Android smartphone fans are being warned to stay away from dozens of fake apps that can be downloaded from a number of popular digital marketplaces.
Android is one of the most used pieces of software in the world, with more than two billion active devices running the Google mobile OS each month.
But there have been a number of high profile security alerts recently with shock threats affecting Android users.
Arguably, one of the most high profile instances was the Judy malware scam when 36.5million Android devices were feared to be infected by 41 apps.
But following that Google Play Store threat last year security experts are now warning Android users about the risk posed by dozens of fake apps once again.
A new piece of research found these offending apps are being housed on a number of widely used digital marketplaces and they all have one thing in common.
The study came courtesy of Top10VPN and discovered over 30 nefarious apps.
These 32 apps carried risks such as malware, scams, adware and privacy issues.
Android users have been put on alert about dozens of fake apps that pose a security risk
Some of the Android apps were found to ask for excessive permissions in order to spy on victims, access tracking locations and use the camera covertly.
By doing this these fake Android apps could also read information about users’ contacts and also secretly make phone calls.
And these apps all had one thing in common – they were about the popular online shooter Fortnite.
Fortnite has arguably been the hottest game in the world in 2018, with the Battle Royale game out now on a wide range of platforms.
Android fans have been put on alert about a number of apps you get from popular marketplaces
It was released in August by Epic Games on Android but the developer chose not to launch it on the official Google Play Store.
Instead, Fortnite fans have to sign up for an e-mail invite by heading to this official Epic Games website.
They would then get an e-mail invite to download the Fortnite Android beta.
When this approach was announced in August security experts warned this could open the door for scammers trying to trick those looking to download the app.
Android has been hit by a number of high profile malware threats
And this threat has been the focus of a recent study by Top10VPN.
In a post online, Top10VPN’s Head of Research Simon Migliano said: “Our biggest concerns relate to the excessive permissions.
“We found apps that can be used to spy on people by tracking location, reading contacts, using the camera – even secretly making phone calls. None of these permissions are present in the official Fortnite game files.”
The Android malware threat is posed by over 30 apps security experts discovered
He added: “We analysed over 30 Fortnite Android app files downloaded from unofficial marketplaces, including Amazon, and found over 20 per cent of them could be used to spy on you.
“We discovered apps that can access your camera, track your location, monitor calls, read your contacts and more.
“Only a minority were actually legitimate apps of any sort as a further 40 per cent were either thinly-veiled adware or scams.”
Top10VPN said these fake Fortnite apps were found on marketplaces such as APK Here, Mobango and Amazon.
Cyber security discovered 32 Android apps that pose a threat
A list of all the apps that researchers claimed are problematic can be found by clicking here.
The news comes after Express.co.uk recently reported on another Android malware threat, this time spread via the Google Play Store.
Earlier this month Android fans were warned about the “extremely powerful” Triout spyware that was found on an app listed on the Google Play Store.
The malware gathers records of every call a user of the Google mobile OS makes, logs of SMS messages and every picture or video a victim takes with their phone.
It can also capture GPS co-ordinates of an Android user and then send these sensitive details to an attacker-controlled command-and-control server.
The fake Fortnite-related apps were discovered following the Fortnite Android launch
The malware was uncovered by cybersecurity experts Bitdefender and was found on an app called ‘Sex Game’ that appeared on the Google Play Store in 2016.
Bitdefender senior e-threat analyst Bogdan Botezatu said: “I personally think [what] we are looking at is an alpha build of a bigger, more potent espionage tool.”
He added: “While this Trojan is extremely powerful and has the ability to record and upload phone calls, as well as use cameras and make its way into the Play Store, its code was left completely unobfuscated.”
The app in question is no longer available on the Google Play Store.