Minecraft remains one of the most popular online games every generation loves to play. However, the more popular any given title becomes, the more attention it draws from malicious actors. Hackers are actively looking for ways to exploit it. In practice, this means stealing your data or planting malware on your devices.
One of the ways they’re able to achieve their foul goals is by tricking you into installing fake Minecraft games, infected third-party games, mods, or add-ons. But does this mean you should strip yourself of all the fun only to stay on the safe side? It’s one of the options. The other is learning how to recognize the dangers.
Know where you are downloading from
Unless you are strict with sticking to the official sources, you’re exposing yourself to potential infections or even a Minecraft app that’s outright fake. While certain third-party apps and modpacks are relatively benign because they merely display ads to make the developers some extra money, others are full of malware that can damage your device and steal your data.
So whenever you are downloading anything Minecraft-related from third-party sources, do check the user reviews and ratings. If there are none to be found, proceed with caution!
What do the reports say?
In a recent report from Kaspersky , more than 20 Minecraft-related apps from the official Google Play store were found to contain adware, which means that not even the official sources and app stores are guaranteed to be safe. This is nothing short of a wake-up call. To illustrate how many people fall for these, one of the adware-infested modpacks had more than one million downloads.
Eventually, Google caught up to it and removed the offending apps from the store. But even so, the news did not reach everyone, as a good portion of the ones who downloaded the apps still have them installed on their devices. Note that even though these apps are no longer listed in the official app store, the malware remains active. And this is a cause for concern.
Furthermore, nothing is stopping these fraudsters from rebranding them and publishing them once again under a different name or even to another app store or mod side. Again, the reviews are your friend. But don’t look at the average rating and call it a day. Instead, browse through the comments to see what the app’s actual users are saying and read their primary concerns. Whenever someone leaves a rating of 3 stars or less, chances are there’s a reason for it, which they are willing to share.
How to remove these fake apps
In some cases, these apps vanish from the victim’s phone upon closing it. In others, it displays intrusive ads all over the place. There have been known instances of fake Minecraft apps meddling with the victim’s browser. If it keeps on opening without your intervention, this is a sign of trouble. Some people make the mistake of thinking that uninstalling the browser will remedy the problem, but this is false.
The remedy is to purge the app from the device and run a deep scan with some antivirus software. The reason being is that some of the infections can be particularly nasty, often resulting in finding ways to resurface even after being wiped from the device. This is rare, however.
In case you want to delete an app you suspect is the root of these issues, go to the Settings section of your device, then select Apps, Notifications, and Show all apps. The exact steps may vary from device to device, but the gist should be roughly the same. Once there, identify the app you wish to remove and proceed to purge it from the system.
To take an extra step in the right direction, fire up an antivirus scanner of your choosing and run a scan (but make sure you update its database first). However, do keep in mind that not all antivirus scanners will pick up every infection, so there is nothing wrong with running multiple instances from different developers if you are concerned. In case you are worried about them negatively impacting your device’s performance, you can also uninstall them after you’re done using them and only keep one of them for further use.
A word of caution
As an avid gamer, it’s essential to take additional steps to protect yourself when playing video games online, and using a VPN is one of them . In short, it will keep you safe from DDoS attacks, shield the data you send via public Wi-Fi networks, and do away with bandwidth throttling issues, thus resulting in a smoother gameplay experience. In addition to that, it will also allow you to play your favorite games even if they are banned in your current geographic region.
It’s essential to stay informed about such threats if you’re a Minecraft player, but you should never let the threats take away from the enjoyment of gaming. As long as you keep the above-mentioned points in mind, you should be reasonably safe.