skype_credit_devilThe SKYPE Internet phone service is far and away the fastest growing “FREE” means of voice and video communication on the “world wide web”. The proprietary software that SKYPE has developed for voice communications is technically amazing and it seems in a league of its own. 

Sadly, however, it has not only attracted the “good guys” to its ever swelling user base – but also the “bad guys” … possibly even those engaged in organised crime and/or terrorism, if reports circulating on the web have any credence. Crooks are always quick to exploit “anonymous” systems where accounts can be opened without any identity checks, address verifications etc – much like our “pay as you go” cell phone systems.

So … who cares in this age of rampant corruption and greed? Well YOU should if you use Skype – and here is why! If you do a Google search on “skype account stolen”, “skype account hijacked” or “skype account hacked” you will find that MANY folk have had their skype identities stolen. It seems from many of the posts that Skype is well aware of the problem – but do little about rectifying it and seem not to respond satisfactorily to complaints lodged by others.

The trouble is – no matter how careful you are with protecting your own PC with firewalls and Internet security packages etc … the theft of your identity takes place elsewhere – presumably within the Skype System itself! Once some hacker has taken over your skype identity he becomes you in the system and is able to gain access to all your skype contacts, your personal email address and of course, if you have bought Skype Credit, to your PayPal account, credit card or bank account … and that’s where the “fun” begins! The hacker cannot only use up the credit you have on Skype – but may also be able to top up your Skype credit account using your linked bank accounts … or worse still – go on a wider spending spree at your expense with little or no way of tracing the culprit.

The cherry on the top of all your woes as a hacked “Skyper” – is that you cannot get your skype identity back without help from Skype itself … and that assistance, it seems, is not forthcoming [at least not in my case and others I have spoken to – nor the many complainants who pop up in the Google search mentioned earlier]. The bad guys will of course exploit both any technical security weaknesses in the Skype system, and the fact that Skype seems “too busy” to respond to complaints.

Skype is a wonderful convenience for those who keep contact over long distances – BUT … there is no point in EVER buying Skype Credit if they cannot secure their systems. Oh, and another thing – DON’T use the same password for your Skype Account as you use for any of your other accounts [especially banking, email account etc] … because if your Skype Account is accessed – your password must have been cracked – and that could open up a real can of worms for you.

Contributed by:
John Wallace

Venn Nemeth & Hart Inc
www.vnh.co.za
Phone – 033-3553100

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