Message circulating via social media and SMS warns people not to accept a video called ‘Sonia disowns Rahul’ because it is a very dangerous virus that will format your mobile phone.
The message is a hoax. There are no credible reports about a virus or malware threat like the one described. The message is just an updated version of the earlier ‘Dance of the Pope’ virus hoax. Forwarding this false information will help nobody.
Tell all contacts from your list not to accept a video called “Sonia disowns Rahul”. It is a virus that formats your mobile. Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on the radio. Fwd this msg to as many as you can
This message, which is circulating via social media and SMS, warns you not to accept a video called ‘Sonia disowns Rahul’ because it is a dangerous virus that will format your mobile phone. The message claims that the wording was announced on the radio. It asks that you tell all your contacts about the threat and forward the warning message to as many people as possible.
However, the warning message is a hoax and should not be forwarded. There is no virus like the one described in the warning. Despite the claim in the warning that it was ‘announced on the radio’, I could find no credible news or media reports about such a malware attack. If such an attack was really happening, information about it would have been published via many news and tech security outlets, not just one unidentified radio station.
In fact, the hoax is just an updated variant of an earlier hoax that warned mobile phone users not to accept a video called ‘Dance of the Pope’. As the following example reveals, the wording of both hoaxes is almost identical:
Tell all contacts from your list not to accept a video called the dance of the Pope. It is a virus that formats your mobile. Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on the radio. Pass on to as many as you can.
And, the ‘Dance of the Pope’ version was itself reminiscent of a series of earlier hoaxes that falsely claimed that accepting a person as a contact could allow hackers to take over your computer. Other long circulated virus hoaxes have also made the false claim that a ‘virus’ could destroy a computer’s hard drive.
Of course, malware is indeed a growing threat to mobile phone users. However, spreading false virus warnings like this one is counterproductive and will serve only to spread confusion and misinformation. If you receive this hoax message, do not share it with others. And let the person who sent it to you know that the message is a hoax.
Last updated: March 12, 2016
First published: March 12, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen