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Remove Instagram virus (6 scam versions included)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Malware

Instagram virus is a set of malware and phishing campaigns that target the popular social network

Instagram virus reborn 2018
Instagram virus is a type of malicious infections and phishing schemes that target Instagram users

Instagram virus is a term used to describe a group of malware[1] that circulates on the giant social media platform. It emerges in the form of advertisements and fake Instagram feeds. In 2016, a group of cyber criminals managed to crack Instagram's scam filter and started distributing “Instagram Ugly List 2016” feeds on behalf of compromised account's user.

Soon after that, Zeus-related Instagram virus has been released. According to experts, crooks target users' accounts and start following people and like posts following the hack. Camouflaging Facebook, criminals also developed Who Viewed Me on Instagram? Scam, which may be used for the collection of user's names, log in details and other personal information. At the end of 2018, a new wave of Instagram virus related to RayBan ads showed up. 

Questions about Instagram virus

The newest threat that affects the social network giant is called “The Nasty List,”[2] and it operates very similarly to the previous list scams.  Users are directed to enter their Instagram credentials into a spoofed site, which gives hackers full access to victims' Instagram account. Additionally, a copy of the scam surfaced a week later, called “The Hot List” which, based on the looks, is operated by the same malicious actors.

Name Instagram virus
Classification Malware
Variants The Ugly List 2016 scam, Instagram followers virus, Who Viewed Your Instagram Profile virus, and RayBan Instagram virus 2018, The Nasty List scam, The Hot List scam
Symptoms Suspicious post, ads, news feed, and similar content posted on your behalf
Distribution Bundling, malicious links, compromised software
Elimination To get rid of the Instagram virus from your device, run a scan anti-malware software
Recovery After the termination, use Reimage for a speedy recovery from a virus infection; additionally, change Instagram password, and enable two-factor authentication

You probably have already heard about malware variants such as Facebook virus or Skype virus; in this article, we are going to define different forms of Instagram virus and provide information on how to protect yourself from malware that targets users of this social media application.

If you suspect that your device has been infected, we suggest you follow Instagram virus removal guidelines (provided below the article) and remove the malicious program as soon as possible. You should also scan the device with anti-malware software – recommended ones are provided below the article.

Adidas ads scam
Instagram users are offered 70% discount on branded Adidas shows.

Instagram virus variants

The Ugly List 2016 scam.

It is a new virus that rapidly spreads through Instagram with the help of infected accounts. The virus uses the compromised account to post a picture that says “Instagram Ugly List 2016,”[3] and tags random victim’s friends in the picture with a short comment “LOL how did your profile on the list,” “omg your profile on the list,” “this is crazy all you guys are there” or “wow u made the ugly list.”

If you have been tagged in such picture, do not click on such notifications. Typically, such malicious posts provide a URL that points to a malware-laden website, which steals user’s login details. A stolen account then is used for further virus proliferation. Please do not click on such eye-catching links and do not let your curiosity lead you to sites that compromise your social media account. If your account has been hacked, try to change your password, and if you can’t, report the problem to Instagram.

Instagram virus delivers fake ads
Instagram virus is a group of malware that targets users' accounts to spread fake ads, feeds or follow/like other people.

Instagram followers virus.

This virus is closely related to the infamous Zeus virus, which was initially used to steal credit card information from victims. Now the virus hacks Instagram accounts and converts them to zombies that follow people and like their posts.

So, if you have noticed suspicious posts in your Instagram feed, you should quickly change your Instagram password and also remove Instagram virus that has your permission to like posts and follow people on your behalf. You should also take these permissions back by revoking app access.

See who views your profile scam
See who views your profile scam claims that users will be able to see who is visiting their profile (while in reality it is impossible)

Who Viewed Your Instagram Profile virus.

There are bogus apps that falsely claim to be able to reveal people who viewed your profile on Instagram. Of course, all of us are curious, and it would be interesting to find out who repetitiously visits our social media accounts, but… Instagram does not provide such feature and third-party apps that promise to reveal names of people who visit your profile are simply lying to you. For example, apps like InstaCare – Who cares with me? or Who Viewed Me on Instagram? are developed by Turkyer Bayram – the same person who has created the infamous InstaAgent application that stole users’ login details and even posted unauthorized posts via victims’ accounts.

RayBan Instagram virus.

The Instagram community started expressing their concern about misleading ads offering discounted Ray-Bans or Ray-Bans for 90 percent.[4] Ads that keep interrupting users' feed and tag them every day were spotted in the middle of April 2018, however, the first signs of this scam are known to have come out three years ago (2019)!

RayBan Instagram virus
RayBan Instagram virus offers RayBan glasses with 90% discount

Initially used on Facebook, the Ray-Ban scam turned to Instagram users. Therefore, the users of this particular platform should beware of a constant stream of friends tagging you and your relatives to buy luxurious Ray-Ban sunglasses with a great discount. Sometimes the RayBan Instagram virus manifests itself in the form of sponsored ads. However, people most frequently witness a photo from a friend with a group of people tagged in. 

According to ESET researchers, this type of scam has been actively distributed via spam emails and targets UK, Japan and Spain users in particular. NoVirus.uk[5] security experts claim that there are two possible reasons for the fake Instagram photos and ads, i.e., account hack or malware infection. Therefore, if you noticed questionable content related to RayBan, scan your PC with a reputable anti-virus and change your account's password.

