|Epic Games warned people about fake downloads of their popular game Fortnite. / Photo by: whohoo120 via Wikimedia Commons|
As the popularity of Epic Games’ smash hit Fortnite continues to scale incredible heights, the risk of people being taken advantage of becomes a greater reality as well.
Fortnite’s mobile version became available for Android very recently. However, security analysts from Lookout found out that there were multiple sites advertising Fortnite downloads that in fact distributed malware to anyone who fell victim to the scam, this according to a report published on Wired.
This should serve as a reminder to Fortnite fans to only download from the official Epic Games website. It is also a warning to every one of the risks involved with downloading applications outside of either the Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
The reason why Epic Games decided not to use the Play Store is because Google takes 30% off of every purchase from its virtual store. An estimate shows that Fortnite earns $2 million on iOS daily. The company would want to increase their take by not going through the Apple Store, but of course, they can’t as every app on an iPhone or iPad has to come through Apple’s online store. What it gives in return, though, is peace of mind for the public because they know they will be downloading apps free of malware, as Apple ensures it.
Android, on the other hand, is more open to downloading off-site, it’s more permissive and is more like a computer than an extension of Google like how an iPhone is an extension of Apple.
As one might guess, this is where the problem lies. The Google Play Store is by no means perfect, but it has very aggressive built-in malware security. The internet is a completely different story.
Adam Bauer and Christoph Hebeisen, Lookout security researchers, analyzed software from seven different sites claiming to offer legitimate downloads for the Fortnite Android app. Almost all of them distribute malware that can make unsuspecting users to give out personal data or funds.
Epic Games isn’t the first to try to circumvent the Play Store cut or give rise to malicious content from a popular download. Pokemon Go may have beaten Fortnite for that distinction. Still, no single title this popular has ever operated outside the walls of safety of the Android system.