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WhatsApp Warning on 'Seismic Waves Card' Around Morocco Earthquake is a Hoax!

This hoax message has been shared earlier following an earthquake in Colombia.

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WebQoof
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Following the recent devastating earthquake in Morocco, that claimed nearly 3000 lives, a message going viral on the internet cautions users about something called a "Seismic Waves CARD" that has the potential to hack a phone in 10 seconds.

This hoax message has been shared earlier following an earthquake in Colombia.

An archive of the post can be found here

(Source: X/Screenshot) 

(Archives of similar claims can be found here, here and here.)

This claim is viral on X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook. We also received queries about this on our WhatsApp tipline.

What is the truth?: The 'Seismic Waves Card' virus is an internet hoax and is not related to any malware that is capable of hacking devices.

  • No records or reports have been found on the said "cyber attack".

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How did we find out?: Upon conducting a keyword search, we found that a similar hoax reported by Madrid-based news and fact-checking organisation, Newtral, had spread earlier following an earthquake that took place in Colombia in August.

  • The report noted that there was no evidence form the media or cyber security organisations to prove such a malware attack.

  • Swipe right to see the posts shared in relation to the earthquake in Colombia.

(Archives of these posts can be found here, here and here.)

  • These have been shared in connection to the earthquake that stuck in Colombia in August. 

    (Source: X/Screenshot) 

What is the 'Seismic Waves Card' hoax?: This hoax claims that a file of photos of the Colombia or Morocco earthquake shared on WhatsApp can hack one's device when downloaded.

  • The Newtral report stated that these messages circulated in connection to the Colombia and Morocco earthquakes were a hoax.

  • The National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE) of Spain told Newtral that it had not received any queries about the same.

This hoax message has been shared earlier following an earthquake in Colombia.

Here is an excerpt from the Newtral report. 

(Source: Newtral/Screenshot) 

  • Newtral also noted that similar messages had been previously linked to the Colombian earthquake. However, the pictures were attributed to a Chilean volcano eruption. Even then, INCIBE had verified that those messages were a hoax.

What do cyber security experts say: The Quint spoke to Karan Saini, a security researcher at the Infosec Clinic who clarified that the "Seismic Waves Card" is not real.

  • He added, "If such a possibility existed, there would be security researchers from Meta's own team that would warn others against its existence instead of forwarding messages on their WhatsApp."

  • Saini explained that the hoax seemed "inspired" by zero-day vulnerabilities that exist in phone operating systems that expose devices for exploitation by bad actors and "jeopardise one's device and their personal data."

  • He gave an example of the Pegasus, an Israeli spyware that delivered GIF images marred with a code to politically exposed people and civil society groups.

  • He also mentioned that such vulnerabilities were highly uncommon, and "would certainly not be used against the wide public in such an undiscriminating manner."

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Conclusion: Clearly, this viral WhatsApp forward warning people against the Seismic Waves Card virus is fake.

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(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Morocco   Webqoof   Fact-Check 

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