Fact Check: Viral message of a video titled “India is doing it” is a hoax on WhatsApp
A viral message is doing rounds claiming that a video showing how COVID19 curve is flattening in India, titled “India is doing it” is in circulation and when we open it, it will hack our phone within 10 seconds.
A viral message is doing rounds claiming that a video showing how COVID19 curve is flattening in India, titled “India is doing it” is in circulation and when we open it, it will hack our phone within 10 seconds. The message warns us not to open the video and to pass on the information to family and friends.
It is viral on WhatsApp also.
The message is a hoax. Messages with similar wording were also viral and have been debunked by several fact check organisations.
When searched using keywords like COVID19 curve, flattening in India’, ‘India is doing it’, we found that this viral message was viral in 2020 and was debunked by several other organisations. We did not find any genuine articles about the message “India is doing it” message and it hacking phones.
According to cyber experts, WhatsApp rectified this vulnerability of getting hacked by video in 2019. The agency suggested the users to update the latest version to avoid remote attack by hackers. Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) had advised citizens to update WhatsApp version in November 2019. Times of India report states that this update was because a new vulnerability had been discovered which might allow hackers to target someone by simply sending malicious video file via WhatsApp.
According to Boom fact check, the cyber experts explained that the bug was fixed and therefore updates were necessary on the phone.
This update was also explained in various news reports.
An article about cyber security in Forbes.com states that these hoax WhatsApp messages are the modern equivalent of the old chain letter that urged the reader to send copies to ten more people, or something terrible will happen to them.. the real problem is these hoax messages go viral and can turn into malware distribution tool.
Therefore, the message talking about the video showing the flattening COVID 19 curve and with title ‘India is doing it’ is a hoax message trying to mislead netizens. The claim is false.