone, make sure that you only download the authorized application from Google Play Store or iTunes.
2. Do not download any "Tips", "Tricks", "Instructions" or "Guides" to your mobile device. There are many useful tips available at reputable technology websites, especially since the craze has spread into the mainstream. If you want help, use your Google skills.
3. Read the application's terms and conditions and be extremely mindful of what you are agreeing to.
4. Do not use your personal Gmail account to log in. Either use a burner Google account or sign up as Pokémon Trainer at the application vendor site using the app itself with a burner email address.
5. Do not use the Pokémon GO app when you are operating a motor vehicle or bicycle. Do not cross the road without checking both directions, and do not pause in a roadway to collect a Pokémon, no matter how rare it may be. The miracle of life is far more rare than any Pokémon you may be able to catch.
6. Do not trespass onto private property when trying to catch a Pokémon. Even if you see a Pokémon alert, you may be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.
7. Be aware of your surroundings when searching for Pokémon and do not just stare your phone without knowing hazards around you. Watch out where you are walking.
8. Always use caution when sharing your location -- strangers may be able to see your location data. Do not use the application at places you wouldn't want to become public; such as yoru doctors' office, your bank, place of work, your home, etc. Protect your identifiable information from would-be hackers with the same caution you use for protecting your financial data.
9. Do not walk at night in areas with poor lighting, and always travel in a group for safety. Groups are also more fun, and you can even make personal challanges with your friends!
10. Enjoy the outdoors and the fun new way of exercising and making new friends!