Can the Seismic Wave Card containing photos of the recent Hamas attacks on Israel hack your phone?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Israel Seismic Wave Card Can Hack Your Phone!
This warning about the Seismic Wave Card containing photos of the recent Hamas attacks on Israel has gone viral on WhatsApp:
Some people are going to upload pictures of the fighting in Jewish settlements on WhatsApp. The file is called Seismic Waves CARD.
Do not open it, it will hack your phone in 10 seconds and cannot be stopped in any way.
They talked about it on TV. A cyber attack on us from all kinds of directions is also starting.
Pass the information on to family and friends.
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Truth : There Is No Israel Earthquake Seismic Wave Card!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and here are reasons why…
Fact #1 : There Is No Seismic Wave Card!
First, let me just point out that there is no such thing as a Seismic Wave Card.
The Seismic Wave Card is an Internet hoax that keeps getting recycled for every disaster that comes along, like these examples show:
They are going to upload some photos of the Moroccan earthquake on WhatsApp. The file is called Seismic Waves CARD, don’t open it and see it, it will hack your phone in 10 seconds and it cannot be stopped in any way. Share the information with your family and friends.
DO NOT OPEN IT. They also said it on TV
They are going to upload some photos of the Cariaco earthquake on Whatsapp. The file is called Waves Seismic CARD, do not open or see it, it will hack your phone in 10 seconds and it cannot be stopped in any way. Pass the information on to your family and friends. DO NOT OPEN IT. They also said it on TV.
There is no need to open any file, or install any app, to view photos on WhatsApp. You simply click to view photos shared by other people on WhatsApp.
Of course, people may sometimes share high-resolution photos in ZIP or RAR files, because WhatsApp greatly reduces the resolution of photos shared on its platform.
Unless you know what you are doing, it’s best to only view photos and videos directly inside WhatsApp, and not download any compressed files at all.
Fact #3 : Seismic Waves Card Is Not A Browser Hijacker
Seismic Waves Card appears to be falsely labelled as a browser hijacker by at least one “cybersecurity” website:
The scam message known as Seismic Waves Card is notorious for its disruptive behavior while surfing the web. Generally, scams like this, and other like Mintnav and Lookaside fbsbx, are crafted to meddle with your browser’s settings, replacing homepages and default search engines to promote affiliated sites and generate advertising revenue.
There is no evidence that a malware or browser hijacker called Seismic Waves Card exists. The article itself does not offer any evidence to prove its existence. In fact, the article and its guide on how to “remove” the malware appears to be generic, and may possibly be AI-generated.
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Fact #4 : 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.
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Fact #5 : 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.
This is an incredibly 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 #6 : Malicious Code Executes Immediately
If you accidentally download and trigger malware, it will execute immediately. It won’t take 10 seconds, as the hoax message claims.
There is really no reason for malware to wait before it infects your devices. Waiting will only increase the risk of detection.
Whether the malware serves to take over your device, steal your information or encrypt it for ransom, it pays to do it at the first opportunity.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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