Fortnite’s staggering rise in popularity has inevitably attracted a large number of cheaters who use third-party hacks to gain an in-game advantage.
The hacks they’re using help them aim faster, fire their weapons quicker, and even slow down enemy players. They’re also spreading malware all over the web.
It’s thought tens of thousands of Fortnite players have been affected, but you have nothing to worry about if you play on Mac or iOS.
Fortnite is currently making just under $400 million a month. It’s the most popular game on the planet and shows no signs of dying out anytime soon. The vast majority of the Battle Royale community are regular gamers who just want to have fun — but there are a few bad eggs.
“Sadly, where there is a popular channel there will always be malicious actors,” says Andrew Sampson of Rainway, a game streaming platform which players use to play Fortnite for “tens of thousands of hours a month.”
Rainway inundated with error reports
On June 26, 2018, Rainway began receiving hundreds of thousands of error reports to its tracker. Having not released any updates in the days prior to those reports, it knew something wasn’t right.
“It became pretty clear soon after that this new flood of errors was not caused by something we did, but something someone was trying to do,” Sampson explains.
The errors showed attempts to connect with various ad platforms — something Rainway itself doesn’t do. It turns out that this was the result of malicious adware that was attacking a whole bunch of Rainway users who all had one thing in common.
It wasn’t that they shared the same hardware or subscribed to the same internet service providers. The thing they had in common was that they were all playing Fortnite.
Fortnite hacks bring adware attacks
It turns out that third-party Fortnite hacks, which players were using in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in their games, was the source of the problem.
Rainway downloaded hundreds of these hacks, which all claimed to help players get ahead in one way or another. One, which promised an aimbot and free V-Bucks and had already been downloaded 78,000 times, was found to be conducting a “man in the middle” attack which sent all web traffic through its own servers.
This allowed the adware to alter the pages of a web request to serve its own ads.
Mac and iOS users are safe
The particular piece of adware only affects Windows PCs, which means you’re immune if you play Fortnite on Mac or iOS devices.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other attacks that target Mac users. And if they don’t exist now, they surely will soon enough if Fortnite continues to grow in popularity.
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this malware. Don’t use cheats to try to get ahead and you have nothing to worry about. If you want to win more games, put in more practice and get better.