Feeds

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

Could have been nasty - and was, for some people

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
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
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.