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Pokemon Go; The Dream of Gamers and Hackers!

Pokemon Go has reached 10 million downloads while it has been just a week since its release on 6th July, this is enough to show how viral the game is going in the current time.

Pokemon Go; The Dream of Gamers and HackersWhile you will be out collecting Pokemon this week, a company which was once was a part of Google will be busy collecting and storing sensitive information about you. Pokemon Go is developed by Niantic and over the course of just a few days since the release of the game, the company has collected a gold mine of sensitive information about its users. The game features augmented reality and encourages the player to out in public places; this is how they collect cartoon monsters and also get to visit landmarks.

According to a publication made by Forbes, the game is about to surpass daily Twitter users on Android devices. Each and every user of the game is providing Niantic a wealth of information about their location and some other data that the game collects. The information thus collected has apparently made Niantic’s database of personal information a very attractive target for hackers, Cyber criminals, and corporations. According to Gary Miliefsky, “When Niantic hits 25 to 30 million mark, they will be the best target for hackers and are going to be breached, at present, they have 10 million users,”.

The game asks for permissions related to a vast amount of information, which includes user’s camera, access to GPS location, Contacts and access to contents on the SD card, not to mention that the game also needs an active WiFi or GPS signal if the user wishes to play the game.

Meanwhile, Niantic’s privacy policy gives the company broad discretion for using the said information, including the fact that they could sell and share the information with third parties and even store the information in foreign locations with lax privacy legislation.

I think what is explained above should give a pause to the potential users before they decide to jump over the Poke-Wagon. With the fact becoming evidently clear now, that the permission screen which provides the user with a list of permissions, does not provide the user with adequate notice of the fact that how the information is collected and used by the app.

If past event are taken into account, then even US Governments database has been breached by the hackers. And if the US Government can keep the hackers out then it is highly doubtful that a small startup in San Francisco will be able to safeguard its user data.

Just a few days ago Niantic was just a startup with an ambitious aim to create most lucrative smartphone app ever. Niantic has been widely successful in its ambitious goals but unfortunately, even the company isn’t aware of the threats that lie ahead to user data. They have to keep the data safe. Otherwise, millions of Pokemon trainers will be left vulnerable.