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WhatsApp “Martinelli” hoax is back, warning about “Dance of the Pope”



If you follow @NakedSecurity on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that we warned last week about an old WhatsApp hoax that suddenly reappeared.

The bogus news is generally known as the “Martinelli hoax”, because it starts like this:

If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague 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.

When we last wrote about “Martinelli”, back in 2018, we noted that the hoax was given a breath of believability because the text above was immediately followed by this:

If you receive a message to update the WhatsApp to WhatsApp Gold, do not click!!!!!

This part of the hoax has a ring of truth to it.

Back in 2016, hoax-checking site Snopes reported that malware dubbing itself WhatsApp Gold, was doing the rounds.

The fake WhatsApp was promoted by bogus messages that claimed, “Hey Finally Secret WhatsApp golden version has been leaked, This version is used only by big celebrities. Now we can use it too.”

So WhatsApp Gold was actual malware, and the advice to avoid it was valid, so the initiator of the Martinelli hoax used it to give an element of legitimacy to their otherwise fake warning about the video.The world’s best visibility, protection, and response.Start Online Demo

The latest reincarnation of the hoax has kept the text of the original precisely, including the five-fold exclamation points and the weird extra spaces before punctuation marks.

The new hoax even claims that the video first mentioned several years ago still “comes out tomorrow.”

But there’s a new twist this time, with yet another hoax tacked on the end referring to yet another video “that formats your mobile.”

This time, the video is called Dance of the Pope:

Please inform all contacts from your list not to open a video called "Dance of the Pope". It is a virus that formats your mobile. Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on BBC radio. Fwd this message to as many as you can!

Ironically, Snopes suggests that this piece of the hoax – which is basically the same as the Martinelli hoax but with a different video name – is even older than the Martinelli part, dating back to 2015.

Quite why the hoax has reappeared now is not clear, though it may have been triggered by March 2020 news headlines about wunderkind Brazilian footballer Martinelli.

Martinelli currently plays for Arsenal in England, but has been tipped to appear in the Brazilian national squad at just 18 years of age; he’s also been the subject of media speculation that he might get poached from Arsenal by Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid.

Is it even possible?

In theory, playing a deliberately booby-trapped video file on your mobile phone could end up in a malware infection, if your phone has an unpatched bug in its media player software that a crook could exploit.

In practice, however, that sort of bug is very rare these days – and typically gets patched very rapidly and reported very widely.

In other words, if the creator of this warning knew enough about the “bug” to predict that it could infect any mobile phone, and could warn you about this “attack” in a video that isn’t even out yet, it’s highly unlikely that you wouldn’t have heard about the actual bug itself either from the vendor of your phone or from the world’s cybersecurity news media.

Additionally, even if there were a dangerous bug of this sort on your phone and your phone were at risk, it’s unlikely that “nothing would fix it”.

As for the imminent and unconquerable danger of an alleged double-whammy video attack of “threats” that first surfaced in 2015 and 2016…

…well, if the videos were supposed to “come out tomorrow” more than four years ago, we think you can ignore them today.

What to do?

  • Don’t spread unsubstantiated or already-debunked stories online via any messaging app or social network. There’s enough fake news at the moment without adding to it!
  • Don’t be tricked by claims to authority. Anyone can write “they announced it today on BBC radio,” but that doesn’t tell you anything. For all you know, the BBC didn’t mention it at all, or announced it as part of a hoax warning. Do your own research independently, without relying on links or claims in the message itself.
  • Don’t use the “better safe than sorry” excuse. Lots of people forward hoaxes with the best intentions, but you can’t make someone safer by “protecting” them from something that doesn’t exist. All you are doing is wasting everyone’s time.
  • Don’t forward a cybersecurity hoax because you think it’s an obvious joke. What’s obvious to you might not be to other people, and your comments may get repeated as an earnest truth by millions of people.
  • Don’t follow the advice in a hoax “just in case”. Cybersecurity hoaxes often offer bogus advice that promises a quick fix but simply won’t help, and will certainly distract you from taking proper precautions.
  • Patch early, patch often. Security updates for mobile phones typically close off lots of holes that crooks could exploit, or shut down software tricks that adware and other not-quite-malicious apps abuse to make money off you. Take prompt advantage of updates!
  • Use a third-party anti-virus in addition to the standard built-in protection. Sophos Intercept X for Mobile is free, and it gives you additional protection not only against unsafe system settings and malware, but also helps to keep you away from risky websites in the first place.
  • Don’t grant permissions to an app unless it genuinely needs them. Mobile malware doesn’t need to use fancy, low-level programming booby-traps if you invite it in yourself and then give it more power that it needs or deserves.


