Popcorn Carnival Video Virus Attacking Phones Via WhatsApp-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

WhatsApp users have been warned that a video called “popcorn carnival” or “carnival of popcorn” on WhatsApp has a virus that can destroy users’ phones.

The Truth:

Warnings about a virus being spread in a video called “popcorn carnival” or “carnival of popcorn” aren’t related to a legitimate threat to WhatsApp users.

It’s not clear where popcorn carnival virus warnings started, but they date back to at least March 2017. In July 2017, a new version of the warning surfaced on social media and sparked concern among WhatsApp users:

There’s a video in WhatsApp called “Carnival of the Popcorn ” do Not open it !! Under any circumstances. The hack into your phone in 10 seconds and you can not stop. Passes this information to your friends.

Although it’s not clear where the warning originated, the phrasing “carnival of the popcorn” would seem to indicate that the warning was translated into English from a different language. However, we couldn’t find any reports of a popcorn video virus on WhatsApp destroying phones or hacking contact lists.

There have, however, been legitimate warnings about malware phishing emails being disguised as WhatsApp notifications. The cybersecurity firm Comodo Antispam Labs issued a warning about WhatsApp-related malware attacks in January 2016:

As part of a random phishing campaign, cybercriminals are sending fake emails representing the information as official WhatsApp content to spread malware when the “message” is clicked on.

The emails are being sent from a rogue email address, disguised with an umbrella branding “WhatsApp,” but if users look at the actual FROM email address, they will see it is not from the company.

In this scam, the warning continues, WhatsApp users are prompted to click on an attached zip file that, once opened, unleashes malware onto its victims computers. These compressed files typically end in a series of random characters like ‘xgod’ or ‘ydkpda’ — so be on the lookout for file names or extensions that don’t make sense.

But it’s important to note that the virus threat isn’t through the WhatsApp platform itself. The third-party emails that appear to be WhatsApp message notifications are from a third party and are noway related to the social media platform.

And while it’s possible that one of these malware phishing campaigns could have created an attachment called popcorn carnival,  we weren’t able to verify that. That’s why we’re calling this one, like earlier WhatsApp virus warnings, “fiction.”

WhatsApp users can learn about phishing viruses and report cyberattacks using the website’s FAQ page.

 

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 07/31/2017

There’s a video in WhatsApp called “Carnival of the Popcorn ” do Not open it !! Under any circumstances. The hack into your phone in 10 seconds and you can not stop. Passes this information to your friends.