Malware programmers are taking advantage by striking while the craze over Pokemon Go is in high gear. According to Google Play, these hackers uploaded a malware posing as a fake Pokemon Go app. This app when installed locks out users and prevents them from gaining access.
The fake Pokemon Go app is called Pokemon Go Ultimate, and it’s been a major security issue for Android smartphone owners. According to the experts from ESET, one of the antivirus providers for the Google-hosted marketplace, the app has been updated recently.
Now called PI Network, the fake Pokemon Go app locks out users and clicks on served ads in the background. It’s an attempt to monetize the malware to generate revenue for the hackers in question.
There’s been a large influx of fake Pokemon Go apps in the Google Marketplace, and it’s cause for alarm. Some of these fake malware apps are given benign names, in the attempt to fool users into installing them. Names like “Cheats for Pokemon Go” as well as misspelled apps like “Install Pokemongo” are all malware posing as gaming apps.
It’s an unfortunate side effect from the rousing popularity of Pokemon Go. In fact it’s recently been named the biggest mobile game in US history, having made the 22 million user mark. And it’s not the first malware app to pose under the fake Pokemon name either.
Experts from the security firm Proofpoint last week found a malware that was posing as Pokemon Go. The app functioned just like the official game, only it had a remote access tool embedded into the code called DroidJack. It allowed hackers to remotely take control of your phone and do whatever they wanted with it.
Many of these malware programs and fake Pokemon Go app are not available through Google Play, but rather third party installers. While most users are smart enough to avoid such third parties, many people are tempted to try their luck. The fact that Niantic Labs is holding off on international launch certainly doesn’t help matters.
The fake Pokemon Go app has been removed by Google, but the presence of malicious apps is sure to continue. Players or beginners who want to run Pokémon Go on their Android phone should download from Google Play only.
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