Technology
Pokemon Go raises users' security, safety concerns
The newly-launched augmented reality (AR) game Pokemon Go poses a great data security threat to users as the app gets "full access" to their Google account, allowing the gaming company to read all emails, a new report said on Wednesday.
 
According to security software company Trend Micro, for some users of iPhones, signing into the game with the most convenient option -- using your Google account -- allows the gaming company to read your emails. 
 
"Other risks this game exposes are physical risks to actual life and limb," the report said.
 
While enjoying the game, the user is exposed to many threats and introduces whole new categories of life risks.
 
Firstly, Pokemon Go's real-world gameplay has been linked to armed robberies as criminals have used the game to locate and lure intended targets. 
 
Secondly, there are reports of trespassing as enthusiastic players try to "find" and "capture" creatures on others' property. In the US, gamers trespassing on others' property face a real threat of physical harm from property owners who may use force to protect their property. 
 
"And of course, there's the risk of injury or death from not paying attention to your surroundings as you play the game," the report added.
 
Thirdly, the users can meet an accident while they are indulged in gaming. 
 
The game requires users' full attention immediately to the exclusion of all else. 
 
Although, there is a warning each time you start the game to be sure to pay attention but that warning is quickly overlooked.
 
In the US, where the game is very popular, police departments and safety agencies have warned players of Pokemon Go to stay safe and alert as hysteria over the popular mobile game swells.
 
Since launch, the game has topped 7.5 million downloads and pulled in an average of $1.6 million a day in revenue, according to estimates from research firm SensorTower.
 
"Agencies have urged players to stay aware of their surroundings and be careful," USA Today reported.
 
This is how the game works.
 
It uses the GPS capabilities of your device in conjunction with Google Maps to "place" creatures in real world locations, which you then try to find them using your device as a guide. 
 
Once you are in proximity to the "placed" creature, you then use your device's camera to "view" the creature and try to "capture" it. 
 
"This works with you using your device as a viewer to 'see' the creature near you by looking at an image from the camera with the creature superimposed on it. You then 'capture' the creature for points by throwing Poké Balls at it on the device's screen," Trend Micro stated.
 
The Pokemon Go is available on Google Playstore and Apple's App Store in the US, Japan and Australia, Philippines, New Zealand and is coming soon in India, Singapore, Germany, Taiwan, Indonesia and Britain.
 
However, a mirror file is available on the internet and people in India are already downloading the game from insecured sources. 
 
The Pokemon Go Plus device which is a wrist watch will be available in August, informed apkqueen.com, the website which is providing link to download the game.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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News outlets worried about employees' use of Facebook, Twitter
Big news organisations who first embraced social media use at workplace are now seeing more risks than benefits in employees' use of Facebook and Twitter, reveals an interesting study.
 
Realising the risks of social media, major news organisations have created guidelines for employees on how to use these outlets, separate from the companies' existing codes of conduct.
 
Jayeon Lee, assistant professor of journalism at Pennsylvania-based Lehigh University, found that news organisations are more concerned about the current social media environment than excited about it at least when it comes to their employees.
 
“I was wondering what approaches news organisations take when it comes to their own employees' social media uses," Lee said.
 
“In particular, knowing both positive and negative implications of journalists' social media uses, I wanted to see if their guidelines were dominantly positive, negative, or neutral in their framing of the implications,” she added.
 
Overall, Lee found that the guidelines focus primarily on the risks and challenges presented by the use of social media rather than the opportunities and advantages for media.
 
"As some media critics point out, overreaching rules can stifle creativity and morale and even discourage overall social media use itself," she explained in a paper set to be published in the journal The Communication Review.
 
The study looked at eight US news organisations - The New York Times, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR - and three British news outlets - BBC, The Times and The Daily Telegraph.
 
According to the findings, news organisations are most concerned about: accuracy, breaking objectivity, inappropriate online behaviours and harming their principles and credibility.
 
Accuracy - sourcing or redistributing false information from social media without sufficient fact verification - was the most frequently raised topic and accounted for 17.8% of the total sentences studied.
 
“The results show that the prevention-focused approach is more common than I would have predicted," Lee said.
 
"Although I expected that the guidelines would include various warnings related to risky social media activities, I was surprised to find little comment about how to use social media wisely or effectively to derive full benefit from it,” she commented.
 
