By Peter Parkes on March 18, 2010 in Skype security features.
Sadly, a small number of people choose to abuse Skype, much like any other Internet communications tool – whether it’s email, IM or VoIP.
We have a team of people dedicated to fighting spam on Skype, and it’s a task which requires continuous effort. I’d like to share with you a few details of our latest achievements, along with some general advice on what to do if you receive spam on Skype.
In the latest version of Skype for Windows, we’ve changed the way that contact requests appear. Contact requests are the notifications you see when someone asks you if they can add you to their contact list. Of course, the vast majority of these are completely legitimate – with our contact importer tools, for example, you can find friends who are already on Skype, and ask them to join your contact list.
However, a small minority of requests may come from spammers. So, in the latest version of Skype for Windows, we’ve made some changes to the way these requests look, and where they appear. Specifically, we’ve made it much easier to tell the difference between a contact request and an instant message conversation.
As well as introducing this visual change, I’d also like to explain in a little bit more detail what happens when you report abuse from a spammer. If you see a contact request from a spammer, you can block them by clicking the Block button in the notifications window. Once you’ve done this, Skype will ask you if you’d like to report them.
These reports are very useful to us – they help us to detect patterns in spam activity, as well as allowing us to disable the accounts of individual spammers. So you’re not just reporting a single spammer – you’re helping us to reduce the total amount of spam on Skype.
Finally, some general advice, and a very simple message: don’t click links or open files in messages from people you don’t know and trust, and indeed even from people you do trust if you are not sure of the content. We’ve deliberately made this more difficult – links in contact request notifications are un-clickable – but it’s a rule which doesn’t just apply to Skype. And there’s more general security advice in the Security section of our website: you’d be wise to follow it.