Oct 05, 2016

    Beware of 'Pokemon Go' apps


    MORE malicious smartphone apps designed to steal users' personal information are being disguised as popular games, such as Pokemon Go.

    As of Aug 16, at least 1,575 apps have been found to be riding on the popularity of the augmented reality game.

    They claim to provide "strategy tips" or "in-game currency", according to Tokyo-based software security company Trend Micro.

    Among them, 238 apps were found to be malware designed to steal personal information or allow the device to be controlled remotely.

    Installing malware apps could lead to the theft of data such as contacts and phone call records, say experts.

    In some cases, the smartphone could be controlled remotely, phone calls could be recorded or the camera could be used to take photographs without the owner's knowledge.

    Trend Micro has detected a total of more than 15 million malicious apps in about six years leading up to June. Most are targeted at Android devices.

    MIT journalist Takeshi Miyata said Android users should install apps only from the Google Play Store and official downloading services provided by the mobile phone carriers.

    Jun Morimoto from Trend Micro said: "Always take note of the permissions an app requests, during installation."

    Many malicious apps ask for permissions they should not normally require.

    For instance, a fake Pokemon Go app asked the user for permission to access phone call records which the official app does not require.