Millions of people have not just heard of Pokémon Go, but they also have started playing it in record numbers. For those unfamiliar, it is a downloadable game that creates a virtual map leading players to physical locations of virtual creatures. The game works by accessing the GPS and camera functions of smartphones and tablets.

Pokémon Go has been so popular that it set a record of 75 million downloads within the first four weeks of its launch date, according to SensorTower.com. SurveyMonkey says it is the most popular mobile video game in history with up to 21 million daily active users at its peak in the United States.

With great popularity, however, comes concern with security and safety. People playing the game may find themselves in unfamiliar locations; tripping or falling because they are not paying attention to where they are; and even getting in automobile accidents. Criminals, too, have figured out a way to lure unsuspecting players to steal valuables or cause harm.

Because a system is only as strong as its weakest link, any device connected to the cloud or internet may become an attack point for cybercriminals. Generally cyber-attacks are more sophisticated, harder to protect against and more costly than ever. Therefore, security precautions are critical to consumers and businesses.

With a record 6.4 billion connected devices currently in use around the globe and forecasts reaching 11.4 billion by 2018, it comes as no surprise that significant cybersecurity threats increase for both public and private networks and devices. In fact, many businesses have banned Pokémon Go from phones in the workplace.

With regard to security in downloading Pokémon Go, take care to ensure that any Google accounts do not allow access to email, Google Drive, search history, Google Maps history, photos and password reset. There’s also a risk that malicious Android (APK) files can give the app full control over the phone or tablet. Even if these settings are turned off, it is still possible to collect data from your device.

If you choose to use Pokémon Go be careful to:

  • Download the right game from a trusted source. Knock-off games are already available for download, putting malware on your device.
  • Know where you are. Avoid restricted or questionable areas such as a dark alley, construction site or private property. Stay away from places such as the police station or hospital to help avoid getting in the way.
  • Pay attention to the people and things around you. Knowing where you are and having patience will help allow others around you to stay safe also. Play the game with a friend who can help watch out for danger.
  • Don’t drive and play at the same time. It is important to follow all of the traffic rules to help keep you and others safe.

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