The developers of the streaming platform Rainway have tracked down the source of a particularly potent piece of adware that had infected seemingly thousands of Fortnite players, something the developers say Fortnite creator Epic Games should be more vigilant about.
Unsurprisingly, the offending adware itself was masquerading as a Fortnite hack that promised free in-game currency, but the detailed explanation of how Rainway tracked down and dealt with the malicious program itself is something developers should be aware of.
In a post shared to Medium, Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson details how his team discovered the adware through an error that popped up in its own tracker and seemed to be common among Fortnite players. Suspecting a Fortnite hack program as the culprit, the Rainway team combed through hundreds of programs offering free in-game cash or aim-assisting hacks, seeking out one that offered the URLs that had originally popped up on its tracker.
The one that eventually matched up had grabbed over 78,000 downloads and offered players both aim-assist and free in-game currency, but was in truth installing adware onto users’ machines. The company notified the file host, who then removed the download, and sent out its own notification to users that might have been infected.
Rainway’s full breakdown of course goes offers a deeper look at the whole process, and is worth a read in its own right. But, according to Sampson, the adware itself and the popularity of similar malicious hacks on platforms like YouTube, are indicative of a bigger issue that needs to be better addressed and managed by Fortnite creator Epic games.
“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,” wrote Sampson. “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.”