Pokémon Go Brings Physical, Data Security Threats to Your Company
So far this malware doesn't affect versions of Pokémon Go for iOS devices and it doesn't affect versions from the Google Play store, but because the app is only available in five countries, users elsewhere have to go to third-party sites. However, even users in places where the official download of Pokémon Go are available apparently are downloading it from third-party sites, either because their Android devices don't work with the Play store or because of performance issues. Either way, the malware is a significant problem, especially for employees who keep critical or proprietary information on their phones where Pokémon Go or the malware can find it. But that's not the only threat to the enterprise. John Reed, senior executive director for Robert Half Technology, warns that games such as Pokémon Go can hurt productivity if employers aren't careful about its use. "Any productivity loss would be on a case-by-case basis—sometimes mobile games can create a false sense of urgency for users, but employees can find a balance between their responsibilities and entertainment," Reed said. He noted that allowing the use of games such as this during downtime, such as lunchtime and breaks, can actually encourage creativity. But then there's the other side of security, which is keeping people out places where the public isn't allowed to wander. The New York Times has reported an influx of people in its building in search of game characters. Several federal buildings in Washington have reported visitors entering because of the game, rather than because they were on government business.One action companies can take, Wisniewski said, is to set policies for what apps can be run on mobile devices that also contain company data. He suggests making it a requirement that only apps obtained from the app stores of the phone company can be used. Neither Apple's App Store nor the Google Play store allow malware-infested apps, and while there have been occasional problems, it's still a safer way to get apps than finding them in the wild. And while you're setting mobile app policies, it's also probably important to require security software for mobile devices as a way to reduce the likelihood of malware infections that can threaten your network's integrity.
The problem with a game that's exploded in popularity in the way Pokémon Go has is 'people and companies not involved with the game don't know what to expect. In addition to the privacy concerns, the potential for malware and the problem of physical intrusions, people are simply showing up out of nowhere and then leaving in response to the game.