Mobile Virus Hoax

mobilephonevirus.jpgSend this email/SMS to x number of people or ‘bad luck’ will come down hard on you, send it to y number of people and you will receive a good news within z number of days. Such themes are a recurrent feature of chain messages, which were in the past restricted to email, but since the arrival of extremely cost efficient Short Messaging Services (SMS) they’ve infected factions of Karachi’s over eager mobile phone users like an uncontrollably growing endemic.

Its less annoying when this form of spamming engulfs your E-mail Inbox, you can just hit delete without reading it and the illogicality never gets the chance to make a mark on your memory. But when such messages spread around on cell phones they’re harder to ignore (for starters because you can’t delete a message without reading it) and hence generally tend to be more annoying as well. Take for example the recent well spread rumor about a hoax virus that could do anything from simply messing up your phone device to taking your life.

The said virus, according to the array of circulated messages was being spread by a number starting from 0000 or 009, or by a Warid or Telenor number according to some other versions, or by more then one ‘private’ numbers according to another tale, could be exposed to by receiving a call from these numbers, and would have in turn exposed you to some absurd “voice frequency” (or “radiation” as described in some other versions) which can cause “brain damage” and ultimately lead to “death” by means as shocking as “heart attack” and as disgusting as sustained bleeding, and that too from the ears! Other people added in reports of how people had been taken to hospital, and deaths had been confirmed, as many as 20 in different cities, according to some of the messages that were blindly circulated without thought. Confusion further erupted when GEO covered the news initially as “breaking news” before later declaring it a hoax. At least a couple of my friend’s messages said they believed it only because they had “heard” GEO had reported it. And then we call ourselves generation next.

But if you’re surprised by how much attention the rumor had gained, you haven’t heard everything yet. Apparently some people started switching off their mobile phones altogether, and according to the Reuters report I linked to earlier, the rumor was so effective some mosques in city also made announcements that people were being killed by a mobile virus and they should be aware of God’s wrath! We should most certainly be aware of God’s wrath, but not for such non-existent viruses, but because of our own shortage of common sense! We’re suppose to be asraful-mukluqat (the best of creatures) for goodness sakes, how could we have fallen for something so utterly nonsensical as this?

mobile-virus.jpgCellular operators, obviously, concerned by the effect this would have on their sales issued a joint statement in a move to calm down anxious subscribers and dispel the rumors as “completely baseless”. “They do not make any sense in technological terms” their statement said and even the normally muted Pakistan Telecommunication Authority released a detailed pres statement clarifying that computer or mobile phone viruses cannot spread from a device to a human being, and denying that any such virus existed in the first place.

Even if we presume there was a such revolutionary virus, it could not have spread merely by receiving a phone call from an unknown number. I asked Umar, and he clarified that mobile viruses don’t spread just by receiving a phone call, “You have to run a malicious code on your mobile device to get effected.” So technically, if I’m understanding correctly, unless you have a GPRS enabled phone, your mobile device is automatically immune of “contracting” any virus. But here at the Karachi Metroblog we believe in providing you with absolute evidence. So let me tell you that our fellow metroblogger MB him self tried calling the said ‘death number’ (ooh, aren’t we all so scared?) but also the unknown person who forwarded him the warming SMS, and of course, he’s in perfectly good health and well-being. You can guess what happened when he tried to get in touch with these pranksters, can’t you?

Apparently the warning message giver’s phone was switched off, and the actual ‘death number’ could not be contacted either because there was insufficient credit on MB’s phone (Rs. 11 to clear matters), which tells us that it could well be an international call. May be this is a belated April fool’s joke some Tom, Dick or Harry sitting outside is playing on us (gullible?) Karachiites. The same Reuters reports adds some more insight into this issue, the prank, the reports say, is “reminiscent of the plot in the hit Hollywood movie The Ring in which people die within a week after watching a video”.

Whatever the idea behind it was, hopefully now you’ll know how to deal with any third or fourth hand accounts of this false rumor. Ignore please. Time and money are precious commodities, and they get wasted far too easily when such nonsensical rumors are given air by people who are otherwise perfectly capable of thinking normally. Please don’t let it effect you.

42 Comments so far

  1. Ameen (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 4:47 am

    Absolutely right…. My point exactly…and very very well composed.


