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Portland cybersecurity expert warns of dangers of Pokemon Go

Walking around the Rose City it is easy to spot people playing Pokemon Go, though cybersecurity experts say there are still dangers to the game. (KPTV) Walking around the Rose City it is easy to spot people playing Pokemon Go, though cybersecurity experts say there are still dangers to the game. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Walk around Portland and there's a decent chance you'll see someone on their mobile phone, chasing make-believe monsters.

Pokemon Go, the international gaming sensation, is alive and well in the Rose City, and with it come risks to users' personal information and personal safety.

Dwayne Melancon, Chief Technology Officer with Portland-based Tripwire, one of the world's leading cybersecurity companies, said early versions of the mobile gaming app drew warnings that it was collecting users’ personal information.

RELATED: 'Pokemon Go' creators admit they made a big privacy mistake

"You're storing information like your email address, your name, and your geo-location online somewhere where people can take advantage of that and target you for a crime," Melancon said.

Melancon said newer versions of the app have fixed the information leakage, but some users may not have updated their app.

In addition, Melancon said users looking for cheats or tips might be tempted to visit third party websites, which also try to gather information from visitors that could be used in a cybercrime.

The virtual risks come on top of actual physical risks. In July, a Forest Grove man said he was attacked and stabbed while chasing Pokemon, and other people around the country have reported being robbed while playing the game.

RELATED: Forest Grove man stabbed while playing Pokémon Go: 'I basically risked my life'

"Don't go places you're not familiar with," Melancon warned. "A lot of people end up wandering into an area where someone has placed a Pokemon lure to get monsters to show up there, and the risk there is that they might be trying to encourage kids to go there so they can do things they shouldn't."

Melancon is not saying people should avoid passing their time chasing Pokemon, just that they should be aware of their surroundings and careful with their personal information.

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