Feeds

Skype worm blows bubbles at victims

Lithuanians and Jacko's chimp top suspects

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Miscreants have created a worm that uses the chat function built into Skype to spread.

The malware - variously known as either Ramex, Skipi or Pykspa - sends a short message containing a link to a seemingly benign jpeg file to contacts of users with infected Windows PCs. Users who click on the link are prompted to download and run a copy of an image (actually a malware payload), after which their machines would become infected.

Ramex contains functions designed to disable anti-malware packages on infected PCs, as well as altering the hosts file to disable the downloading of security updates. It then uses the Skype API to send the messages in either Lithuanian and English, depending on the client's user interface. Typical examples of the message it sends include "really funny", "look what crazy photo Tiffany sent to me, looks cool" and "what ur friend name wich is in photo?"

Anti-virus firm F-Secure reports the detection of two variants of the malware thus far. Both display soap bubbles (one of the default built-in wallpapers in Windows) on infected PCs.

Anti-virus vendors are in the process of updating detection to seek out the malware. Meanwhile, Skype users are urged to be wary of clicking on even seemingly benign links.

It's unclear how many victims Ramex has claimed but entries on Skype-related forums posted on Monday provide evidence that it's causing a fair amount of trouble. Skype's heartbeat blog contains an entry on the worm that contains manual removal instructions.

Skype's instant messaging client is periodically misused as a vector to spread malware, and Ramex is far from unique. For example, back in April a Skype instant messaging worm posed as a picture of a scantily clad young woman wearing stilettos.

The twist in the latest attack comes in the plausibility of the social engineering tricks it uses in an attempt to fool users into getting infected.

Last year net security firm Sophos conducted a poll of system administrators and found that 86.1 per cent of those who expressed an opinion wanted the power to control use of VoIP in their companies, with 62.8 per cent saying blocking was essential. As well as the risk of Skype acting as a vector for malware, sys admins are also concerned about the risk of chat component as a conduit for data leakage from corporates. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.