Fortnite has won the fight to become the biggest battle royale game but it has one huge problem: cheats. It’s a breeze to download software that claims to rig the game in your favour. Want to automatically aim better? Surefire victory is only a couple of clicks away. Except, of course, it isn’t.
A cheat installed by users thousands of times, which was meant to give both in-game currency and an ‘aimbot’ to make shots more accurate, actually contained malware. The goal of the scammers? To make money. The code, discovered by game-streaming service Rainway, allowed a man-in-the-middle attack to direct web traffic through a web ads service, making the cheat’s creator money.
After noticing an unusual quantity of error reports from its tracker, Rainway found the common link was the users playing, or more specifically cheating, at Fortnite. Instead of getting ahead, those who used the cheat instead found themselves infected with adware, a fairly common fate for hack downloaders, and proof that cheaters never prosper.
It’s up to anti-cheat providers to protect games from those who seek to break them open. Bastian Suter, the CEO and lead developer of BattlEye, a service that aims to protect both Fortnite hack its main rival, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, as well as many other online enabled titles, runs one of these providers. He explains that this kind of cheat is common, that is, the cheat that doesn’t actually function as a cheat, but is simply just disguised malware. “There simply isn’t much public stuff for [Battleye] games out there.” The ones which do work are usually shared only in private groups, making it hard for anti-cheat companies to get a hold of them.