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Researcher Finds Dangerous Vulnerability In Skype

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the so-we-blame-microsoft-right dept.

Bug 42

alphadogg writes "A security consultant has notified Skype of a cross-site scripting flaw that could be used to change the password on someone's account, according to details posted online. The consultant, Levent Kayan, based in Berlin, posted details of the flaw on his blog on Wednesday and notified Skype a day later. He said on Friday he hasn't heard a response yet. The problem lies in a field where a person can input their mobile phone number. Kayan wrote that a malicious user can insert JavaScript into the mobile phone field of their profile." Skype has confirmed the flaw, but calls it 'minor,' saying it only affects people who communicate with a potential attacker on a regular basis. A fix is planned for next week.

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Yikes.... (-1, Troll)

dotpotot1 (2375658) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779240)

As written in original paper [] it appears that any user you talked with can reset your password....

Eat my GPL'd penis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779394)

a troll, to annoy people
Copyright (C) 2011 Anonymous Coward

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to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively
state the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least
the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.

        <one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>
        Copyright (C) <year> <name of author>

        This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
        it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
        the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
        (at your option) any later version.

        This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
        but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
        GNU General Public License for more details.

        You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
        along with this program. If not, see <>.

Also add information on how to contact you by electronic and paper mail.

    If the program does terminal interaction, make it output a short
notice like this when it starts in an interactive mode:

        <program> Copyright (C) <year> <name of author>
        This program comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'.
        This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
        under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

The hypothetical commands `show w' and `show c' should show the appropriate
parts of the General Public License. Of course, your program's commands
might be different; for a GUI interface, you would use an "about box".

    You should also get your employer (if you work as a programmer) or school,
if any, to sign a "copyright disclaimer" for the program, if necessary.
For more information on this, and how to apply and follow the GNU GPL, see

    The GNU General Public License does not permit incorporating your program
into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you
may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with
the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General
Public License instead of this License. But first, please read

Typical XSS response (1)

funnyguy (28876) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779242)

I love how companies always downplay XSS. They figure it can only be used in the way shown and assume there is no other way to weaponize a vulnerability other than as presented.

Re:Typical XSS response (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779812)

Exactly. Especially since almost any XSS vulnerability automatically becomes a CSRF vulnerability.

If I can inject JS into your browser, I can do anything that you can do on that site...

spin baby, spin (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779248)

calls it 'minor,' saying it only affects people who communicate with a potential attacker on a regular basis.

Like say, a skilled phisher / social engineer?

Re:spin baby, spin (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780146)

Yeah it's a minor flaw, you are perfectly safe as long as you don't talk with people. I mean who skypes with someone without getting a long detailed background check and ensuring that they don't currently and won't ever have anything against you.

Re:spin baby, spin (1)

HappyPsycho (1724746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36825186)

U mean like a jealous / paranoid spouse?

Re:spin baby, spin (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780408)

calls it 'minor,' saying it only affects people who communicate with a potential attacker on a regular basis.

Like say, a skilled phisher / social engineer?

Well the guy who found the flaw is still wondering why they haven't contacted him.

inb4 microsoft (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779282)

inb4 any comments blaming Microsoft.

Re:inb4 microsoft (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779534)

Rats...I was too slow.

Dangerous (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779284)

Just how dangerous is this flaw? Are we talking about holing an antenna during a thunderstorm dangerous, or giving my kid a loaded gun as a toy dangerous, or what?

Just curious is all.

Re:Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779402)

Giving a kid your kid plays with access to a loaded gun dangerous. Maybe they'll use it, maybe they won't.

'tis but a flesh wound (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779310)

Skype has confirmed the flaw, but calls it 'minor,' saying it only affects people who communicate with a potential attacker on a regular basis.

Phew, good news. This is the same security model I use on my web server, I think Sony does too, thankfully there ain't no haxxors visiting my sites!

Skype doesn't care (3, Insightful)

jtara (133429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779330)

Skype doesn't care. But maybe their new robot overlo.... er, Microsoft will.