  2. KhiTorPitt (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 5:38 am

    @Zainub, how do you get time to write soo lengthy posts ? I know you write pretty well, but I guess ppl would be more interested to read if it is short and precise, sometimes ppl might not even read it by looking at the size of the lecture.


  3. MB (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 9:37 am

    Excellent post Zainub

    Well written & extensively worked on

    I guess what came in the end is millions of rupees into the pockets of TELENOR or WARID and these stupids kept on spreading it

    We never bother to spread some sensible info but will spread shit like these.

    I gave my gatekeeper, a newphew & a friend a “good time” after they forwarded me this shit.

    This is just a perfect example of a jahil qom & thanks to GEO for helping it spread.


  4. MB (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:51 am

    Congratulations my fellows. Yesterday mobile hoax proved how much effort is required on our side to get out of wehem parasti circle. Majority thinks it’s related to uneducated mainly but yesterday that proved wrong too. Personally only one uneducated (my gatekeeper) told me about it but all others were mashAllah highly educated two of them daring to forward it as well.

    It’s not only about this one incident. It is interesting to note that we are inclined towards the negative usage of any technology that knocks at our door. Never have we seen any SMS telling us to pay bills on time or do some good work.


  5. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:55 am

    Zainub there have been proof of concept of mobile worms and Cabir immediately comes to my mind at least. They generally spread via blue tooth technology(Nothing to do with GPRS, that is a different technology). But honestly I do believe that we can see real viruses in next few years. We have all the prereuqisites for that; networks, powerful cpus and corrupt mobile OS. May Allah keep us all alive to see all those new viruses. It helps symantec to retain its employees really.


  6. Darthvader (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 11:00 am

    I regret the fact that I wasted my time reading this dip-shittery.
    DV


  7. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    These messages are true!–The real Elvis told me! :P.

    Ppl r just bored & will forward anything.
    An “all u can send” package by warid does not help either. (Symantec has a couple of example of the HOAX messages “http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2000-121414-2545-99”)

    Mobile viruses DO exsist, but like everything else you have to protect ureself. Do not install files you do not recognise, do not bother reading meessages from random numbers & escpecially do not follow web (wap) links unless you’re expecting one or know where they lead to.

    (StarHub(sing telco) has some precautionary advice u can look @:
    http://www.starhub.com/portal/site/StarHub/menuitem.1766d838f736b00a90e09a608324a5a0/?vgnextoid=abd1ac9408451110VgnVCM100000464114acRCRD)

    Btw, Nokia has these “http://europe.nokia.com/A4153091” firewalls built into their networks (Telenor in PK) that tend to stop site’s reported to have trojans/worms. I read on Mobile-Review that they were updating their s60 browser that, like ie7, will auto block and warn you if a site appears to be phishing or dangerous to your device.


  8. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 11:57 am

    Oops. Sorry, put “‘s & ()’s in the links, ull have to delete those manually to read the links properly.


  9. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 11:59 am

    our public is so innocent.. koi b pagal bana sakta hai in ko…

    it was actually april fool prank played by some Indian… and finally it reached Pakistan…

    seriously our public is so masoom and farigh that anybody can make a fool out of them … be it a fake Pirs/Hakeems or any other quacks … they just believe in word of mouth even from unrealiable sources.. and often even realiable sources are unintentionally involved in spreading of rumours/false information ….

    http://tinyurl.com/ytre76

    http://tinyurl.com/33nuwp


  10. Zag (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

    ACtually I think most of the damage was done because of GEO… ppl still associate some credibility to it.


  11. Kashif (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 1:59 pm

    Nice Post.

    By the way, we are not the only ones who are trapped by this ‘tauham parasti’. The west is full of such superstitions, mostly termed as urban legends. Yesterday I got SMS from a friend and another message from a neighbor both insisting it to be highly urgent and should be forwarded to as many people as possible. My reply to them was that it’s a hoax and we shouldn’t fall into the trap and be part of the chain reaction.


  12. Bozz (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

    Demonstrates lack of faith. And by that I do not mean just in God but in one’s own self. Lack of common sense and the in ability to think. But then in this hill billy nation of ours this should come as no surprise to anyone.


  13. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

    also read about “Double Shah” who doubles your money in 70 days…

    http://dawn.com/2007/04/14/top11.htm


  14. Bozz (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 4:15 pm

    @ Doc
    So typical of this hill billy nation of ours. Even when they go wrong for their personal greediness, they end up protesting and blaming others!


