Google reveals Fortnite Android vulnerability, Epic calls move “irresponsible”

By Marshall Lemon, Monday, 27 August 2018 15:10 GMT

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney is frustrated that Google didn’t wait before sharing a massive flaw in Fortnite’s Android edition.

Fortnite’s upcoming Android version won’t be available from the Google Play storefront, which means Epic Games can keep the 30% revenue fee for itself. Unfortunately, that might be causing some awkward interactions between Epic and Google in the bug department.

Last Friday, Google publicly shared data on how hackers could access Epic’s custom installer to upload malware. Given the number of Fortnite players, that might seem like the smart move. According to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney (as reported by the BBC), this was an irresponsible move.

“Android is an open platform,” Sweeney wrote on Twitter. “When Google identified a security flaw, we worked around the clock (literally) to fix it and release an update…

“We asked Google to hold the disclosure until the update was more widely installed. They refused, creating an unnecessary risk for Android users in order to score cheap PR points.”

As the BBC notes, Google often makes vulnerabilities public without the publishers consent. Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung have made similar complaints in the past. And there is an argument that going public puts users who haven’t updated at risk.

Of course, the problem likely never would have materialized if Epic had just launched Fortnite on Google Play. And even if it had, the platform’s auto-update feature could have protected a wider range of players. “People will argue until the cows come home the a period is either too long or not long enough depending on which side you’re on,” cyber-security expert Troy Hunter wrote. “I’m still surprised Epic didn’t put it in the Play store to begin with (and yes, I get the financial incentive).”

Not that Epic agrees. “The only irresponsible thing here is Google’s rapid public release of technical details,” Sweeney added.

Make sure to download the latest version of Fortnite’s installer if the Android version is on your system.

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