PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has termed as fake a message which is viral on the social media about gag on sharing of information about coronavirus pandemic on WhatsApp groups.

The PTA clarified in a statement on Saturday that the message being circulated in different groups on social media saying legal action could be taken against people posting information about the coronavirus is fake.

The viral message stated that Disaster Management Act will take effect from midnight today (Saturday) after which no citizen will be allowed to share any information about coronavirus and only the government will be empowered to do so.

The PTA was quick to reject the notification as fake. It urged the people to use verified website of PTA for authentic information.

People advised against using public WiFi

The PTA has also advised people not to use public WiFi services, warning of possible cyber attacks through messages pretending to contain COVID-19 information.

The regulator asked the people to be wary of text messages claiming to provide information about coronavirus. It also cautioned the internet service providers to stay alert of coronavirus-related cyber attacks. It said if anyone wished to apprise themselves of updates on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they should use information sources announced by the government. It said people should only use trustworthy links and licensed websites for any downloading purposes.

The PTA also cautioned against providing passwords, sensitive and personal data, and credit card information anywhere online. It said people should update their software applications as well

The regulatory body said online criminals, including hackers, were attempting to gain financial benefit from the name of the pandemic. It said the entire systems could be hacked if files attached in suspicious emails were downloaded.

Offers/incentives for consumers

The PTA also shared that in view of coronavirus situation, to facilitate people to stay and work from home, telecom operators in Pakistan have launched offers/incentives for consumers. In continuation to these efforts

“This includes free calls to all provincial & federal government helplines, 24/7 PTCL call center services for subscribers and a special discounted package for students and people working from home,” it said in a tweet.