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Jul 11, 2013

WhatsApp for Android Exploit Discovered: Priyanka

Owners of Android devices who have the WhatsApp Messenger application installed should be aware of a new exploit spreading through the software, called Priyanka.

Apparently, the virus / exploit doesn’t actually harm Android devices, but it is very annoying, especially since it changes all contact names in WhatsApp to Priyanka. However, it should be noted that the exploit does not spread on its own, and that users will need to accept it to be added to their contacts list, as AndroidSoul explains. Furthermore, Priyanka is said to be rather easy to remove from an infected device, through clearing all contact data in WhatsApp (which will then require setting up the application again). To prevent their devices from being infected, users should simply reject Priyanka when it appears in their app as a friend request. Provided that they accepted it and the device is infected, users are recommended to search in Contacts for Priyanka, and then delete all entries found there.

After that, head over to Settings > Apps, find WhatsApp, and hit Force Stop and then Clear Data. This will bring the application to same state it was after the installation, and users will have to re-enter their credentials.   However, although all WhatsApp data on the phone has been erased, the service offers server backup capabilities, and users should not lose contacts and conversations, except maybe for the very recent ones. In the end, Priyanka doesn’t seem to be a very damaging exploit, especially given that users will have to actively accept it on their devices, as a post on softonic notes. At the moment, the best protection against the exploit is to reject Priyanka when it pops up in the messaging application (though it is possible that it could start spreading under other names as well).

Hopefully, WhatsApp will have a look at this and will resolve the problem soon. No info on whether the app suffers from this issue on other mobile platforms out there has emerged.

WhatsApp for Android exploit Priyanka emerges
Images credits to TheAndroidSoul


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