Help Windows Desktop

Protecting your online safety, security and privacy

The following guidance is specific to Skype’s consumer software applications and products. It does not apply to the Skype for Business product and online service offered by Microsoft Corporation.

What you can do to stay safe

There are lots of things you can do to help keep your account secure. We've outlined these below.

If you need to report any suspicious behavior or security problems then please contact us.
If you have found a security vulnerability in any of our Skype apps or online services, please follow the instructions at this link: Report a Computer Security Vulnerability.

It’s important that you choose a secure password to access your Skype account. Hackers use lists of common passwords to access accounts (not only on Skype but across all websites), so it’s critical that you use a strong, unique password.

  • Use a mixture of letters, numbers and characters – like the characters above the numbers on many keyboards such as %, *,$, £ and !. Including in your password punctuation, symbols and other non-standard characters helps to increase the strength of your password.
  • Avoid names, birthdays and dictionary words, as these are easy to guess and hack.
  • The longer the password is, the stronger it usually is – but the harder it is to recall. Choose a password you can remember so that you don’t have to write it down.

It can be difficult to create a strong password and remember it easily. Here are a few techniques to help:

Use a sentence as your password

Passwords are limited to 50 characters, but you can use a short sentence to create a password that’s difficult to crack.

Include numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters in your passwords, so instead of "theanswerismars" try "Th3Answer1sM4rs*"

Make the password personal to you

Your password is something that only you should know and not something that someone else could easily find out. For example, the name of your dog or your favorite movie are things that others might know – especially since, with the advent of social networking, a lot of personal information is available about you.
Try looking outside and describing something you see ("The River Flowing!" or "A Yellow car"), and then apply our recommendations:
"Th3Riv3rFl0wing*" or "4Y3lloWcar.$"

Use a unique password for each site

Many of us have a large number of websites and accounts that we need to remember our username and password for, but not all sites are created equal. Whilst we at Skype care passionately about and invest heavily in your security, not all sites do. So use a password that is unique to each website you use to prevent any compromise of those other sites from affecting your Skype account.
It's common practice for attackers to verify stolen accounts from other websites against high-value accounts like Skype, mail providers and social networks to see if they can get access.

Change your password regularly

Even if you have a strong password, you should change it regularly.

And if you ever suspect your password has been compromised, you should change it immediately.

If another website or service where you use the same or a similar password is compromised, change your Skype password as soon as possible to protect your account.

Viruses can damage your computer and collect your private data, regardless of whether or not you are using Skype. To avoid this, follow these tips:

  • Don't open any email attachments from people you don't know, or suspicious-looking attachments even from people you know. When in doubt, always contact the person who sent you the email to confirm it's legitimate, even if it looks harmless (such as an e-card or funny picture) at first sight.
  • Always use an antivirus program to check the files you receive from other people, whether on Skype or any other method, even if you know the sender. Keep your antivirus software up-to-date and running at all times.
  • Use a personal firewall.
  • Make sure you've set up your computer to regularly receive the latest security updates and patches for your operating system  (e.g. Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS X) and for applications such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
  • Be careful which sites you choose to visit and download content from. Always use the official site.

Visit InSafe or Get Safe Online for more information on using the internet securely.
(Skype is not responsible for the content of external websites.)

We'll let you know whenever a new, improved version of Skype becomes available. You can also manually check for updates:

On Skype for Windows desktop go to Help > Check for Updates.
On Skype for Mac go to Skype > Check for Updates.
On mobile platforms you will get a notification about new releases in the App store.
Always be very wary of any emails purporting to be from Skype saying a security update is available - we will NEVER do this.

You should only download Skype from (or from the App store on mobile) – we don’t distribute Skype through any other site.

Skype’s privacy settings let you control who can contact you on Skype. To update your settings:

On Skype for Windows desktop click Tools > Options > Privacy.
On Skype for Mac, click Skype > Preferences > Privacy.
On Skype for Android, tap Settings > Privacy.
On Skype for iOS, tap Settings > Privacy.
On Skype for Web, click Settings > Privacy.

Learn more about managing your privacy settings.

Your profile acts as your calling card to millions of other people on Skype. You can add your birthday, gender, phone numbers and location – all of which help other people find you.

Your email address is securely stored by Skype and not shown to anyone else. It is used solely to allow friends, family and colleagues to search for you in the directory.

Things to remember:

  • The public parts of your Skype profile can be seen by everyone else on Skype, so don’t put details in your profile that you do not want to be publicly available.
  • You don’t have to fill in your profile if you don’t want to.
  • You can change your profile at any time.

Learn more about updating your profile.

Always ensure you trust a website or merchant before giving your credit card information to any site that claims to be reselling Skype products.

You can buy Skype Credit and subscriptions directly from the Skype website.
Never reply to emails that request your credit card details, password or other data. Skype will NEVER request such data by email. Our Customer Service agents may request your payment/order details or ticket tracking numbers, but they will never request your full credit card data or password.
You can report illegal resellers or parties misrepresenting themselves as Skype by sending an email to us.

Phishing is the attempt by a malicious third party to acquire sensitive information like a username, password or credit card details, by pretending to be a trusted company or website.

For example, someone could send you an email pretending to be from Skype asking you to click on a link and sign in to your account. The link might direct you to a fake website with the same look and feel as Skype, but the personal information you enter there can be stored or stolen and used for malicious purposes.
The best defense against phishing is vigilance. Whilst spam and other filters are increasingly effective, some phishing emails may still get through. By increasing your awareness of phishing techniques, and your alertness in acting upon them, you can take simple steps to defeat their attempts.
Beware of emails with a false sense of urgency, for example "Your account has been compromised, click here to view details", or an imperative like “Confirm your account details”. If you receive an email asking you to perform an action on your account, do not follow the links in the email. Instead, type into your browser and go to your account directly from the Skype website.

If you receive an email claiming to be from Skype that has an attachment, do not open the attachment.

If you arrive at a website through a link or other redirection, make sure that it says in the URL and does not contain within the web address additional characters or words. For instance, or are both invalid web addresses.
And remember, if you think or even suspect that your account has been compromised, you should change your password immediately.

Learn more about how to tell if an email is really from Skype.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No

Please let us know why we couldn't help you today

Important : Do not enter any personal information (such as your Skype Name, email address, Microsoft account, password, or real name or phone number) in the field above.

Ask the Community

See what people are saying about "Security and blocked accounts" in the Skype Community.

Join the conversation

Still need help? Our support team is waiting to help you. Ask them now