Warning: Super Mario Run for Android doesn't exist, so don't download it

It’s certainly a bummer that Nintendo decided to release its first Mario mobile game as an iOS exclusive (and right before Christmas, no less), but don’t let your curiosity get the best of you. If you see a Super Mario Run APK promising installation on your Android phone, run the other way.

This is precisely the kind of situation scammers live for: There’s a hot new game that millions of people can’t get on their phones and are desperate to play, so they push out APKs disguised as ported versions of the game. Instead, the only thing they’ll play on your phone is ransomware and malware.

The impact on you at home: There doesn’t have to be any if you’re vigilant. You’re going to see loads of links for fake versions of Super Mario Run on message boards and unscrupulous websites, but don’t give in to them. Even if your best friend sends you an email telling you that this one is 100 percent legit, don’t believe it. Just wait for Nintendo to release the official version sometime next year (we hope).

Don’t sideload the side runner

As any Android user knows, one of the benefits of the operating system is the ability to sideload apps that aren’t widely available in the Play Store. Many of them are completely safe and signed by Google and respectable developers, but there are still troves of apps that solely exist to steal your data and hijack your phone. Just last month, the Gooligan Trojan Horse was exposed after having compromised some one million Google accounts on Android phones.

If might look like fun, but don’t be tempted to download any Super Mario Run APKs on your phone.

Ironically, this is the very reason why Nintendo delayed the launch of Super Mario Run on Android in the first place. In an interview with Mashable earlier this month, legendary Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto explained that the iOS platform was chosen first mainly due to its secure delivery mechanism: “The security element is one of the reasons that we decided to go with iPhone and iOS first. … We’re launching in 150 countries and each of those countries has different network environments and things like that. So, it was important for us to be able to have it secure for all users.”

Of course, none of this is new to Android. Back when Pokemon Go was the hottest game on the planet, opportunistic scammers took advantage of Niantic Lab’s delayed rollout to release malware-infested APKs disguised as the real one that actually existed. And even the Play Store wasn’t immune. A popular guide for the augmented reality game was discovered to contain the ability to gain complete control over Android devices. So you should probably hold off on downloading any of those for Super Mario Run, too.

Coming soon?

Nintendo hasn’t been too forthcoming on its plans for an Android version of Super Mario Run, but after it instantly shot to the top of the App Store charts following its release yesterday, it’s safe to assume that Nintendo is hard at work at a Play Store version.

So, what’s an Android lover to do? Short of switching to iPhone (which we know you’re not going to do), you could borrow your friend’s iPhone or take a trip to the Apple Store and give it a test run. Or just try to find a Nintendo Classic and play the original Mario game while you wait.

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