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'Skype-Defender' Steals Rather Than Defends

Pretending to be the plug-in, the PWS-Pykse Trojan is similar to the 32/Pykse.worm in that it depends on tricking victims into executing the malicious code.

Skype once again is being targeted by malware authors aiming to steal information from Skype users.

"Today we came across a new Trojan, PWS-Pykse, which attempts to steal Skype usernames and passwords," McAfee security researcher Pradeep Govindaraju said in a blog post on Wednesday. "This Trojan purports itself as a 'Skype-Defender' plug-in for Skype. It displays a fake login window to trick the user into entering the login credentials."

Last month, Govindaraju detailed the 32/Pykse.worm, which uses Skype and social engineering techniques to spread.

The PWS-Pykse Trojan is similar to the 32/Pykse.worm in that it depends on tricking victims into executing the malicious code. Once activated, the Trojan kills the Skype program and displays a fake Skype login window, aiming to capture personal information.

"When the user enters the Skype username and password, the malware displays a message saying that the name and password were unrecognized," explained Skype spokesperson Villu Arak in a blog post. "The malware collects the entered Skype username and password, as well as all usernames and passwords saved in Internet Explorer, and sends them over to a Web site that collects this stolen data."

Arak said that F-Secure, FaceTime Security Labs, Symantec, TrendMicro, and WebSense have been notified. Presumably, up-to-date security software from these companies will block or remove the Trojan. Those wanting to remove the file manually should look for a file named "65404-SkypeDefenderSetup.exe."

If it's any consolation, the fake Skype interface should be easy to spot. "An alert Skype user would notice that it looks very different from the normal Skype login window -- especially since none of the hyperlinks or options displayed are functional!" said Govindaraju.

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