Everyone knows that Fortnite has been a runaway success, the most popular in the battle royale game market. It has more than 125 million monthly active users in less than a year. However, like anything popular, the game is a target for scammers to rip people off. The current method of scamming revolves around deceiving the population that Fortnite is available on Android. Note that while Epic Games is working on an Android version there is no official release in Google Play at the moment.
Despite Fornite being released in September 2017, Google’s mobile operating system, which has more than two billion devices, is the last major platform to get the game. However people are downloading unofficial, malware-laden versions of the game. They are spreading across the internet and there’s not much Google can do to stop people from installing them on their Android devices.
“There are several videos on YouTube with links claiming to be versions of Fortnite for Android,” Nathan Collier, a mobile researcher at security firm Malwarebtyes says in a blogpost analysing knock-offs of Epic’s creation. What we see through research is that there are no official Google Play Store apps but most are hosted externally as Application Package Kit (APK) files, which can be installed on Android devices. “It’s a simple program that comes in two different package names,” Collier says. The app’s icon is an image, Epic Games’ logo is used and the loading screen is the same as Fortnite’s iOS app. At a first glance, it could be genuine.
Once the app is opened it then tells users that updates are needed. Trying to install these updates requires a person to “verify” they’re human by installing another app – this time from the legitimate Google Play Store. Users are directed there via a website that makes its developers money by getting people to download Android apps.
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