Can the “Mexico Did It” photo infect your phone with a virus in just 5 seconds?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Updated @ 2023-09-13 : Revised for a new wave
Originally posted @ 2022-11-07
Claim : “Mexico Did It” Photo Will Infect Your Phone With A Virus!
The warning about the “Mexico Did It” photo or image that will infect your phone with a virus keeps going… viral on WhatsApp and social media.
There are two versions so far – in English, and in Spanish.
Truth : There Is No “Mexico Did It” Photo / Virus!
This is just another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media like Facebook and Twitter, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : This Viral Message Has Been Circulating Since 2021
The viral message about the “Mexico Did It” photo or virus has been circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter since April 2021.
Fact #2 : This Is A Modified Version Of “Argentina Is Doing It”
This viral message is actually a modified version of an earlier fake message, which claims that a video on WhatsApp called “Argentina is doing it” will hack your phone in 10 seconds.
It just replaces Argentina with Mexico, a video with a photo, and changes it from a 10-second hack into a 5-second virus attack.
Those two fake news are, in turn, probably based on the even older fake claim that hackers are using greeting photos and videos to hack your phone.
Read more : Can Greeting Photos + Videos Hack Your Phone?!
Fact #3 : There Is No “Mexico Did It” Photo / Virus
There is no such thing as a “Mexico Did It” image or photo. Neither is there a virus called “Mexico Did It“.
There is also no known virus that can infect your phone with a virus simply using a photo or image.
Fact #4 : CNN + BBC Never Reported On Such A virus
It’s been over 2.5 years since this fake story first appeared on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, but neither CNN nor BBC has ever reported on a “Mexico Did It” virus.
Fact #5 : Image-Based Malware Is Possible, But…
Digital steganography is a method by which secret messages and other data can be hidden in digital files, like a photo or a video, or even a music file.
It is also possible to embed malicious code within a photo, but it won’t be a full-fledged malware that can execute by itself.
At most, it can be used to hide the malware payload from antivirus scanners, which is pretty clever to be honest… but it cannot hack your smartphone by itself.
Recommended : Can Restaurant Menu QR Code Hack Your Phone?!
Fact #6 : Image-Based Malware Requires User Action
In January 2019, cybercriminals created an online advertisement with a script that appears innocuous and would pass any malware check.
However, the image itself has an “almost white” rectangle that is recognised by the script, triggering it to redirect the user to the cybercriminals’ website. Once there, the victim is tricked into installing a Trojan disguised as an Adobe Flash Player update.
Such a clever way to bypass malware checks, but even so, this image-based malware requires user action.
You cannot get infected by the Trojan if you practice good “Internet hygiene” by not downloading or installing anything from unknown websites.
Fact #7 : Malicious Code Executes Immediately
If you accidentally download and trigger malware, it will execute immediately. It won’t take 5 seconds, as the hoax message claims.
Generally, malware won’t wait a few seconds before it infects your devices. Waiting will only increase the risk of detection.
Unless the malware creator designed it to only infect your phone when you are sleeping (like the early hours of the morning), it pays to execute immediately.
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