Hoax Warning About ‘WhatsApp Virus’ Resurfaces Online In Pakistan

Hoax WhatsApp Virus Pakistan

Multiple social media posts shared in January 2021 claim that a hoax malicious video spreading virus entitled “Argentina” is circulating on WhatsApp and will hack your phone within 10 seconds resurfaces in Pakistan. Most of these posts attribute the warning to Pakistan’s National Information Technology Board (NITB). The claim is misleading.

The message is a hoax that has previously circulated in several other countries, according to AFP. Now the hoax viral Whatsapp virus relating video is resurfacing in Pakistan as well. Online archives show the NITB tweeted a warning about the hoax message on January 11, 2021 but later removed it.

whatsapp virus
Image: Reuters

“NITB Cyber Alerts,” reads a Facebook shared on January 11, 2021, by Facebook page TechRupt, which has more than 100,000 followers.
“A malicious video named ” Argentina” is circulating on WhatsApp that shows how the COVID-19 curve is flattening in Argentina. Do not open the link as it hacks your phone in 10 seconds & it cannot be stopped in any way.”

The post features a poster issued by Pakistan’s National Information Technology Board (NITB). The title reads: “CYBER SECURITY ALERT.”

Image: AFP

Facebook and Twitter also saw similar posts with the same warning. The claim in the posts is misleading.

Deleted tweet

A keyword search on Google showed that the NITB removed its warning about the hoax message.

A digital archive of the NITB’s tweet can be seen on the Wayback Machine.

virus hoax
Image: AFP

Global hoax

The same misleading warning message has previously circulated on social media around the world, including in Argentina, Nigeria, the Philippines, and the US. Moreover, AFP debunked the message as a hoax. 

whatsapp virus
Image: Bloomberg

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) dismissed the purported warning, saying it was “aimed at causing panic”.

“The message warns the recipient not to open a video file called “Argentina Is Doing It” as it will hack their phone in 10 seconds,” it said in a Facebook statement on July 18, 2020. “This message has been identified as fake.”

Signal and Telegram messaging apps recently saw an increase in demand. Why? Because larger rival WhatsApp’s updated terms of service raised eyebrows on social media.

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