Sideloaders beware: a Pokemon Go knock-off contains malware

A security firm says it's already discovered a version of the game containing malware

The new smash-hit game "Pokemon Go" could become bait for hackers wanting to take over your phone.

Researchers at security firm Proofpoint have already found an Android version of the game containing malware. Once installed, it uses a remote access tool called DroidJack that can give a hacker full access to the phone, Proofpoint said Thursday.

The company hasn’t yet seen the infected game in the wild, but it shows that hackers are already hard at work targeting it. Proofpoint discovered the software in a malicious online file repository.

Pokemon Go is the first Pokemon game sanctioned by Nintendo for iOS and Android devices. It was launched earlier this week, but so far it's only officially available in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, through the App Store and Google Play.

That means people in other countries who are keen to get their hands on it might resort to side-loading the game from third-party app stores -- opening the door to a potentially infected version.

“Just because you can get the latest software on your device does not mean that you should,” Proofpoint warned.

It said that the infected version uses the same startup screen as the original, making it harder to tell apart.

Hackers routinely build fake versions of popular games to infect phones. Hundreds of clones of "Flappy Bird" were offered, for example, and almost 80 percent of them contained malware, according to a 2014 report from Intel Security.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?