  15. zia (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

    regionaltimes.com

    Karachi based English daily


  16. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

    PPH, kia matrix-1 dobara dekhi hay?

    Scientist has already made successful attempt to send emotional pulse from one point to other over Internet so wouldn’t be surprised if we suffer some virus via Internet.

    actually the hoax started with the news that call generates a frequency which is unbearable to human ears hence results brain haemorrhage. This is not something unusual and I think the “Soor” blown by the angel of death at the day of Qayamah would generate frequency which would be unbearable to humans hence sudden death.

    Waise we karachiites don’t need such viruses. Out utility bills are enough to give us a sudden death:-)


  17. Original-Anon (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

    There’s a killer on the phone
    If you pick up and reply
    Sweet memory will die
    Killer on the phone, yeeaaahhhh

    @DV, my apologies but I could not resist :)


  18. sooban (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:48 pm

    my mom was screaming at me about the thing and not beliving whn i told her its a rumour, she said its on geo and in the papers and what not.

    anyways. here’s my friend’s mock version:

    CAUTION: Please dont recieve a call from the no. 420-9211, as it has been confirmed by GEO, CNN, BBC and bangali tv that the caller’s seductive voice may stimulate the amygdala region of the brain thru frequencies, that are beyond the cellphones range.thru your cell phone and may cause obscene auditory and visual hallucinations of Meera and Pres Bush and result in psychological imbalance and death. Death toll is between 20 and 3259


  19. wasiq (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 2:58 am

    finally i know what SMS stands for thanks to this wonderful author….BTW, i have seen armoured vans outside the bank with SMS painted what does that mean anybody have a clue….???


  20. sheysrebellion (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 3:07 am
  21. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 4:04 am

    @wasiq that a security company..


  22. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 4:05 am

    *thats


  23. wasiq (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 4:34 am

    @Doctor….are you sure its not sind medical stores…

    http://www.sms-pakistan.com.pk/


  24. Shahzad khan (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 6:51 am

    Cheers for posting this…

    I had a hard time explaining this to one of my friend’s mom..

    I mean come on..I’ve played with frequencies a bit, I created a pitch sound, that if heard in another room, would sound like ghost breeze…

    I tried it out after getting some article and utilized a software I downloaded that works with frequencies..

    but this sounded like shit, because even with frequencies, you have to have the proper volume level to create such an effect, sure sounds can kill, but that sound cannot be produced with a speaker thats not even 10 Watts ! More over you need atleast stereo sound to put that effect into action…

    Sadly the people in our locality need to be convinced with a whole lot of crap until they agree to the least !

    pity !

    peace
    -mE


  25. Raja Islam (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    Last night I saw the movie “Pulse” having same sort of Plot who ever created this hoax is inspired from this movie.


  26. d0ct0r (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 1:38 pm

    @wasiq as you said “armoured vans outside the bank”

    so it can’t be medical stores… you don’t expect banks to get drugs supplied in armoured vans, do you? :P


  27. Adnan (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

    This is not a bluff but real because we have seen this virus in Sialkot. Our 2 Salesmen have been affected by this Death virus. Our 2 Salesmen were attended a call then in short they were lost their balance. After 6 hours they were awake. now they were in hospital in ICU ward of Imran Adrees Hospital Sialkot Cantt.
    if you want to know this reality then go to following address

    Wasim Electronics Sialkot
    Pasroor Road Hamza Ghous
    052-3541912


  28. MB (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 2:17 pm

    ” Out utility bills are enough to give us a sudden death ” ahahhahaha…..good one ADNAN siddiqui

    and hey this ADNAN-only : Are you the one involved in spreading that mobile hoax ??


  29. wasiq (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 2:36 am

    @Doctor….now you have made me more suspicious….they could have come to deposit the loot….lol


  30. Keep Walking! (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 11:11 am

    Such a long post for a useless thing.. Way to go Zainub. Spend your time on some good things..


