To play Pokémon Go, the mobile game that’s taken the internet by storm since its release July 6, you need to log in with an account. There are two ways to do this: You can create a user name on the Pokémon Trainer Club, or you can use your existing Google account.
The latter is likely the more popular option. Not only is it simpler, but because of server issues plaguing the mobile game in its first few days, it was near-impossible to create a Pokémon Trainer account.
Many players on iOS, however, didn’t realize that by going the Google route, they were also granting the game full access to their Google accounts. This means the game can read players’ emails, send emails on their behalf, access their Google drive documents and view their search history.
Developers have the option of asking to view only basic profile information. According to Google’s support page, users should only grant full access to applications they “fully trust” because the apps can “see and modify nearly all information in your Google account.”
Security researcher Adam Reeve, who pointed out the vulnerability in a blog post, said the game developer Niantic (a spinoff of Google, interestingly enough) had “no need” for full access. He’s since deleted the game and revoked the game’s access to his Google account. (PSA: Simply deleting the app from your phone isn’t enough. You’ll have to specifically revoke the game’s permission by following this link.)
“I really wish I could play, it looks like great fun, but there’s no way it’s worth the risk,” Reeve wrote.