Cyber Security JISC Reuse

Skype is one of the most popular consumer and business communication platforms on the market. It also seems as though Microsoft’s service is also a popular choice amongst cybercriminals. A new study shows that Skype is the communication tool of choice for the world’s hackers and cybercriminal organizations.

Research conducted by intelligence firm Flashpoint shows how Skype is more used compared to rivals such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

While Skype for Business is comfortably the most popular chat service for enterprise, the consumer market is more open. Companies like WhatsApp and Facebook have given Skype serious challengers. As such, it is almost faint praise the Microsoft’s service is so popular amongst the nefarious digital community.

For its research, Flashpoint gauges the cyber underworld. The company measures through “mentions of social media platforms in the underground communities” to find its results. The company monitors black hat message board, internet forums, and other communities that are known for cybercrime activity.

“Analyzing cybercriminals’ tactics, tools, and procedures provides necessary context for understanding their communications methods,” Flashpoint says. “Especially in today’s day and age of complex and relentless cyber threats, organizations should recognize that effectively bolstering security measures to address these threats requires comprehensive visibility into all factors contributing to their threat landscape.”

Microsoft’s platform was the runaway leader across all categories of the survey. The study shows that messenger service of choice depends on location and language.

Skype Dominates English and Russian Communities

For example, Skype was dominant in cybercriminal communities in English (62%) and Russian (38%). However, Spanish and Arabic communities are not using ICQ and WhatsApp. Flashpoint points out that Skype was a predominant leader for Spanish and Arabic in 2012.

The popularity may be because it is popular in Russia and many cybercriminals are trying to mimic Russian cybercriminals.

“Russian-speaking cybercriminals are well-known for their prowess and universally considered the most innovative and sophisticated actors in the cybercrime ecosystem,” the authors claimed. “For this reason, actors from other language communities often emulate Russian cybercriminals in an attempt to raise their own levels of competency.”