  31. Tariq Mahmood (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 1:44 am

    NICE TOPIC
    PAKISTANI PEOPLES ARE MAD THEY DONT KNOW ABOUT TECNOLOGYS .. so all over the country every one say that its a joke or some kind of afwa .. nice post again
    take care
    may God bless all of us
    ALLAH HAFIZ
    TARIQ FROM RABWAH


  32. A for [pine]apple (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 1:45 am

    Well written zainub – and yup I got it too and ppl were way too serious about it narrating qasau ul amwaat as if they’ve seen it by themselves and saying ohh dont pick up the phone — take a life man :>


  33. Tariq Mahmood (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 2:03 am

    yesterday my brother got the same situation .
    un ka phone front pocket main tha or phone aya or saath main un ke dil ko kuch hone laga jaldi se phone nikala to unknown caller tha to unhon ne phone side per rakh dia bells hoti rahi phir phone band ho gia or jab phone daikha to heat up hua tha baad or kuch hours baad phone chalaya to chal gia …
    kaise kaise log hain jo samajhte nahin in cheezon ko every thing is true ye rediations and some frequencies are too powerfull for human parts .
    NICE POST
    Again thanks
    GOD bless every one
    Allah sab ko apni hifazat main rakhe
    AMEEN


  34. wasiq (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 2:23 am

    iam very sorry to learn about the virginia tech campus shootings…..was there anyone from karachi/pakistan…..?

    Btw, its so nice to watch this breaking news with CNN USA on my CNN INTERNATIONAL channel they have better hair stylers for the anchors….i miss it for sure…


  35. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 1:11 pm

    Well written article = well done


  36. ashraf (unregistered) on April 17th, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

    Its all are boring things. Yes today i get the news from my relatives in here dhaka bangladesh. But how can be……………
    the virus damage the brain.
    Unbelivable i need this virus to make reasearch.

    Thanks,
    Ashraf


  37. vc (unregistered) on April 18th, 2007 @ 1:31 am

    Fuck the people who try to make people hopeless


  38. Zeeshan (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

    we all know that this is a fake news, that a virus can cause damage to human body. But I will not accept this sentence, we all know that the frequency and signal which is being used by cellular companies can cause brain cancer if we recive the calls while traveling in the car, and we all know that if we receive the call while the cell phone is connected with charger and charger is connected to power supply that this can cause the serious power shock direct to our ear and head by a short circuit. I wanna ask all of you one question, when first virus which is built in 1984 came in the computer then all personalities like you said that this is not possible but as we grew as science enhance then we all know that the virus is a program which can easily operate our computer system and can easily do anything which is why it is programmed for. So my all brother and sister dont take this matter as a joke and dont compare it with any of the movie in the hollywood, well for your kind info all of the hollywood movie somehow based on little truth like the movie of clonning has no concpet when it is being released but now we all know that clonning is possible. And for your kind view I would like to tell you little explanation regarding to the virus which can burn the cpu of your computer, technically it is not possible coz processor of now a days is being protected by micro sensors which will immediately shutdown the CPU if if goes up to the limited heat but my qestion is “WHAT IF THE HIGH POWER HAS BEEN REACHED THE CPU” confirm it will be heatup and burn. And if you all are computer literate then you should know about assembly langugage, this is the langugage through which we can directly control the hardware, so we can easily send excess power to the cpu or send a enough load for breakdown of cpu, in the same manner there can be a possibility to send a signal frequency or somekind of coded voice message through call which can create a short circuit in the cell phone OR excess the power OR breakdown of battery and circuit because when we recieve call then we keep the cell phone close enogh to our ear so that short circuit can easily effect the ear and that side of brain. This is my thinking not sure. There is full internet available for your searching just go to google and search for it by yourself, dont say or belive anything without confirming. Thanks to all my extra literate and illetrate friends.


  39. jawad (unregistered) on April 21st, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

    yar mere sath bhi yahi masla hoowa mere mamoon ne mujhe ohone kia ke mobile main virus a gya hai kisi ka phone na attend karna ,,,,,,,,,,,laikun as such kuchh naheen hai…. software ke zariye software ko damage kia ja sakta hai ,aj tak aisa koi tariqa aijad nahen hoowa jis se software ke zariye hardware ko nuqsan puhnchya ja sake


  40. rajender(+919991043910 (unregistered) on April 21st, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

    send virus to this number(+919991043910)plz


  41. wasiq (unregistered) on April 22nd, 2007 @ 8:27 am

    @gates….where was an irani when you needed the most……lol


  42. Ali (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 4:39 pm

    Mere pyara bhaiyoon ko mera pyar bhara salam.Aray muja bhi phone aya tah lakin mera mobile mera lund k pass para tah kya mera lund kut gaya.Ya afwa hai ya suchi ya to sirf ooper wala he janta hai.Jahn tak mera andaza hai such hai.



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