Fake Instagram, Angry Birds harm android


2 May 2011
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NEW DELHI: Did you download the Instagram app on your Android smartphone in past few days? If yes, the chances are it has infected your phone as it is not Instagram that you have downloaded! Confused? Read on...

According to IT security firm Sophos, malware disguised as the popular photo-sharing app Instagram is being distributed via Android downloads.

Cybercriminals have created fake versions of the Instagram Android app, designed to earn money from unsuspecting users. Cybercriminals have played on the popularity of the Instagram app -- which has millions of users around the world, and was recently acquired by Facebook for a staggering $1 billion.

If Android owners download the app from unapproved sources, rather than official sites such as the official Google Play Android marketplace, they run the risk of infecting their smartphone. Once installed, the app will send background SMS messages to premium rate services earning its creators revenue.

Sophos has detected the malware, which has been distributed on a Russian website purporting to be an official Instagram site, as Andr/Boxer-F.

"Android malware is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. Just last week, we saw a bogus edition of the Angry Birds Space game and it's quite likely that whoever is behind this latest malware are also using the names and images of other popular smartphone apps as bait," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos.

"Infected Androids are now effectively part of a botnet, under the control of malicious hackers. Android users need to be extremely careful when downloading applications from sites, especially when they're not official Android markets," added Cluely.

"With help from internet users, we were able to identify that the image comes from a Moscow wedding photograph, where this one person was dressed a lot more casually than other guests. The man's photo became widespread on Russian internet forums, making him something of a celebrity. There's no reason to believe, however, that he has anything to do with the Android malware attack," said Cluely.

Curiously, the malware contains a random number of identical photos of a man.
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