The latest game to take the internet by storm has been the sandbox, shoot-em-up game Fortnite. Developed by Epic Games it now has an estimated 45 million players and more than three million concurrent users, making it the most popular game on the market.
Fortnite follows the premise from modern classical novels such as Battle Royale and the Hunger Games. Players are parachuted onto a candy-coloured island to fight, the last one standing being the winner.
The app is free to download but Epic Games primarily makes it money from selling digital costumes, known as skins. Each day a new wardrobe is offered and those who design the costumes are becoming the new stars of gaming.
In 2015 a game called League of Legends followed the same model and reputedly made almost $2 billion simply from selling digital clothing.
But recently, ThreatLabZ’s research team have discovered fake Fortnite apps containing malware. The malware included spyware, a coin miner and some unwanted apps disguised as the game.
The research team found that when the fake app was downloaded it began harvesting call logs, outgoing and incoming calls, missed calls and phone contacts. The malware, they said, could also make phone calls as well as sending SMS texts and harvesting SMS logs.
This particularly malicious malware was also able to access the camera and take pictures. It could also wipe a device’s data, access accounts, recording audio and accessing the file manager.
The team also found fake apps on Google Play Store that claimed to help Fortnite players earn free V-Bucks, the in-game currency.
The app will also ask users to leave comments and 5-star reviews on Google Play Store page. This particular fake app was downloaded more than 5,000 times and was rated 5-star more than 4,000 times before Google pulled the plug.
At present Epic Games has not responded to ThreatLabZ’s findings. So, users should continue to be wary of downloading Fortnite apps.
To avoid becoming a victim the research team suggest it is good practice to uncheck the ‘Unknown Sources’ option under the ‘Security’ settings on your device. This prevents you from inadvertently downloading fake apps. Users should always double-check those comments and ratings of the app even on Google Play Store.
If you’ve unfortunately downloaded the fake app here are the steps you need to take.
Disable Accessibility access for Fortnite app: go to Settings and Accessibility. Go to the Fortnite app and turn-off Accessibility.
Removing the Fortnite app. Go to Settings and Apps. Click on the Fortnite icon and uninstall.
image source: Bago Games