A chain letter returns and harasses WhatsApp users. Once again the text warns of the Martinelli virus that is hiding in a video – annoying or dangerous?
Even in times of the Corona crisis, WhatsApp chain letters are making the rounds. Probably a few jokes are sitting at home bored and don’t know what to do with their time, except to spread absurd scare tactics through the messenger. They are not particularly creative about it, once again a chain letter warns of the Martinelli virus. WhatsApp is more frequently attacked by such chain letters – and they often do their rounds with great regularity. Millions of users in Great Britain, Italy and Spain received the message months ago, and now it is again affecting German users. To anticipate: it is still a fake virus. There is no danger to the recipient! But why is everyone suddenly sending it? Martinelli – that’s behind it!
Martinelli Virus on WhatsApp: Everything is Just a Fake!
The alleged virus is said to be in a video called “Martinelli”. Whoever plays the clip activates the malware. The malware paralyzes the smartphone in just ten seconds. It’s all humbug: the Spanish police gave the all-clear on Twitter months ago and exposed the chain letter as a false report. The video does not exist, and certainly not such an aggressive virus. Apparently, the officers received numerous inquiries from concerned users. The news apparently ignites several times – because barely a month after it emerged, the “virus” is rolling through the contacts again. No wonder, the news reads so terrifying: “Tomorrow there is a video on WhatsApp called Martinelli. Please do not open. It hacked your phone and is beyond repair. Also do not click WhatsApp Gold Updates. Just got on the news and is considered very serious. Please forward.” But forwarding is exactly the wrong reaction!
WhatsApp: Behavior in the Event of Fake Reports
If you receive a false report via the messenger, it is better to delete it immediately and not forward it under any circumstances. The sender should be informed about the false report. It is not entirely clear what prompted the actors behind the Martinelli chain letter to act. Presumably, they wanted to scare WhatsApp users with it.
WhatsApp Virus: Does it Even Exist?
There is no general answer to whether there are really viruses via WhatsApp. In theory, links you receive through messages can lead to pages that harm your device. That is why the motto is: If you get an unknown link, first look for what is behind it on the Internet. But it usually doesn’t go as fast as “Martinelli” threatens. iOS users are usually more secure than Android users due to the system structure. Virus software for iOS does not actually exist, and there are no known cases of devices being completely destroyed by software. Things are a bit different with Android because the system is much more open than iOS. But there is also a remedy for Android: Simply install a powerful Android virus scanner from a well-known manufacturer – and a real “Martinelli” can no longer harm you.
What Dangers Really Lurk with WhatsApp?
Time and again, criminals try to get customer data via WhatsApp, as was recently the case with a fake Knoppers competition, or to smuggle malware onto smartphones via manipulated apps. The backers often distribute the supposed functional enhancements via third-party app stores. The apps should not be downloaded and installed under any circumstances, as they can be a real security risk. Only install the official WhatsApp versions WhatsApp, WhatsApp Beta or WhatsApp Business from the Apple App Store or Google Play.