With a full rollout scheduled for September this year, fans are highly anticipating the next release of Fortnite. But developer Epic Games has announced that it will not make the game available through Google Play. Instead, the company will only make the game available through the company’s official website.
The unprecedented move sets the stage for other downloadable games to move their products out of Google Play.
Why Fortnite will not be available on Google Play
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, cited that the company’s decision to forego Google Play is due to the tech giant taking a disproportionate chunk of the sales through its platform. Sweeney considered that Google’s 30% cut is excessive, given the type of services they provide, which includes payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service.
Epic Games is looking to save millions from this decision. To illustrate, Fortnite on iOS made $15 million after only three weeks. Without a cut of revenue from Google, the company can directly reach Android users—around 85% of the world’s smartphone users.
Fortnite for Android could mean security risks
However, Android users could potentially be more exposed to cyber scammers without Google’s built-insecurity measures. Google Play Store is not immune to malware. But there’s certainly more risk involved in having a third-party app outside the official app store platforms.
The craze surrounding Fortnite has led many users to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources. While manually searching the app online, landing them on unofficial websites that only bring malware onto their devices.
In fact, thousands of Android users falling for fake Fortnite APKs distributed by scammers. During the summer of 2018 alone, more than 78,000 people were affected by YouTube videos containing malicious links to game-streaming platform Rainway. Fortnite players were lured by offers of free units of the in-game currency V-Bucks.
While it is not the first time that Fortnite videos have been used to spread malware, it looks like it won’t be the last. Malware developers will continue to capitalize on the game’s popularity and drive Android users to fake versions.
As blogger Selena Larson explains, Epic Games is prioritizing profit at the expense of its users’ privacy and security.
With these developments, it is imperative that Fortnite users observe secure downloading practices. This includes disabling the setting “allow download from unknown sources” once they have acquired the game. Users must also be vigilant in discerning the legitimate Fortnite app from fake ones that likely harbor malware.
How to safeguard your apps from repackaging?
Repackaging has become a common practice on Android in the recent years. Repackaging means that an attacker can obtain a copy of the app, add malicious functionality, and then offer it to users who believe that they are using the original app.
Since the techniques for creating fake apps are publicly available, attackers adopt these methods to gain extensive permissions and capabilities to compromise the original app in itself or third party apps.
App Shielding offers the possibility to detect and safeguard your apps from repackaging attacks to avoid fake versions of your apps being distributed to your end users.