Feeds

Skype bug may expose users to malicious code

Skype: Does not. Researcher: Does so

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Updated The latest version of Skype for Windows contains a security vulnerability that allows attackers to inject potentially dangerous code into a user's phone session, a German security researcher has reported.

The XSS, or cross-site scripting, vulnerability in Skype 5.5.0.113 is the result of the voice-over-IP client failing to inspect user-supplied phone numbers for malicious code, researcher Levent Kayan said. As a result, attackers might be able to exploit the bug to inject commands or scripts that hijack the machine running the program.

“An attacker could for example inject HTML/JavaScript code,” Kayan wrote in an advisory published on Wednesday. “It has not been verified though, if it's possible to hijack cookies or to attack the underlying operating system.” An attacker might also exploit the vulnerability to remotely execute malicious JavaScript files on external websites, he said.

Screen shot demonstrating XSS bug in Skype 5.5.0.113

A screen shot from Kayan's website showing the injection bug in action

A Skype spokeswoman disputed Kayan's account.

"We have had this reported to us by various media outlets and have confirmed that the person is mistaken, this is not a web window and while it does cause a phone number to be underlined, does nothing other than this," spokeswoman Brianna Reynaud wrote in an email.

In an email to The Register, Kayan stood his ground, insisting that at a minimum, the flaw allows an attacker to create a hyperlink on a victim's client that leads to a site of the attacker's choosing.

"According to Skype's spokeswoman, I wanted to tell you, that this is not really true what she said, because the entries in (home, office and mobile phone and even in "city") are embedded via HTML," he wrote.

Kayan said the unsafe content is displayed when users view a booby-trapped profile. The malicious profile is created by inserting a JavaScript command or web address where a phone number is expected. The reported vulnerability is eerily reminiscent of an XSS bug Kayan reported in an earlier version of Skype last month.

Such vulnerabilities open the possibility of creating self-replicating attacks if they can be used to target users contained in each victim's contact list. As each new user is exploited, the worm spreads virally by attacking a whole new set of people. A vulnerability reported in May for Mac versions of Skype was described as wormable, though there are no reports it was ever exploited in the wild. It's unclear if the current vulnerability might also allow for self-replicating attacks.

Microsoft is in the process of acquiring the popular internet-based phone service. ®

This article was updated to add comment from Skype spokeswoman and a response from Kayan.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.