Times sure do change. What seemed impossible not that long ago has now become a reality – how about the fact that we can now have video conversations with people that are literally on the other side of the planet? Applications like FaceTime and Skype allow us to do exactly that. Unfortunately, when something really gets popular and attracts a lot of attention, con artists don’t miss their chance as well – they’re always there to try and make some easy money. And, of course, they couldn’t just pass Skype by – how could they when they could use it to enrich themselves?
What they do to achieve their goal is infect the device you have Skype on with ransomware – a vicious type of virus that’s created to encrypt files and then extort money to return them to their previous state and make them usable again. Cybercriminals use different methods to distribute it – spam emails, corrupted links and many more – but they also target Skype directly. How do they do it? By displaying advertisements that, for example, offer you to win a large sum of money. An executable file is downloaded onto your device as soon as you click on it and the encryption process then begins. As soon as it’s finished, you get locked out of the device and can’t use it anymore until the payment is made or a threat is eliminated.
Keep in mind that not all of the ads offer you miracles – there’re certain ones that’re disguised as critical updates for the Flash Web plugin. But it’s just smoke and mirrors, as they actually download an HTML application that causes ransomware infection. Threats of this kind are on the rise lately, so make sure to take some protective measures. Regularly back up your data – it may sound simple, but it’s an essential step that needs to be taken to ensure that files won’t be lost forever if they were encrypted. There’re many options nowadays to store data – USB drives, ReWritable discs, external drives, cloud storage services, you name it. So use one of them (or, better yet, several of them) to back it up and you won’t end up losing everything in case of being attacked.
You should also avoid clicking on any suspicious links and advertisements because you never know what might be lurking behind them. This piece of advice is especially relevant when you visit file-sharing services or adult websites – con artists love to use those to distribute threats. So be on your guard and don’t open anything that raises red flags from your side.
Only download software that can be considered trustworthy and only do so from reputable sources like App Store or Google Play. It guarantees the lack of unwanted surprises and significantly reduces potential dangers. Finally, install security software and make sure to always keep it updated and working. If you follow all those steps and pay attention while browsing the Internet and chatting with friends, you won’t have to deal with the consequences of having your device compromised by ransomware.