The Nasty List Instagram scam

“The Nasty List” scam surfaced in mid-April 2019. Users started a conversation on Reddit,[6] claiming that their Instagram account got compromised after they clicked on the link in a direct message from a family member.

Users usually receive a message that starts with something as:

OMG your actually on here, @The_Nasty_List_918

omg your #15 on this list. So messed up

WTF you are literally on here

WOW. Your on here!!! ranked 100

Instagram virus Nasty List scam

Naturally, this type of message immediately catches multiple users' attention, as it implies that the victim on “The Nasty List.” Soon after clicking on a link, users are directed to a fake Instagram profile that prompts them to click on another URL.

Those who proceed are directed to a spoofed Instagram login page, which asks them to enter credentials. If looking closely, however, meticulous users would spot that the URL is not Instagram.com but rather nastylist-instatop50.me or similar. Nevertheless, the login page does look legitimate, so many users could give out their login details without giving a second thought about it.

As soon as credentials are entered, hackers can take over the Instagram account of the victim, which then they use to promote the Nasty List scam even further. Additionally, this would allow bad actors to change any type of details on the account, including phone number, email address or a password.

It is yet unknown what malicious plot behind the “Nasty List” hides, but criminals could sell the acquired Instagram login credentials on the Dark Web, or even establish a botnet that would distribute data-stealing malware.

If you entered your Instagram credentials into the spoofed Instagram login page, your account is compromised. Immediately change your password and check if your contact details were not changed by crooks. It is also worth noticing that those who had two-factor authentication[7] enabled can be sure that hackers were unable to access their account.

The Hot List scam

Just a week after “The Nasty List” scam showed up on Instagram, new fake messages surfaced – “The Hot List.” Just as its predecessor, the scam works practically identically.

Users receive a direct message from a person on their friend list – this just makes the scam more believable. It usually claims that the victim is on “The Hot List” and urges him or her to click on the link:[8]

I just saw a few of your photos on the @The_HotList_95 and they are already upvoted to #26!

If the bogus link is clicked, the user will end up on a fake Instagram profile, usually called “The Hot List” or “Everyone's on here Look.” From there, he or she will be asked to enter Instagram credentials on a spoofed Instagram page, which will allow the takeover of the account. From there, crooks can spread malicious messages to everybody on the hacked person's friend list.

Instagram virus the hot list scam
The Hot list scam claims you are on there. It is a lie - do not enter the Instagram credentials of your account will get hacked

As usual, if you fell a victim of “The Hot List” scam, make sure you reset your Instagram password and immediately enable two-factor authentication.

Malicious email and malware may be at the back of this infection

Although attacks against Instagram users is still not a very common phenomenon, we are sure that you have been tagged on shady pictures on Instagram at least once. Accounts that tag random users on photos that promise thousands of likers and followers typically urge to visit a particular website, which often appears to be untrustworthy or even malicious.

You should never click on vague links unless you know that the Instagram account that advertises it is legitimate and trustworthy. The second thing to remember is that applications that promise you unique access to the list of people who viewed your profile are usually deceptive, and you should stay clear of them.

You should never provide your login details to suspicious apps that promise to enormously increase your followers (they usually add bots that Instagram deletes after a while, so consequently you lose followers that you paid for). If you want to gather more followers and likers, focus on the content you pose, and better do not rely on suspicious vendors that suggest buying a pig in a poke.

Learn how to remove Instagram virus

If you suspect that your mobile device has a virus, you should scan it with anti-malware program compatible with your device. We suggest using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner, although any other reputable security application should work. After that, you should scan your machine with Reimage for best results, as it will help you recover from malware infection. Finally, you should follow the instructions provided below to finish the Instagram virus removal and get rid of the virus’ remains.

  1. The first thing that you should do is to revoke and block suspicious apps that have permissions to act on your behalf and control your Instagram account. Log in to your account via web browser. Don’t use the application – use a web browser.
  2. Go to your profile, then click Edit Profile. Next, click on Authorized Applications.
  3. Here, you can find a list of programs that have access to your account. You can find Revoke Access button below each of these programs. Click it and hit Yes when a confirmation pop-up appears.
  4. Change your password.

In case you cannot log in to your account, contact Instagram directly. You can reach automated support via 650-543-4800, write an email to support@instagram.com or use Help center service. 

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Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.
Instagram virus snapshot
Instagram virus removal

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References

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  1. t25a says:
    November 28th, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Ive been infected with such virus when I was trying to get more followers. i downloaded an app that promised me 1000 followers and provided my login details. The next day I couldnt login into my account!

  2. Kiara991 says:
    November 28th, 2016 at 2:00 am

    I am sick of these stupid spammers who tag me in Instagrams ugly list 2016. Also I am sick of people who tag me into stupid photos saying that I can get more followers. I wish Instagram provided a function that would not allow strangers to tag u in suspicious posts! It is disturbing and wastes your time. Such function would be great.

  3. Nint3nd0_01 says:
    November 28th, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Oh Im so over the instagrams Ugly List spam. In the past, I used to be tagged in these nasty posts like 2 or 3 times a day. Im glad that Instagram is finally taking actions to shut this nasty spam campaign down.

  4. l0lcraft says:
    November 28th, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Ive been pwned by Who Viewed your Profile virus…

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