Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/10/priyanka_whatsapp_worm/

'Priyanka' yanks your WhatsApp contact chain on Android mobes

If that really is your name, nobody wants to know you right now

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 10th July 2013 09:03 GMT

A worm spreading through the popular WhatsApp messenging platform across Android devices is likely to cause plenty of confusion, even though it doesn't cause much harm.

Priyanka changes all contact groups names to Priyanka as well as contact names. The malware makes no use of exploits and vulnerabilities and only spreads manually. Victims have to accept contact file from a friend, named "Priyanka" and install it for anything untoward to occur. Simply ignoring the dodgy contact request prevents any damage.

Despite its less than ninja-level infection tactics, reports of Priyanka infection began cropping up on social media sites over the last few days, alongside more numerous alerts about the issue. The overall volume of related messages on Twitter is dozens rather than hundreds, the hallmark of a relatively isolated outbreak.

Fortunately recovering from infection is a straightforward matter of deleting the dodgy Priyanka contact before clearing your WhatsApp database, Softonic reports. Users will have to go through the setup process again but at the end of this their previous conversations should be restored.

Specialist Android enthusiast site theandroidsoul.com has screenshots of an infected device and advice on how to restore normality in an informative story here.

Priyanka itself is no big deal but history shows that social engineering tricks that first appear as a prank often get abused for more malign purposes later, so caution is advisable. It's unclear who created the malware but someone with a grudge against an ex called Priyanka is one plausible theory. People genuinely named Priyanka are likely to find it much tougher going making and retaining contacts on WhatsApp for at least the next few days until the minor outbreak dies down. ®