Tuesday, August 9, 2016

CYBERSECURITY FIRM Hired to Kill POKEMON Spawned by the Game in Restricted Areas

It’s “Pokémon Go” time once more. Past reports have touched on the, well, touchy subject of the mobile game’s wide reach in all countries it has launched in. That means the app, by using GPS data, has been able to generate the presence of Pokémon on the in-game map a correlated to the real world, along with the designation of selected landmarks as either Poke-shops or Pokémon Gyms.

All these things have popped up at the most unusual places, like shops and gyms located at the Pentagon or the White House Fountain, and the Pokémon spawning just about anywhere, including private properties and restricted areas. Some people have gotten sick of seeing players with cellphones milling about their homes; others are tired of reminding the gamers to take their business elsewhere, like away from the Washington DC Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. Now they’re able to do something about it.

CNN reports that the prominent cyber-security firm LookingGlass has been hired by eight electric utility companies in Florida who have raised concerns about “Pokémon Go” gamers accidentally walking into high-voltage electrical equipment and searching for Pikachu and friends around power installations. LookingGlass’ mission: to somehow stop Pokémon from appearing in the in-game GPS maps of dangerous real-world areas. As they are going to stop the spawning of Pokémon in these locales, they can technically be said to “kill” the Pokémon there. That’s pretty much how LookingGlass

CEO Chris Coleman describes their objective to CNN Money this Thursday August 4. The way they see it working, is that LookingGlass will first study the game and GPS coding that causes the generation of Pokémon and designation of Stops and Gym in areas that the client companies want restricted. After the pertinent coding has been identified and changed in simulation to delete the

Pokémon spawning and locations markers, the firm can then send their suggested alterations to Niantic Labs, the developer of the game for Nintendo and The Pokémon Company.

It’s actually a lot easier than it sounds, seeing as Coleman is a personal friend of Gilman Louie, from Niantic’s board of directors. Louie himself was once CEO of the CIA venture capital firm In-Q- Tel.

Up until this point, when business, sensitive government offices and religious institutions found themselves to be unwanted locations for Poke-Stops, gyms or simply Pokémon spawning grounds, the most they could do was post reminders or stern warnings with help from police to have “Pokémon Go” trainers either stop playing while in their premises, or leave. With LookingGlass on the job, these places may now have a means to actually remove all virtual presence of “Pokémon Go” from their locations, similar to South Korea being a GPS dead zone that is preventing the appearance of game elements from the app.

The rest of Niantic has yet to comment on this.

Photo Credit to www.youtube.com