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Deadly virus phone threat causes panic

world Updated: Apr 16, 2007 19:06 IST
Reuters
Mobile phones

Mobile service providers in Pakistan have been inundated by calls from subscribers worried by a prank message that they could die of a deadly virus being transmitted via their phones.

The rumour was so effective that some mosques in the country's biggest city, Karachi, made announcements that people were being killed by a mobile virus and they should be aware of God's wrath.

In a prank reminiscent of the plot in the hit Hollywood movie The Ring in which people die within a week after watching a video, the prankster warned users that a deadly virus transmitted through phones had killed 20 people.

There are more than 52 million mobile users among 160 million people in Pakistan.

Farah Hussain, a spokeswoman for Warid Telecom, said that their customer service centers had been inundated with panicky subscribers inquiring about the so-called virus.

The cellular operators moved to calm down subscribers and said in a joint statement: "These rumors are completely baseless. They do not make any sense in technological terms."

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