Is Pokemon Go Putting Your Corporate Network At Risk?

August 4th, 2016

Have you heard your employees raving over catching Pikachu or desperate to find a Pokestop? Chances are, these employees are using your office as a hunting ground to build their army in Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a game that has taken the world by storm. The idea behind it is, players must wander the streets trying to find Pokemon hidden around the area. When they find them, they must toss a Pokeball at it to capture it. As they capture more Pokemon, their army becomes stronger and they’re able to fight against other Pokemon users at virtual gyms (not to be confused with the traditional athletic gym non-Pokemon Go players think of when they hear that word).

It might sound silly but this game has captured the hearts of people of all ages. From teenage girls to men in their late 30’s, Pokemon Go is played by millions of people from all walks of life. User statistics show that at the end of July, around 20 million people were actively hunting Pokemon.

If you’re not a devoted player, it’s tempting to sweep the game under the rug. But if you own a business or are in charge of your company’s network security, you need to take some precautions.

Pokemon Go and Malware Go Hand in Hand

Hackers, phishers and others online recognize the craze around Pokemon Go, so it makes sense that this game is a breeding ground for malicious behavior online. When your employees download the game, they’re putting your business at risk.

There are several ways your network is exposed to malware when employees download copies of Pokemon Go at work.

They’re downloading it from a file sharing site.

If Pokemon Go hasn’t been released in your region, your employees could still be playing the game. They get access to it by downloading it from a file-sharing site. This usually involves a technique called “side loading” where a counterfeit application is placed directly on the phone.

If your employees use their phones for business purposes, your business intelligence is at risk.

They’re downloading it from a secondary app marketplace.

Sometimes, people will avoid the official App Store or Google Play stores when downloading games and instead, head straight for a secondary marketplace.

Apple phones (iOS) does not allow secondary app marketplaces. They’re only accessible if the device is jailbroken.

Android phones do have secondary marketplaces. When downloading from these, the user accepts all responsibilities and risks. It’s a danger that’s not worth taking, yet some people do.

They’re not installing the right app.

When an app catches fire like Pokemon Go has, there are sure to be several counterfeit versions. The goal of these versions is to trick people into installing them so the developer can plant malware on their phone.

To know whether you’re downloading the right app, it’s always important to check the number of downloads (a popular app, such as Pokemon Go should have millions of downloads by now) and look for spelling errors. If there is anything suspicious about the graphics or grammar, don’t download it!

Another good idea is to check the reviews. People might tell you if they’ve been tricked, which is a huge red flag for you to avoid downloading and installing from that developer.

What Can Your Business Do to Protect Your Network?

You know how malware can sneak into your business through a popular app, such as Pokemon Go, but what can you do to stop it? That’s the bigger, more pressing question.

1. Enterprise Grade Firewalls

If your employee downloads malware while on your company’s wifi network, they could enable the attack to spread to other devices connected to the same wifi signal. Now, the cyber criminal can go after other devices, causing more havoc for your business.

By putting enterprise grade firewalls in place, you can block Pokemon Go from being played in the building on the company wifi. Side benefit: You also stop your employees from playing while they’re supposed to be working.

Firewalls have another benefit too. You can configure your firewall to protect all of your other devices from being attacked from the one device. That makes it harder for the malware to spread like wildfire throughout your firm.

2. Block the App

If you provide company cell phones, you’re able to block certain apps, including Pokemon Go. This also allows you to uninstall the app if it’s already there, taking instant measures to protect your firm’s network.

3. Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up-to-date. This software is constantly scoping out potential threats. With an up-to-date subscription and version, you’re sure to be doing everything you can to prevent hackers and phishers from accessing your business.

Can Your Business Afford to Ignore Pokemon Go?

In short, no. Pokemon Go poses too big of a risk to ignore.

If you’re not sure your network is protected against this and other potentially dangerous apps, give us a call at (204) 272 1458. We’ll make sure your network is protected. And as a by product of digitally securing your business, we’ll also help get your employee’s heads away from hunting for Pikachu so they can get back to work.

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