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Skype malware that can hold computers hostage is spreading fast

October 09, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Skype addresses a malware spreading through its service that is infecting users' computers.
Skype addresses a malware spreading through its service that is infecting… (Skype )

If someone on Skype asks you "lol is this your new profile pic?" don't click the link.

A type of malware known as Dorkbot is going around the video-calling service tricking people into being scammed by asking that question, in both English and German.

Once users click on it, they are redirected to download a file from hotfile.com that holds the malware.

The worm was discovered by Trend Micro, a security firm that wrote about the malware Monday.

Trend Micro says that once infected, computers become part of a botnet, or a network of computers controlled by hackers to execute denial of service attacks, in which attackers try to jam a website by getting large numbers of computers to contact it at the same time.

Infected computers also steal the user's log-in and password information used for accessing various websites. In addition, the malware spreads itself further by messaging the user's Skype contacts with the "lol is this your new profile pic?" scam. 

According to Trend Micro, some of the computers that have been infected install malware known as ransomware that locks users out of their computers and tells them their files have been encrypted. The ransomware then says the files will be deleted unless the user pays $200 within 48 hours.

Skype confirmed the Dorkbot on Tuesday with a blog post and a statement. The video calling service asked users to make sure they update their software to the latest versions in order to have the best security features. Skype also reminded users to have anti-virus software on their devices and to avoid clicking suspicious files and links.

"Skype takes the user experience very seriously, particularly when it comes to security," a Skype spokeswoman told The Times. "We are aware of this malicious activity and are working quickly to mitigate its impact."

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