A lot has happened since Whatsapp ousted Blackberry Messenger and become established as the most used of messaging services for mobile devices, but time did not pass in vain and nowadays there are multiple choices to complement or replace it such as Kakao, Line or Tango, or even odder and cooler as Cuzz or Pinch. However, Whatsapp is still the king, no matter if others have more or better features, and as it happened a million times before, malware stalks first those who can reach more users. We can say beforehand that we’ve been lucky so far and there haven’t been many -if any- serious security breaches, but this might well be a sign of the times to come. The very nature of the mobile ecosystem (especially Android, though no one is safe) should compel us to raise our defenses and be utterly alert.
Indeed, this malicious case can be treated as a sort-of vaccine, because even though it isn’t as harmful as it could be, it will initiate a series of processes to reinforce the security around popular messaging services.
Without further ado, this is how it works: users are receiving a contact request from a mysterious girl called Priyanka. In case you didn’t know -mainly because you live outside India and nearnesses- Priyanka is one of the most popular female names given in Hindu and Buddhist cultures, so it’s most likely that you have met a girl called Priyanka at some point. Besides, majority of Whatsapp users always accept all requests, so it seems an obvious name for an illicit goal.
Once you accept it, all your contacts will be renamed to Priyanka, which isn’t the end of the world but it’s actually irritating and hateful, and would need a long and tedious task to be fixed up (unless you read this article to its end). It doesn’t go further, it doesn’t delete data, calls anywhere nor bricks your phone. It’s a mere show of force by somewho should be using its computing skills to improve the world instead of bothering others’ lives.
Aware of this, if your name is really Priyanka, it wouldn’t be out of place to warn your wanna-be contacts beforehand. The ‘virus’ (we’re a little bit reluctant to use that word yet) only works if you accept the request, so the best way to come out unharmed is to omit it. If this warning arrives too late and your device has already been infected, don’t go crazy yet and follow these easy steps:
- Delete Priyanka, the bad and unkind Priyanka. Keep your other contacts as they are. You know who’s whom by their avatars.
- Go to settings and tap on manage apps. Look for Whatsapp (it’s usually by the end, you know, because it starts with “w”) and force close it. Tap to clear data then, go back to your desktop or app drawer and run Whatsapp. It may take a while, but eventually Whatsapp will recover all your contacts and conversations as they were.
Let’s hope this has been only a bad taste prank and not an open door to something worse.
This warning has been courtesy of El Android Libre