Commonwealth of Nations

In line with its efforts at enlightening Nigerians on the nefarious actions of cybercriminals exploiting the COVID-19 Pandemic to mislead and defraud unsuspecting victims, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has warned the general public on the recent fake news in circulation.

A statement by the Head, Corporate Affairs & External Relations Corporate at NITDA, Mrs Hadiza Umar, said that the fake news tagged “Argentina Is Doing It”, being circulated over social media, particularly on WhatsApp, is aimed at causing panic and inducing terror in individuals.

According to the statement, the message warns the recipient not to open a video file called ”Argentina Is Doing It” as it will hack their phone in 10 seconds.

In order to lend credibility to the message, the message falsely claims that the Cable News Network (CNN) also reported it.

The agency explained the message has been identified as fake as it exhibits some of the following characteristics of fake/hoax messages:

• The message content includes instructions to forward the message;

• The sender claims some kind of affiliation with a credible source or organization;

• The message aims to induce panic or shock the recipient, often making impossible claims or serious consequences about the effect of the virus or malicious software; and

• The messages contains alarming languages tending to emphasize the urgent nature of the threat.

The general public is therefore urged to disregard this as there is no CNN article regarding this hoax. Furthermore, the message is a variant of a similar message in circulation since 2017. NITDA calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government in its efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the country by not spreading fake news.

“We are also encouraged to strictly adhere to recommendations given by health experts, and follow updates from verified sources of the relevant agencies handling this outbreak”, the agency stated.

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