Fortnite’s Android version will be ditching the Google Play Store after a dispute over Google’s 30 percent revenue share, opting instead to distribute through the Epic Games, the game’s creator, website.
The move however, may put users at an increased risk as apps downloaded outside the Google Play store requires user’s to enable Android’s option to install programs from unknown sources.
Once enabled, the device will display a bold warning that the user’s phone and personal data are more vulnerable to attack by apps from unknown sources and that the user agrees to assume responsibility for the security risk.
Epic CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted that things will work slightly different for Android users running the latest version of the operating system and will include a workaround making it easier to install.
“A ‘download’ button is coming to http://Fortnite.com,” Sweeney said. “On the latest Android Oreo devices, this goes directly to a download link which installs the game following user acceptance of several security prompts – no ‘unknown sources’ involved.”
Independent researcher Graham Cluley pointed out that anything that makes it easier to install apps from unapproved sources should cause concern, since installing apps from unofficial sources exposes Android devices to greater risks.
Even if Epic takes the best measures to secure user downloads, users will still be at risk if they forget to disable the “unknown sources” setting after installation. The offering also presents an opportunity for attackers to trick users with phishing apps mimicking the legitimate download offering.