Feeds

Skype fixes flaw that let anyone with your email address hijack you

Could have been nasty - and was, for some people

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Skype said it has resolved a password reset bug that made it possible to hijack accounts held with the VoIP service simply by knowing an email address.

The vulnerability, which was simple to abuse, first surfaced on a Russian underground forum three months ago before going mainstream when it appeared on Reddit early on Wednesday morning.

Would-be Hackers only needed to create a new Skype ID, associated with the email address of an intended victim. They could then assume control of this account using an online password reset form without needing to take control of the email address, something that made exploiting the bug a simple "point, click and pwn" exercise, as explained in our earlier story here. Numerous users and a handful of security consultants quickly verified that the exploit worked as advertised. Exploiting the bug locked legitimate users out of their account whilst allowing hackers to get access to potentially sensitive chat histories.

Skype disabled the password reset facility on Wednesday morning, around two hours after it went mainstream, while it grappled with the problem. In an updated statement on Tuesday afternoon, the Microsoft-owned VoIP service said it has now resolved the problem, allowing it to reinstate its password reset facility. It admitted a "small number of users" had been hacked by the bug and promised to help them to regain access to their accounts.

Early this morning we were notified of user concerns surrounding the security of the password reset feature on our website. 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. We are reaching out to a small number of users who may have been impacted to assist as necessary. Skype is committed to providing a safe and secure communications experience to our users and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Before Skype temporarily disabled password reset the only way to avoid exploitation was to associate a secret email address with a Skype account.

Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro has a good write-up of in the flaw in action and there's more commentary on the potentially calamitous bug in a blog post by Sophos here. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?