A “malicious spam” has hit the Internet-based audio-video communicator ‘Skype’ in the Indian cyberspace and anti-hacking sleuths have asked users to remain alert and cautious.

“A malicious spam campaign is on the rise targeting Skype users by sending an instant message that appears to come from friends in the Skype contact list,” a Government advisory to ‘Skype’ users in the country said.

Cyber security experts found the malware content has been lurking in the vicinity of cyber networks of Indian users who use this popular Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

A number of Indians use ‘Skype’ to communicate with their friends, relatives and other contacts within and outside the country.

The Government agency mandated to counter such threats — the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the Communications and Information Technology Ministry, said the spam “eventually controls the victim machine by opening a backdoor and communicating to a remote http server.

“The worm is reported as stealing user credentials, engaging in click fraud activities and posing as ransom ware,” the agency said.

Cyber sleuths have also recommended a number of counter-measures — users of this form of Web telephony have been asked not to “follow unsolicited Web links or attachments in Skype messages and install the latest security updates to Skype”.

“Download the latest version of the Skype from the trusted markets, install and maintain updated anti-virus software at the gateway and desktop level, use caution when opening attachments and accepting file transfers and disable the auto play feature as a safe practice.

“Use caution when clicking on links to Web pages and protect yourself against social engineering attacks,” the agency advised Internet users in the country.

(This article was published on October 30, 2012)
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