Skype users worldwide are being disturbed by Baidu.com links. Since getting the link is usually followed by other activities performed automatically without the user’s permission, some experts specializing in cyber security suspect that malicious software is responsible for sending links to users. Unfortunately, a malicious application (e.g. Trojan, spyware, backdoor etc.) causing this phenomenon has not been yet detected, and Skype has not made any official statements so far. Therefore, it is not surprising that a different opinion exists too. Another group of specialists, including Skype’s online support, says that this issue might be associated with the so-called password exploit. Generally speaking, hackers could have obtained users’ Skype login details. On the basis of the previous experience, people using the same password on several different websites are the first ones whose passwords cyber criminals crack. As a consequence, users who have already received the Baidu.com link should rush to update their Skype passwords.
The so-called Baidu.com Skype Virus was first detected at the beginning of 2016, but it is still spreading very actively these days. It is impossible to count all the people, but it is very likely that it has already affected thousands of Skype users. They have all received links of Baidu.com (e.g. http://www.baidu.com/link?url=1m1j-xt6TlinbsTSXWVRRrhirgra128fJZvtn8LXZxy#79221=[Skype Account Name]), an intrusive Chinese search engine that was actively distributed like a browser hijacker (it used to replace the settings of browsers without permission) some time ago. Experts have arrived at a verdict after examining this link in a more detailed way: it is not an ordinary website link. It is because it is significantly longer and contains the user’s Skype account name at the end. It has not been proven yet, but specialists suspect that the Baidu.com link might hide a redirect to a malicious website even though it first opens harmless-looking advertisements promoting products, services, and different web pages. Consequently, users should not click on the Baidu.com link they receive by any means. The decision to ignore this advice might result in the entrance of dangerous malicious software or the emergence of a number of other privacy and security-related problems. Actually, in the opinion of security experts, people should never click on links sent by their contacts unless they are expecting the link to be sent to them. In the case of receiving an unexpected link, it is a must to get in touch with the contact to find out whether the link has been sent deliberately.
Since the Baidu.com Skype Virus was released almost a year ago, researchers have had plenty of time to systematize all the available information regarding this irritating Skype security issue. First of all, it has been revealed that all users, no matter they use Android, MAC, Windows or iOS platforms, have a chance of encountering the irritating Skype Virus. Secondly, a number of users’ complaints stating that new contacts are added to their contacts’ list periodically after receiving the Baidu.com link have been lately discovered on the web. Last but not least, there have been reports saying that the Windows Live account was merged with the Skype account automatically without getting permission from users. Computer users experiencing all these symptoms should perform the system scan with a reputable scanner, but it is very likely that no malicious software will be found on the system. Since tools for scanning devices against malware cannot find threats responsible for the presence of Baidu.com Skype Virus and any infection has not been spotted yet by experts despite the fact that it is quite an old Skype issue, it must be true that accounts spreading Baidu.com links have been hacked. It should be noted that users who click on the link they receive might become distributors of this potentially malicious link as well.
It is evident that users who receive Baidu.com links or are spreading these links themselves have compromised Skype accounts. Specialists at Skype have several pieces of advice that should help users to take care of the so-called Baidu.com Skype Virus. There are three steps they have to perform:
- Check the security of the computer
- Update the Skype password
- Set up the two-factor verification
First of all, users should scan their computers with a reputable automatic malware remover to make sure that there are no threats on the system that could have sent the Skype password to bad people. Secondly, according to security experts, it is very important to update the Skype password because it might already be known for cyber criminals. Finally, the two-factor verification should be enabled (Go to the login.live.com (Microsoft account) -> select Set up two-step verification under Two-step verification).