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Fake Instagram app spreads malware on Android devices

You may recall that Instagram released an Android app earlier this month, and managed to blow past 5-million downloads in the first six days after the version was released. Now it seems the launch has been used as an opportunity to capitalise on the popularity of the app and spread some malware.

IT security website Sophos reported that there is a Russian clone of the Instagram website that offers downloads of a fake app. The app doesn’t seem to be a very good copy of the real Instagram, but by the time you figure out that you haven’t downloaded the real thing, it will have sent a flurry of SMSes from your phone, enriching its makers at your expense.

fake-instagram-clone website

If you’re not sure if you’ve downloaded the real deal, watch out for images of this Russian man — he’s just a man who attended a wedding in Moscow, posed for a pic, and then became a photo-bombing internet meme, but his photos appear all over the fake app.instagram-malware-russian man

The official app is available on the official Android app store (Google Play), so users are discouraged from using alternative websites to download the app – even though some do look very similar to the actual Instagram website.

This isn’t the first time knock offs of a popular app have been used to spread malicious content – there is also a fake version of Angry Birds Space. The app, which is available on unofficial Android app stores, is infected with a Trojan that roots your phone and downloads a nice stream of malware.

Moral of the story: use Google Play to download your apps.

Images courtesy of Sophos.

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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