Fortnite, one of the most popular video games in the world, is available to play on just about every device you can think of with one notable exception: Android smartphones.
While this absence is being rectified later this summer, in the meantime hackers and criminals are taking full advantage of the fact by creating their own fake Fortnite apps.
According to cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes there are a number of fake versions of the game appearing on the web that while very realistic, will ultimately just clog your phone with malware and unwanted apps.
In a blog post highlighting the problem, Nathan Collier, Senior Malware Intelligence Analyst at the company explains how the malware developers have even managed to steal the official icon for the game from the iPhone version.
How do I know if it’s real or fake?
At the moment that answer is simple: they’re all fake. Fortnite isn’t available on Android yet, not even as a beta so if you or your child think they’ve found a version of it online, it’s not real.
Once particularly clever trick the Malware developers are using is that they’re skipping the Google Play Store altogether.
Instead they’re targeting the questions we type into Google. So when you type in ‘How to install Fortnite on Android?’ one of their links will be the first to appear.
Another method they’re using is by providing links within YouTube videos. So you’ll watch a video about Fortnite and then one of the malicious links will be provided either in the video or in the description below.
As a rule you should never download an app via a link from a website that you’ve never used before or one that you don’t trust.
Instead apps should only be downloaded either from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or through links from sites that you trust.
What happens if it’s downloaded?
According to Collier, the app doesn’t appear to install any viruses onto the smartphone. Instead it opens as normal and even shows the same loading screen you would see in the real game.
Once it loads though the app asks you to verify your identity by downloading one of a list of free apps.
If you click on one of the apps it’ll then take you to the Google Play Store and the app will start installing on your phone.
Essentially what’s happening here is that the malware developer will get paid for every one of these extra apps that you’ve been asked to install and by pretending that it’s part of the Fortnite setup process it can trick people into downloading them.