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Android phones in Iran hit by false earthquake warnings amid ongoing nationwide protests

Android phones in Iran hit by false earthquake warnings amid ongoing nationwide protests

Android phones in Iran hit by false earthquake warnings amid ongoing nationwide protests

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False earthquake alerts were triggered on Android smartphones in Iran on Wednesday as the country continues to grapple with nationwide protests. Authorities have offered conflicting accounts about the reasons for the incident. Colonel Ramin Pashaei, deputy head of Iran’s cyberpolice, told Iranian state television that only Android phones received the fake alert. He blamed testing by public service provider Iran Mobile Communications for the alert.

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Meanwhile, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency described the incident as a hack and said, “This message is fake; don’t leave your house. The two conflicting accounts of the event could not be immediately reconciled.

Google, which provides the Android software, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Iran has seen a series of hacks since the September 16 death of a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the country’s vice squad. His death sparked months of protests that now include calls for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy, one of the biggest challenges Tehran has faced since the chaotic years following its 1979 Islamic revolution.

In 2020, Google announced the launch of its earthquake detection feature for Android phones around the world, using smartphones to provide data that would eventually give billions of users precious seconds of warning when a tremor was detected nearby, alerting them to the possibility of an earthquake.

At the time, countries like Japan and Mexico already depended on ground-based sensors, which were used to notify users of potential earthquakes, as did California. Alerts can help people located far from the epicenter of an earthquake have enough time to find a safe space to move to before the earthquake begins.

The earthquake detection feature could also help these warnings reach more users around the world, including earthquake-prone areas in developing countries that don’t have access to traditional sensors used to detect earthquakes. earthquake.


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