Around one year ago, experts warned users about a hoax that claimed the mobile application Talking Angela collected children’s information without permission. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been getting a lot of comments on the February 2013 advisory, indicating that new variants of the hoax message have emerged.
The more recent hoaxes claim that the app is actually run by a pedophile who’s trying to groom children. Some versions say that the app is recording users via the phone’s camera and if you look carefully into the cat’s eyes, you can actually see a man.
The unfounded rumors are also fueled by articles such as one published by Huzlers, which claims that a 7-year-old boy went missing after installing the Talking Angela app.
The Talking Angela chain letter has also been written in French and possibly other languages.
Unfortunately, many parents seem to think that the messages making the rounds on social media networks are true. One concerned parent has even called up security expert Graham Cluley, thinking that he is the creator of the app.
“I googled for ‘Talking Angela’ and it was your name which came up,” she told Cluley.
Experts from Sophos have analyzed the app and found that there’s nothing malicious about it. It appears that most of those who spread the hoax messages haven’t actually tested the application. Instead, they trust what the scammy messages say without properly documenting it.
Internet users are advised to refrain from spreading the Talking Angela hoax. As Cluley highlights, if you’ve already posted it on social media sites, it might be wise to remove the message, and point your friends to a website that clarifies everything.
Cybercriminals often rely on hoaxes to lure users to malicious or shady websites. Internauts must learn not to share everything they come across without verifying the information they’re spreading.