Amid Pokemon GO Concerns, John McAfee Sends Wakeup Call

Pokemon GO has fallen under a ton of controversy, almost all of which isn't unique to the app in and of itself, but has a unique twist to it, such as happening sooner in the app's popularity cycle, happening more often, or happening in a strange way. Uber drivers have long made enough scary headlines to warrant observation and made people wary of the service, but millions of people use it despite this. Likewise, Pokemon GO has seen robberies, car crashes, and even unaware trainers walking off of cliffs, but people still play. One risk that has been harped on extensively, even by U.S. government figures, is security. The game has some questionable permissions, and iOS users temporarily had to cede full view of their Google accounts in order to use them to log in.

While all of this is a bit on the scary side, security expert John McAfee has gone ahead and said what many a savvy industry insider have been saying about smartphones and the services on them for years now; "wake up". When it comes to security risks to think about, McAfee makes it clear that the hot new game should be pretty low on most people's lists. Given that Google, Apple, Samsung and many others have access to nearly every action we take on our devices, if they so please, McAfee's point rings quite true for most. As a salient point to touch on, he even lets fly that millions of users have authenticated apps with permissions they don't need, such as making phone calls, just to use the app. He minces no words, calling these apps "malware" and saying that he does not know of any smartphone suppliers that don't package some form of malware on phones.

"Malware is anything that spies on you, that digs into your life and finds out who your friends are," McAfee says, challenging users to not only think twice before reading another headline about Pokemon GO in particular having lax security, but to think twice and think carefully about what permissions an app needs before granting them, and to do some homework. As an example, popular Play Store online RPG Avabel Online asks for access to users' camera, contacts, and phone, but never uses any of these things in-game. This is not a new or unique issue, and both Apple and Google are allegedly aware of it. Thus, check out the permissions before downloading that hot new app or game, and if they seem suspicious, do some research. If you absolutely must use a risky app, users on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and up can disable permissions in a granular fashion, though this may break some apps.

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