'Instagram for PC' application is a marketing scam

Symantec said the program is a lure that leads people to surveys

An advertisement circulating on Facebook and Twitter for a desktop version of the photo-sharing application Instagram is a scam, according to security vendor Symantec.

An advertisement circulating on Facebook and Twitter for a desktop version of the photo-sharing application Instagram is a scam, according to security vendor Symantec.

An advertisement circulating on Facebook and Twitter for a desktop version of the photo-sharing application Instagram is a scam, according to security vendor Symantec.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is only available for mobile devices. Its popularity, however, makes it attractive for spammers and scammers, wrote Satnam Narang, a security response manager with Symantec, on Tuesday.

"Both of the supposed versions of Instagram for PC do not deliver as promised," Narang wrote. "This is just another vehicle for the scammers to convince users to fill out surveys, so they earn money through shady affiliate programs."

Luckily, Narang wrote that "there was no malicious functionality bundled with the software, such as a keylogger or backdoor." Such ploys are typically wrapped up with malicious software.

The scammers offer what is purportedly an emulator that allows Instagram to run on a desktop computer. Clicking on a link initiated two downloads, one of which is a large ".rar" compressed archive and the other a bundle of dynamic link library files, Narang wrote.

Running the program launches a login screen. If a user logs in, an error message is displayed along with a dialog asking if the user wants to download another file that is supposedly needed.

The program then implores people to "click a variety of social sharing options before trying the download again," Narang wrote. Finally, the user is lead to a survey.

Another version of Instagram for PC asks the user to activate the program that then displays a pop-up window, which leads to another survey.

The dodgy program has gained a bit of traction. Narang wrote more than 4,000 people have posted about the application on Twitter and Facebook. Another 2,000 have shared it on Google+.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags FacebookInstagram

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?