Feeds

Skype IDs hijackable by ANY FOOL who knows your email address

Doesn't need access to it, just to know it. Sheesh!

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A vulnerability in Skype allows anyone to hijack its users' accounts just by knowing or guessing a punter's registered email address.

The embarrassing security hole, which is trivial to abuse, was first discussed on a Russian underground forum three months ago. Last night a Russian blog publicised the bug, and details of the flaw circulated the internet. The hijack is triggered by signing up for a new Skype account using the email address of another registered user. No access to the victim's inbox is required; one just simply needs to know the address.

Creating an account this way generates a warning that the email address is already associated with another user, but crucially the voice-chat website does not prevent the opening of the new account. From there it's possible to log into the service and request a new password for the victim's account: a security token is sent to the attacker's Skype app allowing the login credential to be reset.

Armed with this token, it is also possible to download private chat logs for the compromised account while the genuine owner is locked out.

In a holding statement, the Microsoft-owned VoIP biz confirmed it has disabled the password reset mechanism as a temporary measure:

We have had reports of a new security vulnerability issue. As a precautionary step we have temporarily disabled password reset as we continue to investigate the issue further. We apologize for the inconvenience but user experience and safety is our first priority.

This is a good move because, as Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro warns, the bug makes account hijacking "child's play".

"In essence the procedure is so simple it could be carried out by even the most inexperienced of computer users," Ferguson explains. "All that was necessary was to create a new Skype ID, and associate it with the email address of your victim.

"Once this procedure is complete, a flaw in the password reset procedure allowed the attacker to assume control over the victim account by using the online password reset form. This would lock the victim out of their Skype account and allow the hacker to receive and respond to all messages destined for that victim until further notice. I tested the vulnerability and the entire process took only a matter of minutes."

Before Skype temporarily disabled password resets, the only way to mitigate against the vulnerability was to register a secret email address with one's Skype account. Costin Raiu, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, reports that the Skype account of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was hacked using the exploit. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.