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A malicious worm has been spreading quickly among Skype users which may take over your computer and ask for ransom in order to release its content. The worm is spread through a Skype instant message which reads: “lol is this your new profile pic?” followed by a link to the supposed profile pic. When a user click the link, it will download a ZIP file which opens a back door, allowing remote control of the affected PC.

Not only does this worm take over your PC, it also sends the link to your contact list, so the message can come from people you know and trust. The malware can take over your entire PC, demanding $200 within 48 hours to release it and threatening to tell the US government that you’ve been downloading prohibited material unless you pay up.

Skype is already aware of the problem, and in an official statement, recommends “upgrading to the newest Skype version and applying updated security features on your computer”. As expected, they also recommend avoiding links that “look strange or are unexpected”, even when they come from people on your contact list.

So upgrade Skype, update your anti-virus software, and most importantly, use common sense when clicking links. This is not the first or last fake link you’ll receive from a friend, don’t be the one who sends it along.

Source: GFI

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Image credit: GFI

  1. Vince Akon
    October 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    good to know

  2. Ter Shija
    October 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I will upgrade my Skype app now that i've read this.

  3. Raghav Gupta
    October 15, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Update has come to fix it

  4. Kamran Hassan
    October 15, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Upgrading skype sounds like a lame solution to a problem that requires some major ass haul on Skype's end. A more effective solution would've been for the skype team to either send email alerts to this issue to the users or better yet, some sort of a message in the status bar within skype (you know, the one which for some reason keeps you updated on the number of online users).

    • Yaara Lancet
      October 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Agreed. Updating is usually the recommended solution, but many times it's useless for threats such as this one. I think an up to date anti-virus is a much more sensible and important recommendation, in most cases.

  5. Clyde Atwood
    October 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    That sucks! I upgraded, have Ariva Premium, so I hope that is enough!!!

  6. Eath Chantrea
    October 12, 2012 at 3:58 am

    The main point to prevent this using your logic thinking.

  7. Yash Desai
    October 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    good thing i dont use skype

  8. Macwitty
    October 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Doesn't most virus come from (or through) people you know. Email, facebook, blogs ...? Isn't that why it is spread so quickly?

    • Yaara Lancet
      October 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Yes, it does work that way many times. Despite that, viruses continue to use this to spread, so it's important to make it clear again and again.

  9. jj
    October 11, 2012 at 9:54 am

    If you copy the link and paste it on a browser, would it still work?

    • jj
      October 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

      I think I’ve read somewhere that you should copy links and paste them on your browser, not click them, if you're being careful. What’s the rationale behind that?

      • Yaara Lancet
        October 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm

        You'd do better to simple ignore suspicious links. As far as I know, copying and pasting in the browser would still have the same effect as clicking, at least most of the times.

        In general, it shouldn't be that hard to distinguish between real links and spam. If you really can't make up your mind if it's real, don't risk it. Just ask the person who sent it if they really sent it.

  10. Igor Rizvi?
    October 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    safe mode+antymalware bytes = problem solved

  11. Edwin Williams
    October 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Informative article! Thanks for the heads up!

  12. Anonymous
    October 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Just can't get away from the evil virus, but keeps some people employed

  13. Alex Perkins
    October 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Good job I updated!

  14. Mihovil Pletikos
    October 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    just don't click on anything you KNOW was meant really for you

  15. scott boyer
    October 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    great info I'm upgrading now

  16. Adrian Rea
    October 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, all these scammers and baddies could do so much good with their skils whereas I just want to shake them warmly by the throat! :)

  17. Sarah Lam
    October 10, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    The best way to avoid virus infection would be to avoid downloading any suspicious files / links.

  18. Sam Kar
    October 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the warning.

  19. Harish Jonnalagadda
    October 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Awesome. Microsoft buys something, it gets infected by malware.

  20. Anonymous
    October 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Does the malware affect Linux users too?

    • Yaara Lancet
      October 11, 2012 at 1:37 am

      Not as far as I know, but I'm not %100. Shouldn't click on suspicious links regardless of OS. :)

    • Florin Ardelian
      October 11, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      No, unless you have Wine installed and you explicitly set the +x flag (executable) for the file.

  21. Scutterman
    October 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the information. I'll keep an eye out for that, though I try to keep all of my software updated anyway.

  22. Florin Ardelian
    October 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I'm sorry, but I fail to understand how upgrading Skype would fix this kind of exploit. I understand upgrading your anti-virus, but it's not Skype's fault that users are running programs they shouldn't trust.

    • Yaara Lancet
      October 11, 2012 at 1:36 am

      Yeah, it's just a standard response. In this case, you could probably get infected even with the latest version of Skype.

    • Gen Drex
      October 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      The updated version would contain a fix to patch the exploit/backdoor...

      • Florin Ardelian
        October 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        There is no exploit in the application. The virus takes advantage of people's gullibility. The virus is asking people to download a .zip file and launch the executable inside it and the executable opens a backdoor in the infected computer. We had viruses like this since forever spreading through email, but we got rid of most of them thanks to spam filters. This one is using Skype instead of email to spread its self. I've also seen plenty using Yahoo! Messenger.

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