23rd August 2013
An advertisement currently appearing on Facebook and Twitter for a desktop computer version Instagram should be ignored, as it is a scam.
The popular photo and video-sharing application owned by Facebook, is available only for Apple and Android mobile devices, distributed by App Store and Google Play. However, its global popularity, with over 100 million active users, makes it a popular message for fraudsters.
A spokesman for internet security company Symantec said: “Both of the supposed versions of Instagram for PC do not deliver as promised. This is just another vehicle for the scammers to convince users to fill out surveys, so they earn money through shady affiliate programs.” He added that there is not any malware associated with this particular scam. This is not to say, however, that similar scams using Instagram or other apps as a subject will not harm you or your computer or mobile device.
The advertisement offers what is thought to be an 'emulator', which allows Instagram to run on a desktop computer. Clicking on the link starts two downloads, one of which is a program that if run, launches a login screen. An error message is displayed, accompanied by a request for the user to download a further file, which ultimately leads to a survey. Other versions of the scam work in slightly different ways, but none will enable you to run Instagram on anything but your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.