Lee recognised that news organizations are actively utilizing various social media to reach a wider audience and build brand loyalty.
 
“However, it seems they are keen on keeping their own employees from actively engaging in social media,” she added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Open public Wi-Fi networks boon for hackers to steal sensitive data
If you are a frequent business traveller and spend most of your time away from the safe internet boundaries of your office or home, be warned. Public Wi-Fi networks -- at the hotel lobby, in the spa, at the poolside or inside a shopping mall -- are not at all secure for official work, sensitive data sharing or transferring funds.
 
According to a latest report by Russia-based software security group Kaspersky Lab, business travellers, particularly senior executives, are more likely to be deprived of valuable private and corporate data than money as they travel abroad.
 
One in five persons has been a target of cyber crime while abroad and a third (31%) of them are senior business managers, the report said.
 
"The biggest threat to public Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of talking directly with the Wi-Fi network, you are sending key information to the hacker who then relays it on," Lucknow-based social media analyst Anoop Mishra told IANS.
 
There have been numerous cases where vulnerabilities in public Wi-Fi networks have been routinely reported.
 
"Hackers have time and again demonstrated that breaking into public Wi-Fi networks is very easy. In fact, hackers often use public Wi-Fi networks for the purposes of hacking into confidential information and data of users who log into these Wi-Fi networks without understanding the cyber security ramifications of the same," Pavan Duggal, one of the nation's top cyber law experts, told IANS. 
 
The Kaspersky Lab report found the pressure from work to get online is clouding the judgment of business travellers when connecting to the internet.
 
Three in five (59%) persons in senior roles said they try to log on as quickly as possible upon arrival abroad because there is an expectation at work that they will stay connected. By the time business travellers reach the arrivals' terminal, one in six is using their work device to get online.
 
According to experts, open Wi-Fi networks are generally unencrypted because you don't have to enter a passphrase key when connecting. "While working in this setup, the hacker has access to every piece of information you're sending out on the internet -- important emails, credit card information and even security credentials to your business network," Mishra said.
 
This was illustrated most sensationally with Firesheep, an easy-to-use tool that allows hackers sitting in coffee shops to snoop on other people's browsing sessions and hijack them via open Wi-Fi networks.
 
"More advanced tools like Wireshark could also be used to capture and analyse traffic on public Wi-Fi networks," Mishra added.
 
Another report from EMC Corporation -- the world's largest data storage multinational -- revealed last week that Indian businesses lost over $1 million from data loss and downtime in the last 12 months.
 
According to Duggal, also a Supreme Court advocate, company executives need to adopt various cyber hygiene methodologies in order to avoid online data stealing while travelling abroad.
 
"Having in place an updated anti-virus software on your computer system is a critical component. There are several encrypted data services available which can be used abroad. Company executives should only access HTTPs sites being secure sites," he suggested.
 
"If you're accessing something sensitive on public Wi-Fi, try to do it on an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypted websites. The Https browser extension can reduce the risk by redirecting you to an encrypted page when available," Mishra explained.
 
A VPN (virtual private network) connection can also protect you online.
 
"A VPN connection is a must when connecting to your business or banking through an unsecured connection like an open Wi-Fi hotspot. Even if a hacker manages to position himself in the middle of your connection, the data here will be strongly encrypted. Since most hackers are after an easy target, they'll likely discard stolen information rather than put it through a lengthy decryption process," Mishra pointed out.
 
Remember that any device could be at risk -- be it laptop, smartphone or tablet.
 
Treat all Wi-Fi links with suspicion, turn off file/computer/network sharing and avoid using specific websites where there's a chance that cyber criminals could capture your identity, passwords or personal information.
 
"Protect your device against cyber attacks by making sure that these have a strong and updated anti-malware and security solution. Keep Wi-Fi off when you do not need it," noted Mishra.
 
In case data is stolen abroad, a person can report a matter in the relevant country where the data theft has taken place for the purposes of nabbing the hacker and data retrieval.
 
"We must know that there is no single global law on data protection or on cyber crime. The Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe is one such international initiative that is aimed at international co-operation in cyber crime-related matters," Duggal explained.
 
If you choose to be silent and do not report the same, the chances of your coming back to your own country and then reporting the matter would be substantially diminished.
 
"This is important as the law-enforcement agencies in your country may not want to register and prosecute the said matter," Duggal said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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