‘Pokemon GO’ Malware Latest News & Update: Avoid Pirated Versions and Wait For Official Game Release

By Snooky Grawls , Updated Jul 15, 2016 02:45 AM EDT

News headlines have been filled with “Pokemon Go” related bits but mostly for all the wrong reasons. With the game released only to the Australia, New Zealand and the U.S., gamers from other regions have resorted to alternative but risky measures by trying to get hold of a copy from unofficial sites.

Since its release last July 6, “Pokemon Go” has popped up on third party sites. The problem is that getting hold of such from such sites carries the usual risk like malware and/or Trojan intrusion.

A Trojannized Pokemon Go app being distributed has been found, carrying the same legitimate APK available on third part sites like apkmirror.com. Upon installation, the app may seem harmless though the difference happens when special permissions are requested.

As far as the Android version is concerned, the game does not require any special access per McAfee. Such only happens when Android 6.0 or above is installed on the device.

The pirated version of the game have been found to include “DroidJackmalware”, a threat that can allow third parties to seize control of an owner’s device according to Yahoo. With the impending compromise and threats, Pokemon Go fans are urged to hold off and wait for the game to become available in their regions.

Michael Petit, head of mobility for Check Point Software Technologies was happy enough to share his thoughts and some tips on how to avoid the Pokemon Malware threat. Here are two questions he answered via Blasting News.

How did the Pokemon Go malware crop up? What harm can it do?

“The unofficial apps include Remote Access Tools where attackers can take control of user’s phone. This resulted into additional risks such as attackers pushing more apps unknowingly and without permission. It can potentially root the user's device and have full control. This malware for Pokemon is predominant because the attackers want to capitalize on the popularity of the game. Apps especially those from 3rd party stores carry the same risks, similar to the case of “HummingBad”.

How can mobile phone owners avoid the malware threat?

For the time being, users outside of US and ANZ are advised to wait. If they do seek out "unofficial versions" - it is important that they are aware of the risks involved. The game is set to enter our shores in a few days so users will get to experience the game together with the rest of the world soon.

He adds that due to the threat and vulnerability mobile phones could eventually be in, companies may need to do the necessary steps in applying necessary mobile threat prevention software. This allows them to avoid malware threats and other unwanted compromising situations.

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