Fake news spreads in Latvia via WhatsApp

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Today a fake news WhatsApp message warning about the coming spread of a phone virus has been spreading in Latvia via the mobile messaging application, according to Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution Cert.lv on March 23.

Cert.lv urges recipients not to forward the message. The same message has already spread throughout Spanish and English speaking countries over the past week. During crisis situations, such as the current Covid-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, it's common for people to maliciously spread fake news by feeding on the fear and panic created from the emergency.

As previously reported, Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (Development/For) urged people to carefully evaluate information regarding the coronavirus pandemic. State Police representative Simona Grāvīte confirmed that authorities are monitoring the situation to minimize the spread of fake news. Each situation is individually evaluated, but those spreading false claims could be charged with hooliganism or disturbance of public order. If you notice such harmful fake news write to [email protected].

See the following websites for reliable information about the situation in Latvia:

  • Cybersecurity - cert.lv or cert.gov.lv (Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution)
  • Latest Covid-19 updates - spkc.gov.lv and arkartassituacija.gov.lv (Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
  • Government decisions during state of emergency - mk.gov.lv (Cabinet of Ministers)
  • News: lsm.lv, rus.lsm.lv and eng.lsm.lv (Latvian Public Broadcasting)
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