SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY

Fortnite security flaw exposed 80 million players to hacking risks

Jan 18, 2019, 11:00 AM | Updated: 2:13 pm
Fortnite...
A Fortnite display at E3 2018, set up by Epic Games. (Photo courtesy of Wikmiedia Commons)
(Photo courtesy of Wikmiedia Commons)

Fortnite, one of the most popular video games on earth, had a massive security flaw that left 80 million players vulnerable to hacking, security researchers say.

According to a Forbes report, a security research company called Check Point uncovered major vulnerabilities that hackers could use to take over players’ accounts, gain hold of their in-game payment accounts, and even use the player’s microphone to listen to conversations going on within their homes.

A major flaw in Fortnite security

Check Point Research’s video demonstrating the flaw in Fortnite’s security.

Fortnite, Check Point says, was vulnerable to a hacking through a trick called a “malicious redirect”.

Anyone looking to take over someone’s account, according to Check Point, could simply send them a link to a site set up to steal their account information.

Due to the way Fortnite’s security was set up, the victims wouldn’t have to be naive enough to put in their account information or password; they would just have to click the link and the hackers would get everything they need sent right to them.

Once inside, the hacker would be able to use the victim’s credit card to purchase items from the Fortnite store with nothing more than the click of a button. They would also be able to listen in on their in-game conversations, letting them hear every word coming through the player’s microphone without giving them any clue it was happening.

The security flaw left a large and vulnerable group at risk; Fortnite is not only incredibly popular, but it also has a uniquely young audience, primarily consisting of teenagers and young adults.

Fortunately, there are no reports that any malicious hackers have actually taken advantage of the flaw in Fortnite’s security or that any accounts have been compromised. Instead, this is just a flaw was uncovered by an IT security company as an experiment and likely a publicity stunt.

Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, were made aware of the flaw before it was disclosed to the public. They say that have ensured that it can no longer be exploited.

“We were made aware of the vulnerabilities and they were soon addressed,” and Epic Games spokesperson told Forbes. “We thank Check Point for bringing this to our attention. As always, we encourage players to protect their accounts by not re-using passwords and using strong passwords, and not sharing account information with others.”

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Fortnite security flaw exposed 80 million players to hacking risks