The Global Launch Of ‘Pokémon Go’ Is ‘Paused,’ And People Are Downloading Malware Trying To Get It

So, at this point, you’ve almost certainly heard all about Pokémon Go, and you’re probably eager to give Nintendo’s new real-world critter-catching app a try. Well, if you live in the United States, Australia or New Zealand, you can do just that. Unfortunately, if you’re from anywhere else, you’ll find yourself searching the iOS or Android store in vain.

The original plan was to rapidly roll out Pokémon Go around the world, but response has been so huge the servers have been overloaded. As such, Pokémon Go developer Niantic says the European, Asian, South American and Canadian launch of the game has been “paused until we’re comfortable.” Fans have responded with patience and understanding.

Haha, no, actually they’ve been doing everything they can to get Pokémon Go on their phones before it’s officially released in their regions. Gamers the world over have been “sideloading” Pokémon Go onto their devices — in layman’s terms, they’ve been installing the game after nabbing the files via BitTorrent or some other file-sharing site. Since Pokémon Go is a free app, the argument is this isn’t actually piracy, but obviously sideloading is something Nintendo and The Pokémon Company don’t approve of.

Acquiring Pokémon Go this way is also dangerous. According to Internet security firms, some of the versions of Pokémon Go being illicitly downloaded contain the Malware DroidJack, which can listen to your audio and text messages and hijack your phone’s camera. Creepy stuff. Thankfully, there’s a way to know if you downloaded an infected version of Pokémon Go — when you first log in, check the game’s privacy permissions. If you’ve got a bad copy, they’ll all be turned on (usually, at least a few of them would be off).

Of course, it’s safest to just wait for the official release of Pokémon Go in your region. Thankfully, Niantic says they’ll be launching the game in Europe, Japan and some other Asian countries “within a few days.” No word on a Canadian or South American release yet. Until then, just hold onto your Pokéballs, kids.

(Via Quartz and Polygon)