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Skype 'Worm' Overrated, Says Websense

Websense has reclassified the threat as a Trojan horse and says its impact is declining.

Malware spreading on the Skype VoIP network raised alarms Tuesday, with some reports claiming that a worm was on the loose. The threat, however, is actually low, a security analyst says.

Warnings late Monday and very early Tuesday claimed that a worm was propagating across Skype -- one of the most popular voice-over-IP applications -- and infecting systems with a password-stealing Trojan horse. Tuesday, for example, Symantec issued an alert to customers of its DeepSight threat management service that a worm it dubbed "Chatosky" was spreading in the Asia Pacific region, including South Korea.

"The code isn't a worm," says Dan Hubbard, VP of research at security vendor Websense. "It relies on the end user to acknowledge a binary through the API, which is normal behavior in Skype." In addition, the threat does not make copies of itself.

"It's not exploiting a vulnerability," adds Hubbard.

Websense was among the first to post an alert about a possible Skype worm. However, after talking with the Skype security team, which is based in Estonia, Hubbard says he had reclassified the threat as a Trojan horse. "A user with Skype will get a message to download a program from a URL included in a chat message," says Hubbard. "If they click on that, a program runs in the background, then injects itself into the Explorer process. It looks like the Trojan is designed to grab forms and passwords from the browser."

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