With more than 300 million monthly users, Skype remains one of the most popular communication tools in the world. Its large and diverse user base is precisely what makes the platform a dream target for cyber bad guys.
Thus, if you use Skype on a regular basis to stay in touch with your friends and family, or open the app once in a while, protecting your data and communications is equally important. The following tips will help you stay aware of possible threats and learn to protect yourself while using the app.
Keep Skype Up to Date
There’s no denying that those constant update prompts are annoying. Nevertheless, it seems like Skype’s developers have become even more aggressive in prompting users to move on to a newer version. But there’s a good reason for that because running an older version of Skype puts you at risk of being hacked. Outdated app versions don’t get security updates which makes it easier for hackers to break in.
Ensuring that you’re always running the latest version of the application is one of the easiest ways to keep attackers at bay. And it doesn’t take any additional resources or effort on your part to do that. You just have to go through the annoying ritual of waiting for that progress bar to fill up every few weeks or so.
Get a VPN
Sometimes, the problem won’t be on your end. Or rather, it won’t be within your control. If someone has compromised your Internet connection, they can do a lot to mess with you, even if you’re communicating over an encrypted protocol like Skype’s. Luckily, there are various ways to avoid this problem, but using a VPN is perhaps the most popular one nowadays.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a commonly available service that allows you to reroute your connection through an alternative point. This makes much harder for someone to snoop on your conversations. It will also make it impossible to tell who you’re talking to and what sites you’re visiting. This especially convenient if you often connect your Android device to public Wi-Fi hotspots that are often left unprotected.
Use an Antivirus Software
Even if you’re keeping Skype secure, you can get compromised through another app or website. Considering the ever-growing number of possible risks, you can’t rely on your efforts to keep everything in check manually.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use a comprehensive antivirus system, keep it up to date just like any other software. Because even if you take good care of your apps, that won’t matter much if an attacker manages to compromise your main operating system. Doing so would give them full control over your device.
Limit Sensitive Conversations
Even if you’re doing everything in your power to keep your Skype safe and secure, you can’t completely trust an application controlled by a major corporation. If you need to have a confidential conversation, it’s best to do it the old-fashioned way, by sitting down with the other party in person.
We are not even trying to imply some conspiracy on Microsoft’s part, but you can never know exactly what’s going on in the background. It’s always possible that Microsoft themselves could get compromised at some point, leading to a leak of your personal information.
Don’t Accept Unknown Contact Requests
A common scam that targets Skype users involves creating fake profiles and trying to get in touch with random people. If you receive a contact request from a person you don’t know, especially if they’re of the opposite gender and seem attractive, don’t engage in a conversation. If you do, here’s what would happen: a malicious actor is going to tell you they are feeling bored and invite you to chat. Then they’ll give you a link to a site that “works better” for that. You probably know where this is headed – you visit a site, and sneaky malware slips into your device.
As you see, there are lots of things you can do to keep yourself safe when using Skype, but it’s completely up to you to take steps to prevent cyber-criminals from poking through your digital life. If you combine these simple tips with common sense, you will be safe from cyber threats. Don’t forget to also read How to Set Up a VPN on Roku