Earlier today, we finally got word from Skype concerning a bug that some users have been plagued with since June. The bug occasionally sends IMs between two contacts to an unintended third contact, which of course brings up some very valid concerns about privacy. Aside from saying that a fix will be rolled out within the next few days, Skype kept this morning’s statement on the bug brief, but this evening it’s being a little more specific about the bug, and it turns out its occurrence isn’t all that random.
Apparently, messages are only forwarded to a third contact when the Skype client crashes during a conversation. When that happens, the “last IM entered or sent prior to the crash” will then be sent off to that unintended third contact, which could result in a pretty dire situation if that most recent IM was about them. Hearing Skype describe it, the bug sounds like it isn’t necessarily unavoidable, but it also isn’t random, so at least there’s that.
In its updated statement, Skype also shared a list of which clients are impacted by this bug: Skype 5.9 and 5.10 for Windows, 5.8 for Mac, 4.0 for Linux, 4.0 for iOS, 2.8 for Android, and 1.2 for Windows Phone. If you’re using one of those clients, you’re instructed to download the latest client once you’re notified that an update is available, as that will likely include the fix you need to prevent this from happening again.
So, we’ve made a good bit of progress with this bug today. Not only does Skype say it’s working on a fix, but it also told us which specific clients are affected and what exactly needs to happen for the bug to rear its ugly head. Like we said this morning though, it’s still probably a good idea to choose your words carefully while we wait for this update, otherwise they might end up being seen by exactly the wrong person.