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Skype Users: Beware of Instant Message Worm

Skype, the eBay-owned Internet telephone service, is warning users to be on guard against a new computer worm that arrives disguised as a chat invitation via Skype's built-in instant messaging feature.

skype.jpg

The worm, which goes by the names "W32/Ramex.A," "W32/Pyskpa.D" and "W32/Skipi.A" depending on which anti-virus company you ask, is making its rounds in a Skype chat invite promising erotic pictures to recipients who click on the included link.

Clicking brings up a prompt to run or save the file. If the user accepts the file, according to Skype, it takes advantage of Skype's public application program interface (API) to access the PC. The worm then disables security software on the victim's machine, blasts a copy of itself out to everyone in the user's Skype contacts lists, and drops a program on the infected PC that steals passwords and other sensitive information.

Traditionally, instant message worms have been a threat mainly to people who chat via IM networks from Microsoft (MSN), Yahoo! and AOL (AIM). But as this and a handful of other previous Skype worms now show, Skype users need to be just as vigilant against clicking on links in messages that arrive unexpectedly.

By Brian Krebs  |  September 11, 2007; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud , Latest Warnings , Safety Tips  
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Next: Security Updates for Windows 2000, Instant Messager

Comments

What kind of 'operating system' is that susceptible to external threats like that? Code comes in out of nowhere and turns off security settings? Just like that? What kind of 'operating system' is that? It's no operating system I've ever heard of that's a true operating system - that's for sure.

Posted by: Rick | September 11, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

This is not a worm, it is a trojan.
Who told you it was a worm? please smack them with a dictionary.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_worm

Posted by: Deadplant | September 12, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Rick: "Code comes in out of nowhere and turns off security settings? Just like that?" I understand your confusion Rick. The article mistakenly describes this as a worm. In fact it is not. Here is what actually happens: a text message comes in that suggests to the user that they download and execute a program. If the user is ignorant or stupid they execute the malicious program manually themselves. The program then uses the hapless users IM software to send messages to all their contacts.

Posted by: deadplant | September 12, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

deadplant> The article mistakenly describes this as a worm. In fact it is not.

Based on your description, it is a worm. It just doesn't replicate without human intervention, but that's true of a lot of worms. This one just requires exceptionally slow-witted humans.

Posted by: antibozo | September 12, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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