Photos of the El Calvario earthquake do not hack your cell phone

Photos of the El Calvario earthquake do not hack your cell phone
Photos of the El Calvario earthquake do not hack your cell phone

Publications are circulating on social networks that claim that the downloading of some photos of the earthquake in The Calvary (Colombia) hack the mobile phone. The viral messages indicate that it is a file titled “CARD Seismic Waves”, but there is no evidence of this: it is a hoax that has previously been associated with other catastrophes and has returned to circulation.

“They are going to upload some photos of the Calvario earthquake on WhatsApp. The file is called CARD Seismic Waves. Do not open them or see them, they hack your phone in 10 seconds and it cannot be stopped in any way. Pass the information on to your family and friends. Don’t open it. They also said it on TV,” says the viral chain shared on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok and WhatsApp since at least August 25. You have also asked us about her in our WhatsApp verification service. Other messages claim that the malicious images correspond to the earthquake that has affected Morocco this month of September.

However, there is no evidence that a file with photos of the El Calvario earthquake will hack the phone. There are no records in the media or warnings from cybersecurity organizations about the alleged cyberattack. Likewise, this same message, but associated with other natural disasters, circulated in the past and the National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE) then stated to that it was not aware of a hack of similar characteristics.

There is no evidence that the “Ondas Seismicas CARD” file with photos of the El Calvario earthquake hacks the mobile

The viral chain refers to the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that shook Colombia on August 17 and whose epicenter was in the town of El Calvario. In other cases, the messages attribute the photographs to the earthquake that hit Morocco on September 8. Both chains claim that when downloading a file called “CARD Seismic Waves” that contains images of earthquakes, the mobile device is hacked with no way to prevent it.

A search for the keywords “El Calvario earthquake photos hack” does not return any results that differ from the viral posts. Likewise, there are no records in the media of the alleged images that hack the mobile device, contrary to what the viral message says about a warning broadcast on a television channel. There is also no trace of warnings issued by cybersecurity organizations about the alleged downloading of malicious photographs of the earthquake in Colombia.

Previously, social media users shared a message very similar to the one now circulating linked to the Colombia earthquake, but attributing the images to the Chillán volcano (Chile). Again, they were referring to a file that, when downloaded, supposedly hacked the mobile phone. However, INCIBE then confirmed to that it was a hoax and that they had not recorded a cyber attack of similar characteristics.

Disinformation about alleged cyberattacks through multimedia file downloads

The hoax about the photos of the El Calvario earthquake and the “Ondas Seismicas CARD” file is one more example of the viral chains about supposed multimedia files that hack the mobile phone when downloading them. On previous occasions, very similar messages have circulated warning of an alleged cyber attack on mobile devices by downloading or opening multimedia files.

For example, social media users shared a viral chain related to a video titled “Take good care of yourself” that, according to the message, formatted the mobile phone. Again, INCIBE pointed out that it was false, since it is not possible for a video as such to infect an electronic device. Another case was that of a viral chain about an alleged video titled “Argentina is achieving it” that showed how the curve of COVID-19 cases was flattening in the country. The viral message once again warned that, when opening the video, the mobile phone was hacked, but it was another hoax that the Civil Guard and INCIBE denied.


El Mundo article about the El Calvario earthquake


Statements from the National Cybersecurity Institute to

  • This is our work methodology. After the verification process, and based on the data, we award one of these categories:

  • Misleading


    The content contains correct data, but ignores very important elements or is mixed with incorrect data, giving a different, inaccurate or false impression

  • Fake


    The content is false



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