Does Pokemon Go add new risks?

Does Pokemon Go add new risks?

Jul 28th, 2016

Does Pokemon Go add new risks? In real life? Or in virtual life? The new location-based augmented reality mobile game that is taking the world by surprise certainly seems to generate a lot of opinions.

We have read and heard many people saying that Pokemon Go adds new risks, but is it really so? And what risks?

Does Pokemon Go add new risks?

As usual people are quick to jump the gun and immediately make blanket statements about risk associated concepts. So we have dissected the phenomenon to help the public understand this issue better.

In term of public safety, Does Pokemon Go add new risks?

Already many people have found themselves in precarious situations by blindly following their mobile device. Reportedly unaware kids crossed over the Canadian border and into Montana, U.S.A. Another put himself in serious danger by jumping onto Vancouver’s SkyTrain tracks.

So, are these risks really new?
Lets take the industry accepted definition of risk

R=C*p where:

R is the risk of a scenario
C is the cost of consequences of the scenario
p is the probability of the scenario

Well, all those “Pokemon Go” related hazardous situations existed long before Pokemon go trended. Indeed people jaywalked, wandered on railroad tracks and yes, they did cross borders “unwarily”.
So the “Pokemon Go scenarios” are not new and do not generate new risk scenarios.

Likewise, the consequences do not change from the said scenario, so  C does not change. For example, in the case of the Pokemon Go player wandering on the train track, the outcome (electrocution or collision) is identical if he/she was playing Pokemon Go or “just” wandered there to walk his/her dog.

As for the probability part, the Pokemon Go game may have increased the likelihood of such events. However we can only validate this with more than a random incident, or a cluster of accidents reported by media. This is exactly why we recommend to our client to keep track of near misses in their convergent dynamic risk register.

Understanding “real” trends as soon as they emerge rather than dealing with anecdotal evidence and rumors means significantly increasing efficiency.

As for the private industry, does Pokemon Go add new risks?

Adding an app that records your location (and possibly does other things to your devices) at all times is certainly not new either. That scenario already exist as well in well done cyber defense risk registers.

However, the “gotta catch em all” fever may entice personnel (working at mines, banks, or other entities with sensitive information) to keep their smartphones active everywhere/all the time possibly increasing the likelihood of critical information being recorded or stolen.

Once again the hazard and scenario existed all along,  but the probability might have gone up … we will soon know.

Given the increasing number of threats and the difficulty of keeping everyone in compliance with healthy cyberdefence behavior, a convergent dynamic risk register is paramount.

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Category: Consequences, Probabilities, Risk analysis

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