Warning: Fake Instagram app infecting Android phones


Android users, beware: A bogus version of photo app Instagram for Android is currently making its way around the Web, and infecting a slew of handsets in the process.

The fake Instagram app was first uncovered late Wednesday by Graham Cluley of Sophos, a cyber security firm. The folks at Sophos have dubbed the trojan malware being spread in the Instatram impostor as “Andr/Boxer-F.” At the moment, there is little information about what exactly the virus does — though according to Sophos’ tests, it appears to be sending out background SMS messages, which Cluley explains can “earn its creators revenue.”

Fortunately for Google, the fake Instagram is not available through the Google Play marketplace, which is where most people go do download new Android apps. Instead, the phony app is appearing on some Russian websites, which include graphics (above) that mimic the design of the real Instagram.

Over the past year, the Android platform has increasingly become a target for malicious software. And Instagram is a prime target for this kind of scam. The highly popular app, long available only for Apple’s iOS devices, just recently launched on Android, and managed rack up 10 million new users on Android after only a few days. Then, of course, Facebook decided to buy Instagram for $1 billion, and its public profile rose even further.

As Cluley notes, the same thing has happened with other popular apps. A counterfeit edition of Angry Birds Space, for instance, has also been making the rounds since last week.

Obviously, there are a number of ways to avoid being duped into downloading fake apps that contain malware — thought it’s not always as easy or straightforward as some think it should be. The first way is to always download apps from a reputable app store — Google Play should be your first choice. Also, make sure to always check the permissions list before downloading an Android app. And to protect yourself further, you can also download an Android antivirus app, like this one from Lookout Security, though some believe this is still an unnecessary precaution.

For more information on Android malware, check out our complete guide here.

Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.

Latest ransomware targets gamers with a malicious sophistication

The latest piece of ransomware, Anatova, has been discovered by the security team at McAfee. Employing a smart tactic to confuse users and able to clean its tracks as it evolves, this is one tough piece of ransomware.

Popular Android navigation apps are just Google Maps with ads, researcher says

A malware researcher found that 19 free Android navigation apps on the Google Play Store were nothing more than Google Maps, but with ads. One of the apps asked for a payment to remove the ads, while some of them presented security risks.

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.

Photograph your meal with the Foodvisor app for caloric, nutritional estimates

Many of us understand the importance of a healthy diet, but counting calories and diving into nutritional data is a lot of work. The Foodvisor app for Android or iOS gives you a calorific and nutritional breakdown of your food from a photo.

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

Moschino glams up the 48-megapixel Honor View 20 at Paris launch

After its success with the View 10 in 2018, Honor has announced its sequel, the Honor View 20 with an entirely new type of display which has a hole-punch for the camera rather than a notch.

Embrace your inner Dr. Frankenstein with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and this cool app

Ever wanted to make your favorite toy come alive? If so, and you have a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, then you need to grab the 3D Live Maker app and try out some augmented reality magic. Here's how to use it.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus photo leaks with dual front-facing camera

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Social Media

Google will begin shutting down the classic Hangouts app in October

Google confirmed that it will begin retiring the classic Google Hangouts app in October. The company will start by pushing users to move to the new Google Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.

Xiaomi shows how its folding smartphone will look, and you’re going to love it

Xiaomi is the latest manufacturer to show off a folding smartphone prototype. The unnamed phone has a different design than others we've seen, adopting a double fold where the sides of the screen fold over the back of the device.