It has been reported that hackers have started to take advantage of Fortnite fever by tricking people into downloading fake versions of the game for Android — one of the few platforms that does not yet support the game. These “how to get this” videos on YouTube promise an early download of the game, but as you try to download it you’re pushed to other apps and no matter how many apps you download, the game never unlocks—because it never existed within the malicious app in first place.
Commenting on this, Steve Giguere, lead EMEA engineer at Synopsys, said “As much as we are wary of scam phone calls promising too good to be true offers, and investment schemes like the Initial Coin Offerings promising a blockchain based something for nothing, a website promising a contraband release of a new game feels only too possible due to previous precedents of leaks from government documents to Games of Thrones episode spoilers.
“The temptation for enthusiasts, blinded by fandom and the inevitable peer kudos of getting to play early, combined with the real advantage of not being subjected to real post-release media spoilers, is such that it subverts the good sense to prevent one exploring the realm of questionable websites and dodgy video instructions only to be led down the path to malicious game ending malware.
Any form of social engineering is successful because it’s designed around human nature. There’s no shame in being caught out by schemes or scams like these, but we need to learn that where we exhibit human weakness, the cyber-criminal will be present looking to take advantage to turn our nature against us. As attacks like these become more common place, awareness will inevitably follow; but until then, ensure you are running a modern endpoint security program and remember that if you if it looks too good to be true, don’t take the bait. It’s called phishing for a reason.”
James Hadley, CEO and Founder of Immersive Labs, added “Fortnite’s popularity, driven by gamers including the England football team, means there is an opportunity for cyber criminals to take advantage of the demand for the game and the latest releases. In life, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is just that; and cyber is no different. Cyber criminals rely on the draw of a new, exciting or trendy app outweighing the perceived negatives; in this case, getting an early release of Fortnite on Android for downloading another app. As a society, we need to get better at our general cyber awareness, weighing up the costs of how badly we need play the latest games vs potentially exposing ourselves to malicious apps.”