There is new malware spreading rapidly across Skype, which turns victims’ computers into slaves for Bitcoin mining. Bitcoin is a decentralized, open source digital currency that was created in 2009. This alternative currency is accepted by some sites across the web, but hasn’t taken off due to large fluctuations in value as well as fears stemming from lack of regulation. The Skype malware works by getting users to click a link that installs malware. Users are being tricked into clicking on a link that supposedly contains the person’s “favorite pictures of you.”
Kaspersky is responsible for detecting the new threat and named it Trojan.Win32.Jorik.IRCbot.xkt. Currently, the Skype malware is amassing over 2,000 clicks per hour with most of its victims residing in Spain, Costa Rica, German, Russia, Poland, and the Ukraine. The initial infection has been traced back to India and the malware seems to be contacting a server located in Germany.
Once a user’s computer is infected, it installs other types of malware and turns the machine into a Bitcoin mining slave. Users will notice their CPU activity skyrocket to 100%. Infected computers will notice a strangely named service hogging all the resources on the computer for mining Bitcoins.
To protect yourself from this malware, be careful about clicking on suspicious links, especially from Skype users you’re not familiar with.