Table of Contents
What is the Seismic Waves Card Scam?
The seismic waves card scam is a recurring online hoax that spreads misinformation following major earthquakes or other seismic events. Through messages circulating social platforms like WhatsApp, it aims to instill panic by warning users not to view or open fictional files supposedly containing photos from natural disasters.
How the seismic waves card Scam Works
Typically, these messages will reference a specific seismic event that has recently occurred, such as an earthquake. They then claim pictures and details relating to the disaster are being shared online in a file with a name like “Seismic Waves Card”. Recipients are alarmed with warnings not to open this file under any circumstances.
The messages ratchet up urgency by stating the file will hack phones automatically within a short time period if viewed, usually around 10 seconds. With no evidence provided, technical jargon is leveraged to make the threat seem plausible. The end goal is tricking people to download malware or visit malicious websites by instilling irrational fear.
No Proof Such a File Exists
Upon analyzing messages spreading after earthquakes in Indonesia, Haiti and other locations, cybersecurity researchers found no traces of any files matching the scam’s descriptions. The creators pull fictional names from thin air rather than citing real malware signatures or forensic evidence. This suggests the warnings are intentionally deceptive from the start.
Exploiting Emotions Around Natural Disasters
By directly tying the supposed hacking risks to photos of a recent seismic event in headlines, the scammers psychologically exploit recipients’ natural care and concern for victims of such crises. Without critical examination, fear can override logic in processing the claims. This gives initial artificial credibility to implausible technical allegations.
The Real Motivation is Phishing
Simply viewing images shared directly on platforms poses no inherent security hazards. Malware cannot execute spontaneously from image files alone. The goal is manipulating people into downloading fake app updates or entering personal details on malicious domains disguised as earthquake relief resources. It is phishing under a technical smokescreen, not an honest security PSA.
A Tired but Effective Recurring Tactic
Sadly, reworking this basic deceptive format to capitalize on other calamities has proven an enduring phishing method. Only earthquake location names and image subjects change between outbreaks, while the same exaggerated malware behavior descriptions remain implausible. Constant updates keep the hoax fresh enough to continually find new victims online.
No Plausible Reason for Infection Delays
Real malware infects devices immediately after execution to avoid detection. A 10 second window for a supposed auto- infection makes no logical or technical sense. This obvious non-sequitur further demonstrates scare messages contain no factual malware analysis, only deceptive talking points.
How the seismic waves card Scam Spreads and Evolves
Word of mouth amplification on social media is the seismic scam’s lifeblood. Well-meaning relations reshare warnings to alert friends, unintentionally enabling the hoax’s spread. Technical jargon adds fabricated credibility, aided by emotional triggers capitalizing on disaster contexts.
Over time, details slightly evolve. Some versions name nonexistent ‘hacking groups’ taking credit. Others claim the same threat now targets additional seismic events. Such ploys prolong shelf life by addressing doubt with brand new unfalsifiable assertions. Constant innovation keeps the core phishing methods fresh.
Why People Still Fall for it
Media illiteracy remains the primary factor, as scams disguise intentions under technobabble exploiting our fears. Confirmation bias may ignore signs of fakery in warnings aligning with held beliefs. Some struggle differentiating facts from fiction online without verification. Others assume social contacts would avoid spreading fakes blindly. Education is key to inoculating against technically masked deception.
Avoiding Becoming an Unwitting Vector
Taking time for objective scrutiny and fact checking extraordinary claims helps avoid acting as conduits. Officials statements on international incidents offer authenticated updates versus misinformation. Speaking out against fake alerts without spreading them further starves hoaxes of necessary attention. Skepticism need not diminish compassion – one can still assist areas impacted by real world crises.
While evolving technical techniques continually challenge responsibilities as global citizens, maintaining media literacy remains a vital defense. With awareness of common deception tactics and emotional manipulation ploys, carefully considering message sources allows filtering pseudoscience from reality. Too easily circulated mistaken information can cause as much harm as good intentions aimed to prevent. Moving forward, applying critical analysis to alarming claims helps starve scammers of unwitting amplification vectors online.
Also read on Morocco earthquake scam