The Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI) was made aware about a message circulating on WhatsApp urging people against opening an image or a video file about a certain country's response to COVID-19 claiming that it spreads virus and would hack the cell phones of people who opened the image or media file.
Investigations revealed that there is no evidence that the image or media file exists nor is it a part of a scheme to hack mobile devices, and it is likely that this message is false. Members of the public are advised to disregard the message and delete it. It is also advisable not to forward the message to avoid exposing your contacts to potential harm.
Some precautions you can take to stay safe online:
- Verify the content of messages. Verify the content of messages before clicking on any media files or links received. Check the message against other reliable sources.
- Don't forward a message if you are unsure. Even when a message is shared many times, it does not mean it is true. Do not forward a message because the sender is urging you to do so. If you know something that is not true, inform the sender and remind them to verify information before they share it.
- Check the facts. It is important to determine the legitimacy of messages that goes viral. Search for facts and check trusted news sites to see where the story came from.
WhatsApp has also published advisory information about hoax messages. This is available at https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/hoax-messages