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Google Chrome prepares new tab groups feature that creates groups automatically




Months after announcing it, Google finally rolled out tab groups widely in the past couple of weeks. Now, an improvement could be coming to Chrome’s tab group feature — the ability to recreate them automatically.

In the latest Chrome Canary release, a new flag is present that describes a feature Google is working on. That flag, titled “tab groups auto create,” is one that has had us scratching our heads since it popped onto our radar earlier this week.

Google’s description, too, unfortunately doesn’t help matters. the company simply explains that the feature “automatically creates groups for users, if tab groups are enabled” in Chrome. What does that mean? We’re not entirely sure, but there are a few possibilities!

For one, Google might be able to remember tab groups from a previous session and drop them into a group when opened. Alternatively, Google could intelligently create groups based on similar types of tabs. At this point, it’s all up in the air. We can say pretty confidently, however, that this feature is not live in the latest Canary release.


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Facebook Is Apparently Adding Instagram Stories to Its Key Application




Facebook has built it no key that it would like to entwine Instagram into its principal blue app as a great deal as possible (to some Instagram users’ chagrin.) Its most recent experiment evidently requires placing Instagram stories right on Facebook.

In accordance to a report in the Verge, some Facebook customers have lately started looking at Instagram stories in their Fb story feeds. A Fb representative apparently verified the news to Matt Navarra, a social media marketplace commentator and advisor, and stated that it was a restricted examination. The representative added that Facebook would be listening to feedback from its group on the prospective new characteristic.

In a screenshot posted by a Twitter consumer and Navarra on Friday, Fb seemingly points out that not just anyone can view an Instagram story on Facebook. In get to do so, consumers have to website link their Instagram accounts to Facebook and have this viewing placing turned on. Fb states that men and women who don’t abide by a user on Instagram will not be ready to see that user’s tales.

Fb also purportedly pressured that even however tales will be in two sites, users’ overall practical experience would not improve. That is mainly because people will nevertheless essentially be sharing their tales with the similar persons on Facebook and Instagram. In addition, Instagram stories on Facebook (which will have a pink and orange circle) will surface with a user’s Instagram take care of. And even though the tales will be seen on Fb, end users will see all tale sights and replies on Instagram.

In new many years, Facebook has labored to convey all of its popular apps, which involve WhatsApp and Instagram, nearer with each other. Very last thirty day period, Facebook released a new exam working experience on Instagram messaging for some users. The new experience up-to-date the look of Instagram immediate messages and promoted the likelihood of chatting with individuals who use Fb.

Who knows, possibly in the foreseeable future we won’t have an application named Instagram or Fb. We’ll just have a person giant purple and blue app, owned by Facebook, that does almost everything.


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Cloudflare goes down; crypto websites hit




Cloudlfare, an internet service provider responsible for various functions, went down Sunday morning, taking down many websites, including some crypto sites.

The company confirmed in a tweet it experienced issues around 9:24 am Eastern time caused by a third-party transit provider. Network stability returned around 11 am though Cloudflare said it is still monitoring for other potential problems. In a statement emailed to Cointelegraph, Cloudflare chief technology officer John Graham-Cumming said:

“Today we saw a widespread Internet outage online that impacted many multiple providers. This was not a Cloudflare-specific outage. Level 3/CenturyLink was responsible for an outage that affected many Internet services, including Cloudflare. Cloudflare’s automated systems detected the problem and routed around them, but the extent of the problem required manual intervention as well.”

A large majority of the internet uses Cloudflare. News reports noted several popular websites went down following Cloudflare’s network issues, including streaming site Hulu and cooperative gaming services PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

Crypto websites were not immune. Bitfinex Chief Technology Officer Paolo Ardoino tweeted that the Cloudflare outage caused any connection issues to Bitfinex Sunday morning.


Cloudflare’s last outage made people question if crypto holders are truly decentralized. That outage reportedly affected Bitcoin transactions.


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