According to a message that began circulating via WhatsApp in July 2020, you should not open a video called “Argentina is doing it”. An alternative version was also posted on Twitter.
Supposedly, opening the video will hack your phone in 10 seconds and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
The would-be warning claims that an unidentified “they” are about to start circulating the dangerous video. According to the message, the video shows how the COVID-19 curve is flattening in Argentina. It asks that you pass on the warning to your family and friends. It further claims that the warning was aired via news outlet CNN.
Here’s an example of the circulating message:
Just a heads up ….They are going to start circulating a video on WhatsApp that shows how the Covid19 curve is flattening in Argentina. The file is called “Argentina is doing it”, do not open it or see it, it hacks your phone in 10 seconds and it cannot be stopped in any way. Pass the information on to your family and friends. Now they also said it on CNN
However, the claims in the message are false. The warning is just another silly WhatsApp hoax. No such video is circulating and there are no credible warnings or news reports about a malware attack that could hack your phone in the way described. Moreover, the warning was never published on CNN as claimed.
In fact, the message is just a COVID-19 flavoured version of earlier – and equally spurious – WhatsApp hacker hoaxes. Note the similar wording of the infamous “Martinelli” hacker hoax, which began circulating in 2017:
Tomorrow comes a video for whatsapp is called martinelli do not open it hacks the phone in 10 seconds and you can not stop in any way pass the data to yours and friends
Circulating such nonsensical warnings helps nobody and will only add to the fear and confusion caused by the current coronavirus pandemic. If this fake warning comes your way, please do not share it with others. And let the person who posted it know that the warning is just a hoax.
A screenshot of the hoax message:
A screenshot of the Twitter version:
Transcript of the Twitter version:
ATTENTION: ALL WHATSAPP USERS a video on COVID 19 has started circulating about Argentina flattening the curve .. called ARGENTINA IS DOING IT .. do not open it or your phone will be hacked within 10 seconds
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!