Is The WhatsApp "Martinelli" Phone Virus Real?

The long, and short is NO. It is not real at all.

Every so often, a rumour is started, be it via E-Mail, a forum, or even told to you in real life by a good friend. The person telling you this fake rumour may have a good intent, however, what they are telling you is utter rubbish. The so-called "Martinelli" phone virus (or what ever it is called this week) is no exception at all.

First off, lets look at the text that you may of gotten;

Today the radio was talking about Whatsapp Gold. There is a video that will be launched tomorrow in Whatsapp and is called Martinelli. Do not open it. Goes into your phone and nothing you do will fix it. Spread the word if you know someone. If you receive a message to update Whatsapp Gold * Do not open it! They just announced that the virus is serious. Send it to everyone.

It may have also of looked like this;

Warning from An Garda. An IT expert has advised that a video comes out tomorrow from WhatsApp called martinelli do not open it , it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word

Or even this;

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

An easy way of telling if something is rubbish, is that the message does not gives any references at all to the clams that it is making.

Second, "There is a video" and "If you receive a message to update Whatsapp Gold * Do not open it!". For those who do not know, a video file (such as WebM (.webm), Windows Media Video (.wmv), and Ogg Video (.ogv)) can not harm you phone, computer, or any other device you may have. This is not to say that you should download any file type and run it, don't start to run random EXE files all of a sudden. There are still going to be people out there who want to harm you, but harm you with video files? No.

Next, there is no date on it, so that there is a chance that the fake rumour will still spread around, even years after it was first made. If the person who wrote it put something like "the video will spread on the 5th of November 2018", then it will be easy to tell that it's fake.

So if this is fake, why was it made? The same reason why someone would cry wolf; to annoy people, to scare people, etc. A good way to tell if something is rubbish is to do a simple search, and look for news reports, such as this one from Snopes;

A hoax that has been making the online rounds on WhatsApp since at least mid-2017 warns users of the encrypted messaging service that they are supposedly vulnerable to a piece of malicious software being distributed via a video called "Martinelli." The malware is said to be capable of hacking into a user's cell phone in under 10 seconds, wreaking irreparable damage[.]

The Independent;

The wording, which instructs people to pass it on to their friends, suggests that a video is about to come out that could endanger people. But there does not actually appear to be any "Martinelli" video, and so WhatsApp users are not in any danger from it.

And for all of you glue eaters out there, even The Sun wrote about this;

The dodgy message began circulating in Spanish, before a poorly translated English version started doing the rounds.

It reads: "Warning from An Garda. An IT expert has advised that a video comes out tomorrow from WhatsApp called Martinelli do not open it, it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word."

There's no such thing as a "Martinelli" video, as confirmed by Spain's Policia Nacional in a tweet.

So, if it's fake, and no-one is getting harmed, what's the point in thinking that this rumour is bad? Well first off, it undermines that of real viruses, it makes people feel insecure about the device or company that the person is using, and it might put off other people from using the device or company.

And finally, might as well get two birds stoned; if you see a text, E-Mail, or whatever from "Whatsapp" saying that you need to pay them X amount of money (even if it is a small amount) or they will delete your account, it is rubbish. Whatsapp is a free service ran by Facebook. They make their money the same way as most online companies such as Google do; by selling user data.

By Clive "James" Python.