'Priyanka' Worm Plays Havoc with WhatsApp Contacts
Bollywood starlet Priyanka Chopra at a promotional event in January 2013.
CREDIT: Mananshah15/Creative Commons
"Priyanka" is a fairly common Indian name, but if you fall victim to a new Android infection, it could become disturbingly prevalent in your contacts list.
A new infection spreading through the WhatsApp chat application won't harm your phone, according to Android fan site The Android Soul. It will, however, replace every single name in your contact list with the name "Priyanka." Among other things, this could make it very difficult to distinguish between the Priyanka who owes you her half of the rent and the Priyanka whom you're meeting for a romantic dinner.
Luckily, the infection is easy to avoid. If you don't use WhatsApp, a paid messaging service that allows users to communicate across Android, iOS, Windows, BlackBerry and Symbian devices, you have nothing to worry about.
If you use WhatsApp on Android, you may receive a contact request from a pictureless person named Priyanka. Sadly, the lady in question is not Priyanka Chopra, the award-winning Indian model and actress, but rather just a prank account that will change every single one of your contact's names to "Priyanka."
The infection changes only WhatsApp names, not avatars or other contact information (it also won't affect your phone's regular Contacts list), so it's more of an annoyance than an app-breaker. Furthermore, the Priyanka gag has only shown up on Android platforms so far, even though it could theoretically infect other operating systems.
Simply rejecting Priyanka's contact request will prevent the infection from taking hold — which could admittedly be tetchy if you're expecting an actual contact request from someone named Priyanka. However, keep in mind that a real Priyanka will likely have an avatar and a fleshed-out profile. [See also: Android Password Recovery Tool Can Hack PCs]
Getting rid of Priyanka if you've been infected is pretty simple as well. Delete the name from your contact list, go to the Android app manager, select WhatsApp and click "Clear data." This will get rid of the program's cached information, and give your contacts their rightful names back.
It's hard to say why anyone devised this infection in the first place, save for a good laugh. The Priyanka trick is pretty harmless, but it is a good example of how a pretty name can fool people into accepting unsolicited contact requests.