Feeds

Skype worm blows bubbles at victims

Lithuanians and Jacko's chimp top suspects

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.