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November 14, 2012

Skype Faces Another Security Threat, User Passwords Reset without Prior Approval

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Skype (News - Alert) reportedly faced a semi-serious security threat today, which the company has since resolved. There was a flaw reported in Skype’s system which allowed people to sign up to the service with e-mails already in use.

This then forced password resets for the users whose e-mails were taken, veritably replacing that user with another, and locking them out of their own account.

Skype reports it has updated the password reset procedure to solve the issue, and has notified affected users within the last few hours. 

Image via Shutterstock

The system flaw is actually a problem the online video-chat service has faced before--just a few months ago users reported the same hijacking of their accounts, but the company perceived the threat to be isolated.

Now that the issue has flared up again on a wider scale, both Skype and Microsoft (News - Alert) (Skype’s parent company) are taking the steps to ensure a permanent solution is in place.

Initially, when the reports first came in this morning, Skype jumped on the problem and removed its password reset page completely, in order to stop the spread of affected accounts.

This issue is a relatively easy problem to fix--Skype need only make it mandatory for accountholders to reset their passwords through the use of their specific e-mail. That way, anyone trying to take the account and change the password would have to have access to that e-mail, which they would not have.

It seems like such a logical move that many have wondered why Skype and Microsoft didn’t have this system already in place, especially considering one user can have multiple Skype accounts linked to their single e-mail.

No official word concerning the issue has come from either company as of yet, but this isn’t the first time Skype has dealt with security breaches, so the company’s comment will be enlightening as to their view of the safety of their service.

Last May, Skype and Microsoft had to deal with a separate issue in the same vein: third-parties were gaining the ability to learn the IP addresses of Skype users.

At the time, Skype released a statement saying “We are investigating reports of a new tool that allegedly captures a Skype user's last known IP address. This is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are taking measures to help protect them.”

Now that Skype has been faced with another security breach, customers may begin to doubt the safety of the service.

Although the last time Skype believed the issue to be experienced industry-wide, this time the problem seems to be associated only with Skype.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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