UBER-POPULAR BATTLE ROYALE GAME Fortnite is being used as a vehicle for malware and adware, with YouTube and other streaming services being exploited to spread malicious code.
Rainway, a video game streaming service, is one such exploited service, as its chief executive Andrew Sampson noted on Medium. He discussed how the company had discovered malicious adware lurking behind a cheat tool that promises a free V-Bucks in-game currency and the cheaters' favourite, an aimbot.
But when the watchers of the video promoting the cheat on Rainway clicked on the link to the tool and subsequently downloaded it, they weren't given a sneaky cheat but rather had Windows altered to serve up unauthorised adverts.
"We then spun up a virtual machine and ran the hack, it immediately installed a root certificate on the device and changed Windows to proxy all web traffic through itself. A successfulman in the middle attack," explained Sampson.
He noted that while Rainway sent an abuse report to the file host, worked with SpringServe to knock the abusive content creators form its the latter's advertising platform, and sent alerts to all infected users, some 78,000 downloads of the malicious cheat tool had already taken place.
However, this isn't the only case of Fortnite being used as a hook to dupe people into downloading malware and adware.
Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes noted that there's a swathe of links to fake Fortnite for Android apps on YouTube which prompt people to download the game via links on the YouTube page. Once they do, the fake app wants them to verify themselves and unlock the game by downloading other apps, but no matter how many are downloaded the fake game remains locked, but the process generates ad revenue for the malware authors.
While exercising a degree of 'it looks too good to be true' caution and making use of mobile cyber security software was advised, Sampson reckons Fortnite creators Epic could put in more efforts to educate Fortnite fans in the dangers they face.
"Epic could do a better job at educating their users on these malicious programs and helping them understand how airtight Fortnite's systems are at preventing cheating," he said.
"I'd also recommend they spend more time moderating YouTube to help take down these videos to avert a countless number of people from pwning themselves. Sometimes the allure of cheating is powerful, and a strong presence is needed to help push people in the right direction."
Despite these warnings and advice, we don't doubt we'll see more efforts being made by hackers and cyber crooks to exploit Fortnite's popularity and a lack of an official Android app as of yet. µ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked