This story was first published on April 7, 2015
According to this ‘warning’, which is circulating via SMS and social media, you should be careful not to accept a video called ‘The Dance of The Pope’.
The message claims that the video is a very dangerous virus that will format your mobile phone, thereby presumably wiping all of the infected phone’s data. Supposedly, the warning was announced on the radio.
The message asks you to pass on the information to as many people as possible.
However, the would-be warning has no credibility. I could find no legitimate security warnings about a mobile phone-based malware threat like the one described.
Malware threats to mobile phones are increasing and are likely to continue to increase. However, there is no credible information about any sort of phone malware that will actually format a mobile phone in the way suggested in the ‘warning’.
Another, almost identical, variant of the hoax substitutes “Dance of the Hillary” for “Dance of The Pope”. Both versions are equally nonsensical.
And, both hoaxes are strongly reminiscent of much earlier virus hoax messages that claimed a particular email contained a virus that would destroy or wipe a computer’s hard drive.
Passing on false or misleading security warnings only serves to cause confusion. If you receive this hoax message, please do not pass it on to others. And please let the sender know that the warning is not valid.
An example of the hoax message
URGENT: 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. It was announced on the radio in USA. Copy n paste