Malware-infected download knocks last trace of hipster gloss from Instagram

As if Facebook and Android weren't enough to make hipsters shut off the cam on their iPhones...

If you're one of those dedicated Instagram users who were devastated when the photo-smearing software vendor opened the gate to barbarians by releasing a version of the app for Android, then had to deal with the acquisition of both by Facebook (home base for barbarians), let me offer my condolences.

It's just not going to be the same faux-nostalgic, style-overdosed, unviewably artistic,Kodachromed, almost-ironic, rose-colored-glasses-tinted image of a world any more.

You knew it would happen. Walled gardens like the Instagram community, which contained only 30 million aestheticians before being pimped to Android users April 3, can't be protected forever.

(It was obvious even to Windows users Instagram would change, but they didn't even seem to appreciate what they were getting, which is as fraughty an issue as there is.)

And now that the image is out of the iPhone, as it were, there's no protecting it from the Philistines trampling the ironically arranged shrubbery with open-toe sandals worn with socks.

Of course, now that everyone is admitted (more than five million downloads in a week) Instagram is more attractive to those who prey on Philistines, too.

Download the app from any site but Google Play (and possibly from Google Play, too, considering its spotty record of identifying malware in apps it offers), and you risk infection from a Trojan known as Andr/Boxer-F, according to security vendor Sophos, which offers a removal tool for Philistines foolish enough to download without protection.

The Trojan, identified first by Trend Micro, mimics Instagram's download page and some of it's install process. Once it's installed it sends SMS messages to premium-rate phone numbers and may collect private data to phone home as well.

Of course, it is imported, but not from anywhere good.

That's Russian on the Instagram click-me ad, but not good Russian – the post-Soviet, neo-capitalist-but-not-too-capitalist, no-longer-Jew-hating, completely anti-Soviet, anti-Putin, completely non-kleptocratic anti-oligopolists wearing skinny jeans and speaking Hipster with those darling Eastern European accents.

No, this is bad Russian – organized, criminal, capitalist without the high moral standards of Wall Street, out to trick consumers into downloading their filthy little malware-infected imitation while pretending it's even possible to learn how to use a deck app like Instagram on something as fin as Android.

If you do check out the Russian virus version (just look, don't download), you'll get one photo-centric treat: the photo of a Russian man in warmup pants who looks inappropriately dressed for a wedding and for inclusion in a Russian Trojan payload.

He's actually a Russian Internet meme, identified by Sophos reader @suncho as "свидетель из Фрязино." People insert him in otherwise innocent images to photobomb pictures after they've already been taken. He's a virtual photobomb.

Even the virus edition of Instagram contributes something to Android.

If this is all too mainstream for you – the virus, Android, Facebook, non-Mac users openly discussing the merits of Mac-user aesthetics – you can delete your Instagram account and get on with your life.

Just don't download Angry Birds if you're looking to blow off some steam with a stupid game, at least if you're using Android. Trend Micro found a virus on it, too.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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