Fresh off the heels of its highly anticipated Android release, the world has gone gaga for Instagram. The photo editing application—which had already established itself as the must-have photo app among iPhone users—reportedly received one million downloads within the first 12 hours of being released in the Android market. And it's not too surprising to see why.
With tons of different filters and built-in social sharing, it's one of the most fun, easy to use, and addictive apps to keep in your back pocket—not to mention the attractive price tag. (It's free.) But the potential of its mass appeal really became apparent when Facebook bought the app, just days after its Android release, for nearly 1 billion dollars in cash and stock. (Yes we said "billion"—with a "b".)
Unfortunately, as the number of new curious users continued to rise, Instagram also caught the attention of some savvy cybercriminals.
By mimicking the Instagram download page, imposter apps were able to release Trojan horses onto thousands of unsuspecting smartphone users' mobile devices. Once downloaded, the malicious malware would send text messages to premium-rate numbers without the users' knowledge.
Unfortunately, malware threats like these are becoming more and more common on mobile devices and social media applications. Similar threats have popped up in recent weeks with the release of other popular mobile game apps like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds in Space. Because these kinds of apps are so popular among so many millions of users, they have the potential to make excited adopters easy targets.
So how can you keep your own smartphone safe? Here are the top three pre-download rules to follow to keep fake and fraudulent apps at bay.