Earlier today my wife received a message warning of a virus that supposedly “formats your mobile” by accepting a video called “Sonia disowns Rahul”.
Here is the message she received:
Tell all the contacts on your list not to accept a video called “Sonia disowns Rahul” It is a virus that formats your mobile. It is very dangerous. They announced it on the radio today. Fwd this MSG to as many as you can. pass it on please
If you are clued-up in computer security you probably already know that this is utter cobblers. But just in case you aren’t, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
- Is it just videos with that name we have to watch out for? Couldn’t the bad guys just change the name of the video?
- How can a video infect a smartphone with a virus anyway?
- How would it be capable of “formatting” your mobile phone?
- Umm.. what kind of mobile phone are we talking about? iPhone? Android? Windows Mobile? Nokia 6110?
- “They announced it on the radio”? Who are “they”? Was it your local DJ, or a respected security company?
- What radio station?
- Did they Google to see if this is a known hoax?
- WHERE IS THE LINK TO A RESPECTED LEGITIMATE SECURITY FIRM/BLOG WHERE YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THIS THREAT? (sorry for shouting, but seriously…)
Sigh… anytime you receive a message like this your spider-sense should be twitching as soon as you are encouraged to share it will all of your friends. It’s far too easy to simply forward a message to everyone in your address book without doing the most elementary form of double-checking. Do you really want to gain a reputation with your friends and family for believing such nonsense?
I mean, I love that people are looking out for each other.. but sometimes you can cause more bad than good by sharing nonsense online.
It turns out that this particular hoax has been doing the rounds for quite some time – that’s another problem with forwarding such alerts – if it were a real alert, how would you advise everyone that the threat has been countered?
It seems people will believe just about any security warnings they read on the internet… even if they are made by kids in their bedroom.
Seriously folks. Don’t take your computer security advice from videos like this. Visit a reliable source of information instead.