There's a bogus iPhone virus warning going around.
The symptom presents itself as a message on an iPhone or iPad, warning that the device is infected by a virus, reports KPNX in Arizona. In other words, it's a virus about a fake virus.
The message warns that the device's SIM card, contacts, photos, data and applications will be corrupted if a special app to remove the viruses is not downloaded immediately.
The station contacted Sayed Ahmed, an Apple-certified technician and co-founder of iTechShark in Brentwood, Missouri.
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According to Ahmed, the message is not legit. "There's a virus and there's a pop-up and they're two different things" he explained. "But the common issue that happens on a daily basis are the pop-ups and it's pretty common now. We get pretty much one customer a day with that issue."
As Ahmed explains, avoiding the pop-ups is easy to do.
“You go to the settings icon on the homepage and you scroll a little bit down until you see the Safari icon. You click on Safari and you scroll down a little bit and you will see what says block pop ups. This is very important to check it and make sure it's on the green switch.”
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As long as the pop-up's instructions are not followed, the virus is harmless, he said. But if one is not careful, personal information like bank account and credit card numbers can fall into the hands of the scammers.
Although the scam in question is intended to do real harm, some people reportedly like to create viruses as a joke.
For example, the website wikiHow has an article titled "How to create a fake virus for Apple iPhone or iPod."
The anonymous author describes this virus recipe as a "simple trick" for anyone who is bored or wants "a laugh or something to smile at or maybe even revenge" or "just to bug somebody."
The publication of such recipes can be traced back to "The Anarchist Cookbook," published in 1971 by William Powell.
As described in his New York Times obituary in March, he began researching his book as a teenager in 1969, studying military manuals and other sources of how-to information at the New York Public Library in Manhattan.
The resulting book showed anybody how to make dynamite, convert a shotgun into a grenade launcher, blow up a bridge, and other dangerous things.
Since publication, more than two million copies have reportedly been sold, including many more downloaded on the internet.
"It was inevitable that he did it," James J. F. Forest, a professor of security studies at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, said in an interview with The Times. "If he hadn’t done it, somebody else would have. It’s human behavior to tap into a dangerous stream of knowledge, and in his case he was inspired to make that dangerous information available to anyone else who was interested."
The book was believed to have been used in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
More recently, someone "rented an empty warehouse to test out some of the explosive recipes from The Anarchist Cookbook" and posted video of the results on YouTube.