Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Skype Phishing Returns*

Chat Message Scares Reader Into Installing Malware

Folks, after a brief quiet period, criminals are once again using Skype to send phishing “chats” in an attempt to defraud you. So, I am re-posting this article. It is the exact same ruse I first warned of last year, but the name has changed.
This attack will reappear every so often with a slightly different name and URL…

Yesterday a Skype chat window opened on my machine, and presented me with a dire warning from someone named “Software Update” “Registry Scan Online®” Today’s flavor. It said that “WINDOWS REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ATTENTION” and, it provided me with a solution.  SkypeCon

(Click on image to see large version)

Please, folks, tell me you have spotted this for what it is. Please tell me that you knew –instantly– that this is a cybercrime attempt; that it is Phraud-ulent.

Please tell me that you know what will happen if the link provided in this message is clicked; and, please, please, please tell me you would never click the link.

Just in case you aren’t sure:
*Software Update” “Registry Scan Online ®”  Today’s flavor doesn’t exist.
*” “” Today’s flavor is not registered in ARIN (the registry of Internet addresses).
* clicking the link will allow scripts to run, and/or take you to a poisoned Website which will install malware on your machine, or/and it may take you to a site that will sell you a rogue anti-spyware program
(please read my article, Is that antispyware program really spyware).

* Microsoft DOES NOT alert you via Instant Messaging. No legitimate company does. Period. Ever.
This is a classic example of a hacker’s attempt to get you to click their link.

All of this so they can rip you off. It’s their full time job.

Please point your less-savvy friends and family to this article and educate them to the dangers of spam (unsolicited) messages and tell them– NEVER CLICK THE LINK.
[Note: while this article directly references the VoIP client Skype, you may see this type of thing in other Instant Messaging/Chat programs, and social networking communications.]

[addenda: Peter Parkes (Skype Blogger) wrote and asked me to remind my readers to, quote, “Please report users who send these messages to – that will help us to block them where appropriate.”]

Today’s free link: Pirated Windows 7 leads to malware, botnet

Today’s free downloads(s): I have assembled on my Website a collection of links to the best free anti-malware programs to help you prevent infection.. and clean up if you’ve been infected. To see them, click here.

Related: Bill Mullins has posted a very complete tutorial, Think You Have A Virus?– Some Solutions, which is quite probably the best one-stop lesson on malware I have ever run across. (I also recommend his How Fake/Rogue Software Affects Real People.)

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

Share this post :

May 13, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers, cyber crime | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,

    Thanks for staying on top of this sort of activity and warning us about it… One of the reasons I am at your door step everyday visiting your blog.



    Comment by whatsonmypc | May 13, 2009 | Reply

    • My old article was getting lots of “hits”, which is a sure indicator that this particular attack is active at this time.

      I’m afraid it’s never going to go away completely…


      Comment by techpaul | May 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. My daughter got PC-Antivirus using IM its definitely a vector for infections. Targeting teenagers through and other less sophisticated users seems to be model these guys like to exploit.
    Thanks for the post.


    Comment by Mark Schneider | May 14, 2009 | Reply

    • Mr. Schneider,
      I am sorry your daughter got hit.

      These rogue anti-malwares are quite “professional” and “realistic” looking, as are their websites, and so I am not at all surprised by their success rate… And, people have been conditioned to click “allow”, “yes”, “OK”, “Next” without understanding the gibberish in the dialog box. (Just one example: who reads the EULA?)

      But, yes — “con men” have been targeting the “rubes” since time began. When it comes to computers, 90+% of users are “unsophisticated”, and cybercrime is a multi-billion dollar a year enterprise.


      Comment by techpaul | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] Skype Phishing Returns – Chat Message Scares Reader into Installing Malware. […]


    Pingback by Tech Thoughts Daily Security Alerts – May 14, 2009 « Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. good site and good information


    Comment by Spyware Blockers | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. yup… just got this myself… and was immediately suspicious, hence the reason i find mysef here. thx again for the useful info and keep up the good work!


    Comment by dave | September 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Dave,
      Thank you. I hope you’ll visit often.


      Comment by techpaul | September 4, 2009 | Reply

  6. […] To read more about  dangerous Skype malware, and how it can affect you, checkout TechPaul’s “Skype Phishing Returns” and “Skype – Windows Requires Immediate Attention.. […]


    Pingback by I Don’t Care If You’re Naked – Stop Spamming Me! « Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts | September 6, 2009 | Reply

  7. Older brand-new user of computer got this yesterday and what a way to learn to not click. He doesn’t recognize yet what a suspicious link/email is, so his naivete causes him to follow instructions. He was instructed to type “hello” when this hit his skype and yep, he did. He cannot connect to the net now. And, me? I’m spending the day disinfecting his computer. Without a net connection, what fun.


    Comment by Cynthia | February 21, 2010 | Reply

    • Cynthia,
      Your comment triggered a myriad of thoughts and feelings in me.. but I will simply say that he is lucky to have you.
      (Perhaps you will want to mention that if you weren’t there, his click would cost about $150 to fix.)

      These types of Users are best off on a locked down machine, running in a type of ‘kiosk mode’ (like the computers at a library are configured) as they are so far behind the curve that any “click here” will zap them. A good way (IMHO) is to use the Microsoft Steady State program.
      (Or, have them run in a VM.)

      There are several other ways to approach this. One is to treat them as though the were your child, and enable Parental Controls and have them run on a User-level account (see my page, Safety, Kids, and the Internet) but that requires a fair amount of configuration..

      At the very least.. I would install Comodo’s Time Machine (or buy Norton’s Go Back) and then the next time (and there will be many next time’s unless you take some actions as described) you get a call for help, you can (hopefully) revert his machine to a clean “snapshot” with a single click.


      Comment by techpaul | February 21, 2010 | Reply

Post your Comment/Question

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: