Every beast has a leech on its belly, they say, and that’s clearly the case with battle royale games. PUBG is in a constant fight with copycats mimicking its style as a means to drive customers astray, while its big competitor Fortnite faces a completely different issue in the form of hackers and scammers. All of this commotion is due to the company having a gap in its smartphone presence, with the iOS version launching way before the Android counterpart, ultimately driving owners of the latter system up the wall. It didn’t take long for shady individuals to start capitalizing on this desperation, who then swarmed the internet with malware-ridden fake apps that either infect the foolish victim’s phone or take over their account.
The Ransacking of Gullible Fortnite Players
The core concept of the con lies in its exploitation of human nature. Fortnite is a highly popular game played by millions of people on numerous platforms, including touch-screen devices. Unfortunately, the Apple version launched first, leaving Android owners looking for alternative ways to satiate their itch for testing their battle skills. At this point numerous videos popped up on YouTube telling viewers about a leaked version of Fortnite Android that usually included a link to shady websites to download the app from.
The video footage gave vague instructions and contained modified screenshots stolen from the iOS version, the first red flag for savvy netizens. After downloading the app to your phone – the site even ‘helpfully’ suggests disabling the default setting that prevents users from installing clients from unknown sources – a couple of scenarios might occur, depending on the agenda of the hackers.
It’s highly likely that the file itself is infected with malware that then starts messing with your system or leaks personal information. It’s also possible that the app keeps up the facade and asks for your Fortnite account credentials so that the hackers can use it to make fraudulent claims or just waste your money by rampantly purchasing everything in the shop. The latter is still the better outcome, though, considering that Epic Games is willing to issue a refund if you are able to prove your case.
When a Deal Is Too Good to Be True
Fortnite isn’t the only example of nefarious exploits in the gaming world since a similar scam method is built around emulated Nintendo games. Even though it’s possible to create homemade PC ports of certain Nintendo titles, it’s difficult and time consuming. Therefore, if you see a shady deal that promises to bring the latest Zelda or Mario game to your desktop computer only a few weeks after their release, then you’ll no doubt end up with a nasty virus.
Keep in mind that the arrival of the official Android version of Fortnite won’t make the issue of such fake games go away. Con artists and cyber criminals will surely find another similar situation where an in-demand product isn’t available to the grasping hands of demanding games and phone users. As James Hadley, CEO and Founder of Immersive Labs, put it in his reaction to the Fortnite controversy, our society needs to improve its cyber awareness so that people understand the cost of potentially exposing their identity.
Stay Safe, Stay Levelheaded
If you wish to avoid falling victim to a hacker’s scheme, then don’t be a Veruca Salt whose greed overshadows basic common sense. Stop yourself from downloading software or apps from third-party sites even if a YouTube tutorial video testifies to its success. In any case, keep your firewall up to date and always trust your antivirus. Activating a VPN is also a fine idea when it comes to visiting dubious sites because it prevents the source from tracking you, not to mention the extra level of encryption is a highly effective countermeasure against malware.
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