Epic Games’ popular Fortnite Battle Royale game has made its way to iOS, leaving Android fans to wait for a vague release date in the summer of 2018, and sending desparate gamers to YouTube, where they’ll be greeted only by fake apps that are a waste of time at best and quite possibly malicious. Security expert Lukas Stefano pointed out a staggering number of fake tutorials on YouTube showing, in various capacities, how to unofficially download Fortnite onto your Android device. Naturally, none of these are real, and many of the videos even appear to be made by the same person. In short, the app is not out yet, and if you want to play it, you’ll have to wait for an official release from Epic Games, which will land on the Play Store when it does drop.
Most of the apps that Stefano found through the YouTube links are fairly benign. They tend to simply be cash grabs for the creators, pulling in ad revenue by tricking users into downloading and running them under the premise that doing so somehow constitutes a step in the installation of Fortnite on your Android device. The potential for abuse here is huge, however; cryptocurrency mining that takes up device resources is one of the more common types of malware out there, for example, and it’s extremely easy to implement without a user’s knowledge. Data mining apps and other malicious fare can also be visited upon unsuspecting users who are naive enough to grant strange apps permissions that they don’t truly need.
This tactic is nothing new, though the incredible amount of hype for Fortnite on Android and the nebulous release date statement from Epic Games makes this one of the easier targets for this kind of scam at the moment. Scams involving cheats, guides and fake companion apps for popular Android games like Pokemon GO as well as games and emulators that have not been released on Android and likely won’t be coming, such as Sony Playstation 3 emulators, are also quite common. The apps in question often disappear from the Play Store quickly when they’re malicious, but in most cases, users are tricked into downloading apps that have nothing inherently wrong with them, meaning that there’s really not much that Google can do.
Millions of views on YouTube for fake "How to install Fortnite on Android" videos including links to actual APK files.
Don't install #Fortnite for Android, it's all fake or malicious! Official app is not released yet.
They mostly generate revenue for developers. pic.twitter.com/xpDcqbs3G2
— Lukas Stefanko (@LukasStefanko) June 12, 2018