Security Advisor

Major Vulnerability Found in Skype

Attackers could have accessed your account in a matter of minutes.

News came out late Tuesday of a new security issue in Microsoft's Skype.

Apparently, an easy workaround could give an attacker access to your account without the aid of special tools or any in-depth security knowledge. Here's how it works:

  • An attacker sets up a new Skype account using an e-mail address that is already associated with a targeted account.
  • The attacker then refreshes his home page in the new account and instigates a password reset. While the attacker wouldn't get the password reset e-mail notification, it would receive a "Password token" message in its Skype client, which contains the password reset link.

That's it. Such an easy exploit that, in hindsight, i guess it didn't really need a bulleted list.

In response to this hole that I'm surprised took this long to discover, Skype disabled the password reset feature earlier this morning. And the company has said it's made updates to the Skype client to fix this glaring issue.

"Early this morning we were notified of user concerns surrounding the security of the password reset feature on our website," said Skype in a statement. "This issue affected some users where multiple Skype accounts were registered to the same email address. We suspended the password reset feature temporarily this morning as a precaution and have made updates to the password reset process today so that it is now working properly."

The company said that it is now working with a "small number of users" that might have been affected by this security hole.

As an added level of precaution, users are urged to change the e-mail address associated with their Skype account. And it may be a good idea to make sure the e-mail account isn't associated with too many other Web sites and services.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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