If you have family abroad or friends you don’t see as often as you would like then you may well have Skype messenger installed on your computer. But do you know about a Skype virus infection? You don’t? Ok, read on then…
I would imagine that almost every computer user is aware of viruses and other types of malware. If you are not, then read the rest of my site now! Typically, viruses and other forms of malware are distributed via emails, web browsers and by installing dubious applications. Historically, such malware was designed to damage files or even complete operating systems though the trend today is to see malicious code that is designed to make money for those who write it.
Skype messenger is now a very popular means of communicating. As such, it has become a target of interest to those who distribute malicious software.
Identifying viruses distributed on Skype
The main thing you need to look out for here is suspicious links. Most often, viruses will be distributed with file extensions such as .exe.vbs or .html.dll. If you receive one of these files, even if it comes from a friend or member, then do not open it! Equally, you should be cautious of links which seem to be pictures.
Assuming you received the link from someone you know then you should give them a quick call or text to verify that they sent it to you in the first place. It may be that they are unaware of the message that they supposedly sent as their Skype program may have an infection in it and is spreading that infection to all of their contacts.
Should you click on such an infected link then you will likely become infected with a worm which will infect your own installation of Skype as well as your email program. It will then attempt to spread further by sending itself to your contacts.
Such a situation can be avoided completely by employing some common sense and installing a decent antivirus program.
The consequences of becoming infected
If your system becomes infected in this manner then your antivirus program may not be of any use if it misses the initial infection (hence why I would recommend buying an antivirus program instead of relying on the free ones). This is because many pieces of malware will block your antivirus program from scanning and/or from updating.
Furthermore, your entire computer may become infected, leading to many of your files and programs becoming damaged. It may even be that your operating system becomes corrupted which would mean reformatting your hard drive and losing all of your data!
Another serious possibility is that you could have been infected with a trojan which is something that could gather your personal data and then pass it onto a hacker. This type of infection is quite serious because you are unlikely to even know about it until the hacker has exploited you in a big way, such as through identity theft.
The above should give you some idea of what to look out for, just remember to be proactive about your security on Skype or anywhere else you use your computer and you should be ok.