Android fans are being warned that cybercriminals could launch a fresh wave of malware attacks targeting millions of devices.
Google’s Android mobile OS is used on more than two billion devices each month and is one of the most used pieces of software in the world.
Users of Google’s mobile OS are no strangers to malware threats, with a number of high profiles cases hitting the headlines.
One of the biggest threats in recent times was the Judy malware campaign, which was thought to have infected 36.5million devices.
And now it’s feared that Android users could be facing another widespread malware threat that could target millions of devices.
This week it was confirmed that the all-conquering video game Fortnite was coming to Android.
Fortnite is the hottest game in the world right now, and at last count there was a staggering 125million players across the globe.
This player base is set to get added to even further with the much-anticipated release of Fortnite Android.
Android users are being warned they could face a new malware threat
However, Fortnite Android is not going to be released on the official Google Play Store.
Instead, Fortnite makers Epic Games will be hosting the app itself for Android users to download.
Anticipation for Fortnite Android has been steadily building over the past few months and it’s likely millions of gamers will be hoping to download it.
And security experts have warned that cybercriminals could capitalise on the absence of Fortnite Android from the Google Play Store to spread scams.
There are fears hackers could try and target millions of Android devices with malware
Speaking to The Guardian, Rob Shapland, principle cyber security consultant at Falanx Group, warned of the malware threat.
He said: “Epic Games’ decision to publish the Android version of Fortnite outside of the Play Store is a very poor choice for the security of their players.”
Shapland added: “Android devices are already far more susceptible to malware than Apple devices, with the greatest protection being to always download apps from the Play Store as these apps are screened for malware, which prevents most malicious apps from being installed.
“By encouraging users to download Fortnite outside of the Play Store, Epic Games leave their players vulnerable to malicious copycat apps being installed accidentally if they go to the wrong site.”
Android users are no strangers to malware threats
Sean Sullivan, a security adviser at F-Secure, said this threat was highlighted in the lead up to the Fortnite Android launch.
Android players saw their counterparts on iOS get Fortnite Mobile months ago, with the promise of Fortnite Android being released later on.
But during that interim period there were plenty of fake videos on YouTube claiming to offer advice on how to download Fortnite Android before launch.
These videos just directed users to install malware-filled fake apps or hand over payment details to scammers. Sullivan said.
Security experts have warned cybercriminals could try and target Android users
The security expert said: “One useless app would prompt for installation of three additional apps.
“This sort of scenario is very discouraging.
“I would like to believe that young people will be more immune to scams – but the free-to-play app market and YouTube chaff is basically conditioning them to ignore best practices of any sort.
“They carefully vet nothing.”
The Android fears revolve around the release of Fortnite Android
The threat of these fake Fortnite Android download videos was also highlighted by Malwarebytes back in June.
At the time the security experts said: “The apps are not located on the Google Play Store.
“Instead, people have found them by searching “How to install Fortnite on Android” or “Fortnite for Android” in Google, or stumbling across links in YouTube ads.
“From there, the apps can be downloaded.”
Fortnite Android is not launching on the official Google Play Store
Malwarebytes added: “To make the app look legit, it starts with a realistic-looking icon.
“As a matter of fact, it’s so realistic that some may recognise it from the Apple iOS version.
“By stealing the icon directly from Apple, how could it not look real?”
Fortnite Android is a highly anticipated release
If you want to download Fortnite Android, there’s only one place you can officially do it.
Right now Fortnite Android is in beta testing and you need to sign up to take part on the official Epic Games website.
Click here and you will be directed to the official Fortnite Android beta page.
Fortnite Android can be download from the official Epic Games website
From there click the ‘sign up for email invite’ button and enter your details.
If you are sent suspicious e-mails from unknown e-mail address claiming to offer Fortnite Android downloads then report it to Action Fraud UK.
You can report fraud, attempted fraud or cyber crime on their website. Click right here to do so.