Skype disables password reset after security flaw exposed

The flaw allowed anyone who knew your email address to gain control of your Skype account

Microsoft has disabled the option for users to reset their Skype passwords after security experts uncovered a serious flaw in the software that allowed anyone who knows your email address to hack your Skype account.

The vulnerability allowed people to sign up to Skype with email addresses already in use by others and then force password resets for accounts associated with that address in order to gain access to your account. Basically, anyone who knew your email address could sign up for a new Skype account with it and then reset the password for your current account, thus hacking in.

The exploit first appeared on several Russian forums, and has been actively exploited since, Costin Raiu, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said in a blog post. To protect against this vulnerability, Raiu advises that users change the email address associated with their Skype account to a new, never-before-used address.

Rik Ferguson, director of security research & communication at Trend Micro, explainedhow easy it was to hack into someone's Skype account: "In essence the procedure is so simple it could be carried out by even the most inexperienced of computer users. [...]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."

Skype also said in a statement that it is aware of the 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," the statement said.

Tags: hackers, skype, passwords, security, trend micro, Microsoft, Web & communication software, kaspersky lab

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