Skype is a cloud-based telecommunications platform developed by Skype Technologies. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and started as a peer-to-peer service. Skype offers free communication and chat services. This allows Skype users to send/receive instant messages, dial/answer voice calls, initiate/join video chats, and exchange/store files on any internet-enabled device. All these amazing features can be accessed for free, but Skype also offers paid calls to landline telephones and traditional telephone networks.
Currently, it has a 4.5 store rating in the App Store and a 4.3 in Google Play. Though it’s one of the oldest applications, it remains a widely-used platform with over 100 million monthly active users.
Skype Conversations: Threats To Watch Out For
Despite all efforts to make Skype a safe platform, it could still be susceptible to cyber threats. After all, with the rapid growth of technological innovations., keeping any software 100% private, safe, and secure is almost impossible. This is specifically true for third-party apps like Skype where personal information is required to create an account.
Here are some of the online dangers that Skype users should watch out for.
- Malicious Software
Malware or malicious software like viruses and Trojans are some of the most common ways hackers penetrate devices and networks. These malicious programs can intercept chat conversations, record video calls, and access exchanged files. Typically, these are sent through clickable links or downloadable files posing as something that the user can benefit from.
- Privacy/Security Breach
Privacy and/or security breaches could be due to internal or external factors. Skype stores a vast amount of information on its servers. This information is utilized for the platform’s research and development and can be shared with its affiliates, subsidiaries, and vendors.
Unfortunately, this makes data leaks and breaches more likely. Sensitive information could also be exploited should you carelessly disclose information to catfishers or fake account users.
- Online Predators
Skype is an open-source and free communications platform, meaning anyone — even malicious users — can easily access the application. Skype’s popularity is, unfortunately, the same reason why online predators specifically target this software to hunt for victims.
Skype Safety Precautions To Take
Just because there are certain dangers, doesn’t mean you should stop utilizing Skype. You simply have to proceed with caution and observe these safety protocols.
- Strong Password
Passwords are underrated protection measures. Yes, hackers can still find ways to bypass passwords, but setting a strong one could delay the attack. Making it a great first line of defense.
Protect your Skype calls, messages, and files by regularly updating and creating strong passwords. If possible, enable two-factor authentication for an extra layer of security. Also, never disclose your login credentials to anyone – not even to your spouse or loved ones.
- Built-In Privacy Settings
Skype offers several privacy and security settings to users. For instance, you could set your personal information like phone number and email address to private. That way, other users cannot see or access them.
You can also determine who may contact you on Skype and prevent Skype from showing your online status. Skype also offers Private Chats which encrypt messages, protecting your conversations from third-party malicious users. Moreover, be sure that your Skype app is always up-to-date.
- Antivirus Software
Antivirus software doesn’t only protect your Skype account and data, but your device as a whole. Such programs are designed to automatically and regularly scan your device, locating threats and viruses. As soon as an issue is identified, it’s instantly isolated and fixed preventing further damages.
- Monitoring Program
Monitoring programs provide remote real-time access to third-party apps like Skype. These tools record all activities within the target device, making it easier for you to identify and address cyber threats. Reliable and efficient monitoring software is specifically useful for parents and employers.
- User Blocking
Immediately block suspicious users or contacts that are sending you unsolicited messages, files, or links. If you think there’s a need to, report these users so that Skype admins can take the necessary actions. This may be your best option to address the user’s behavior.
Frequently Asked Questions About Skype Safety
Is it safe to use Skype video calls?
Skype-to-Skype engagements are encrypted, protecting malicious users from intercepting voice or video calls. However, any part of the call that’s taken over PSTN (the ordinary phone network) is not encrypted. In addition, Skype utilizes transport-level security (TLS), advanced encryption standard (AES), 256-bit encryption, and 1536 or 2048-bit RSA certificates.
What are the dangers of Skype?
Like any other telecommunications app, Skype isn’t 100% safe from online dangers. Despite efforts to enhance software security, Skype is susceptible to cyber threats. Threats like malware hacking, phishing, spamming, catfishing, cyberbullying, and more. Since it’s free, bad actors like sex predators and child groomers can utilize the platform to target young users.
Is Skype safe from hackers?
As experts would say, no single software is 100% safe from hackers. Skype is no exception especially since it’s one of the oldest telecommunication platforms with various unattended or abandoned accounts. Some hackers utilize these as means of disseminating malicious software like viruses and Trojans. Hackers could also penetrate Skype accounts through phishing and social engineering.
Can your computer be hacked through Skype?
Hacking electronic devices like computers and cell phones are typically done through third-party apps with security loopholes or vulnerabilities. An old version of Skype, a weak password, premeditated attack, and the like are the common reasons for a Skype account getting hacked. Then, once the account is compromised, they may be able to penetrate the user’s device.