Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

What the-- ? I’m getting Skype spammed!

What the-- ? I’m getting Skype spammed!

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Apologies for the strong title of this post, but it aptly describes the emotion I am feeling at the moment.

I installed Skype a little while ago and I don’t use it too often.  I only really talk to one person on it and now that I am on an AT&T cell phone plan with unlimited calling to that person, I don’t really feel the need use Skype as much.  My AT&T plan also gives me unlimited text so I attempt to use it so much that it costs them money (as a punishment to AT&T for charging me so much when I was on pay as you go).  Of course, that strategy is doomed to fail because the only people in the world who can text that much are 14-year old girls.

Anyway, I have got Skype set up and it loads automatically when I boot up my PC.  I was just kind of sitting around, watching a presentation with my laptop open when all of a sudden, I was notified with regards to a new conversation.  Below is a screenshot:

image

A spammer has contacted me over Skype, trying to push his crap!  What the hell?  That’s not the worst part.  It turns out that a few days ago (I didn’t notice, apparently) I was spammed with a notification to update my Windows registry, and today I was informed that there are thousands of unhappy married women in every city who do not want to leave their spouses but are still looking for love.

You know, I’m used to having my email inbox flooded with spam.  I know that DOS attacks are par for the course.  I realize that rogue A/V is a growing trend.  But seriously, attacking my Skype account?  Seriously?  There just seems to be an unwritten assumption (in my mind) that the telephone is more of a walled garden from spamming.  This shouldn’t surprise me, I suppose.  After all, Skype is an internet technology and all internet technologies are subject to abuse.  It is really no different from any other communication technology that uses the internet.  So why was I so irritated?

I’d say it’s because I haven’t shared my Skype information with anyone.  Ugh; of course, many years ago I predicted that telephony was going to be the next big vector for attack.  I was wrong about the scope of it (black SEO is bigger, I think), but at least I got the direction right.  I guess I can take comfort in that.

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  • I wonder if it is covered by the relevant telecommunications acts that prevent this type of contact.  I.e. in Australia we have a 'Do not call' list for telemarketers, they might be in breach of the law.

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