Feeds

Skype worm chats up victims - then holds PCs to ransom

U mad lol?!

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A worm that locks Windows PC users out of their computers unless they pay a $200 ransom is rapidly spreading via Skype.

Once it has secreted itself into a machine, the malware tricks further victims into installing it by using the Microsoft-owned VoIP software to send messages that read "lol is this your new profile pic?" The malicious missives, dispatched to the infected user's contacts, include a shortened goO.gl link to a zip file hosted by Hotflie.com.

This archive contains an executable that, antivirus biz Sophos says, installs a variant of the Dorkbot worm and recruits the compromised machine into a botnet army.

Left to its own devices, the worm may switch to its ransomware mode, locking the punter out of his or her computer and inform them that all their files have been encrypted and will be deleted unless a $200 payoff is forthcoming.

Previous Skype scams have also spread through bogus links in the software's instant messaging client.

Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos, added: “Skype users may be less in the habit of being suspicious about links sent to them than, say, Facebook users."

Trend Micro said some 400 computers were infected in the first 24 hours of the worm outbreak last Thursday. Skype said in a statement:

Skype takes the user experience very seriously, particularly when it comes to security. We are aware of this malicious activity and are working quickly to mitigate its impact. We strongly recommend upgrading to the newest Skype version and applying updated security features on your computer.

The chat biz recommends users do not click on "strange or unexpected" links. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.