Central Bank of St. Louis

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  • Security concerns with Pokémon™ GO

    The new gaming craze of the season is Pokémon™ GO, a downloadable app for IOS and Android devices. With the recent spike of news and content about business drawing in large crowds of customers by having a PokéStop nearby, you ask yourself, “Are there any downsides to this?” Unfortunately, yes. There have been some big security concerns with the app.

    Pokemon Go security

    It has full access to your Gmail account
    In the game, you create an account through your Gmail or by visiting pokemongo.com. Gmail has become the most popular way to sign up for an account due to server problems when creating an account on pokemongo.com. With signing up through your Gmail, IOS users actually have to agree to give the game “full account access” to their Gmail account, and Android users don't even see the option of agreeing to this on their phone.

    With users having to give full access to play the game, many security questions have arisen on whether Pokémon GO could steal private confidential information from user's personal Gmail accounts. On Google Support they state that, “'Full account access' privilege should only be granted to applications you fully trust, and which are installed on your personal computer, phone, or tablet” [1]. In summary of this, many people are weary of downloading a game that needs full access to all of your private Gmail account, granting access to your photos, all emails, documents, and more. Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, says that this was a “mistake” and that they are currently working to fix the issue.

    What does this mean for users?
    For users, this security risk is much bigger than they realize. Until the account access permission is changed, users are susceptible to possible hackers. If a hacker was to make their way into the game, they could potentially gain access to all of your information (including passwords) to anything from your Facebook profile to your bank account.

    There have been hackers taking responsibility of causing the games servers to be down, but no reports of any users personal information being stolen or used yet. Always be cautious when giving any site or app access to any of your email or personal accounts, and constantly monitor your bank account activity. If you ever suspect something fishy with your credit, debit, or savings accounts, contact your bank immediately. Central Bank offers many security offers like chip technology, fraud alerts, Mastercard® Protection, and more. For more information about account security at Central Bank, visit our personal security page.

    Sources[1] Apps connected to your account, Google Support



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