Cybersecurity warning for Android users playing Fortnite

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Cybersecurity expert Graham Cluley has raised concerns about how Epic Games, developer of the hit game Fortnite, requires Android owners to disable a key security setting before being able to download it.

Fortnite is already available to buy on the official online stores of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch game consoles, as well as on the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad.

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But for Android, home of the world’s largest smartphone operating system, Epic Games is avoiding Google’s Play Store, which takes a 30 percent cut of anything sold through it – a larger share than its rivals.

Cluley said in a blog post on August 6: “I can understand Epic Games feeling mightily miffed that Google tries to take a 30 percent cut from any sales in its online store, but encouraging Android users to download apps from non-official sources is not a good idea.”

Unlike the locked-down iOS ecosystem, which requires unauthorized “jailbreaking” to access software from anywhere other than the Apple App Store, Android’s protections can easily be switched off. The option to install programs from “unknown sources” is in the settings menu and can be manipulated by the user.

Screenshot of Android Phone warnings fortnite security breach.jpg

However, Google knows that this can potentially lead Android owners to install dangerous and malicious apps on their phones. As such, users who allow access to unknown software are warned: “Your phone and personal data are more vulnerable to attack by apps from unknown sources. You agree that you are solely responsible for any damage to your phone or loss of data that may result from using these apps.”

We are not suggesting that Epic Games would damage a customer’s device or steal their personal data – a point Cluley shares – but there is a concern that gamers will leave this security system switched off after installing Fortnite. Alternatively, having found that apps are available beyond the (relatively) safe confines of the Play Store, they may go looking for unsafe software.

Cluley adds: “I do worry that some users might be so desperate to play Fortnite that they might forget to disable the ‘unknown sources’ after installation, or that this will encourage more users to take a more laissez-faire attitude as to whether it’s wise to install apps regardless of their source in future.”

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and syndicated by Mediafeed.org.

Featured Image Credit: Epic Games.

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