Another day, another bit of Android malware

Aaaaand the hits keep on coming. It seems like justyesterday that I was telling you about a choice bit of Android malwaredisguised as a game. Now, you can infect your smartphone by trying to install abogus version of the ultra-popular Instagram.

With this new exploit, users infect themselves by grabbingthe app from a near-perfect spoofed version of the Instagram site. Install thisrogue app, and a Trojan is installed onto your phone, which turns around andsends SMS messages to premium numbers, racking up your bill.

The lesson, as always, is to try to download apps fromtrusted sources. If you’re downloading directly from the vendor, do your verybest to make sure you’re at the correct site before installing anything. (Ifit’s an IP address in your browser bar, you’re almost certainly not at theright place.) Double-check before committing to anything.

This is usually where I’d say to try to get your downloadsdirectly from Google Play if you can, but even that’s not a guarantee of safety. In fact, last week there werealso reports of a Trojan found in as many as 15 apps found on the Google Playstore, mostly targeted at Japanese users with eyes that rove towards moresalacious content.

I’ve finally bitten the bullet and put an anti-malware solutionon my phone – in this case, Norton Mobile Security. I’ll write about it in moredetail once I’ve had a chance to live with it for a while.

The sobering reality is much the same as it used to be inthe world of PCs: even with protection onboard, you’re never going to be 100%safe. Indeed, in these early days of smartphone malware protection, it can bereally hit and miss: worryingly, a good chunk of these products catch only65-90 per cent of threats, and some – even products from trusted names – catchless than 65 per cent.

If it feels like the Wild West out there to you, you’re notalone. But it’s the new reality for the post-PC age: as people move away fromtheir desktop and perform more of their day-to-day activity on mobile devices,that’s where the bad guys are going to start targeting you. So stay sharp.


Smartphone malware image by


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthers is a freelance writer, video producer and host based in Toronto, Canada. Most recently, he was a Senior Producer at, where he was responsible for the conception, writing, production and editing of a number of web video shows, including Lab Rats, How Do I?, Status Update, The Noob, and more.

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