A friend of mine started harassing me with text messages after he "found" an iPhone on the floor of a bar (no, seriously! no, not a prototype...) and I wouldn't help him reset it. (Actually I did - I said "Google it, it's easy".

I had to add a blocking service from ATT, but then he switched to bombing me SMS messages from Skype. So, I attempted to contact Skype to get it stopped. Ever try to contact Skype? Like, a live person on the phone? I never managed to figure that out, but at least I did manage to get some clueless person at Skype to email me.

It turns out there is a standard for stopping unwanted SMS messages from 5-digit codes. (The messages came from Skype's 5-digit code). You text back STOP and they are supposed to stop sending you SMSs. Guess what? Skype doesn't bother.

I went around and around with the clueless rep over email, and they basically told me "we can't do this, contact your carrier". I tried to explain that I'd already talked to a rep from the carrier, and they told it was Skype's responsibility to do this. I tried to tell them that their "STOP" system was broken/nonexistent. They just never "got it".


Re:Skype doesn't care (2)

jtara (133429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779360)

Oh, yea, even figuring out how to contact Skype by email is a hassle. They have a web form for this. Only problem is, you have to be a Skype customer. Why, nobody who isn't a Skype customer would ever need to contact Skype, right?


Aside: pretty dismayed over how hard big companies try to hide from consumers these days.

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36783962)

This is quite common today. Many social media websites offer no way to contact their support department for people who do not have an account themselves.
When I want to contact linkedin, facebook, twitter, hyves or whatever to ask them to stop sending mail to some address, to remove a customer who has deceased, or whatever, the first thing they ask for is my username and password.
But I don't have and don't want accounts on sites like that. I only want to report events in a role as a system administrator.
No way to do it. They don't publish mail addresses, and the ones you may guess yourself or derive from whois are just black holes or return autoreplies that you have to use the form on their website. Which you can only access after logging in.

Clueless idiots.

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779384)


Sorry, couldn't help the pun ;)

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779386)

Break his iPhone. If he calls the cops, tell them its stolen anyway.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779454)

That's your fault for giving Skype your main phone number, or whatever it is you did. Skype doesn't have any of my details except my IP, and I guess my OS, and anything they can gleam from listening to my phone calls. I find that Skype is always more expensive than using a real phone (with calling cards etc) anyway.

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779618)

Are you an idiot? His ex-buddy is SMSing him the same way he can SMS any phone through Skype: by typing in the phone number and clicking send! No "giving Skype your main phone number" involved.

Re:Skype doesn't care (2, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779694)

Sounds the issue is your choice of "friends", not any technical issue with skype or SMS.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780036)

^^ this.

I will never understand why people willingly associate with these kinds of imbeciles.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779928)

Just tell him to stop? If he refuses and persists you should probably stay clear of him. Something is probably wrong with him.

FWIW even my dad's USD30 or so Nokia has message screening.

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780072)

Skype should care, given they're about to see their market share disappear down the toilet once people discover that rather than the two inherently unreliable (given their track record) companies Microsoft and Facebook, they can instead use Google+.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780148)

once people discover that rather than the two inherently unreliable (given their track record) companies Microsoft and Facebook, they can instead use Google+

... are you talking about the same Google+ that ran out of storage even though they're currently only processing a tiny 1B shares per day? Yeah... way more solid than Facebook.

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

laurelraven (1539557) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781754)

From what I understand, that was the storage set aside for notifications...and this is Google, they have an ungodly amount of storage space they could call upon, and now know to watch for that. That's why it's in beta, so they can find and fix these problems before going "live" (or, as Google calls it, "Open beta").

Re:Skype doesn't care (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 3 years ago | (#36780250)

My wife's sister was doing something similar once. Quick call from the police stopped that.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781768)

Weird choice of the word "friend"... Maybe a bloody nose will make him STOP...

I personally just use a blocker daemon. It works like a firewall for communication. By default, it blocks everything that's not in my phone book. But I can change the rules at will, using groups, blocking and clearing rules,etc.

I use something similar for my landline/SIP "answering machine", for e-mail and for instant messaging.
I still didn't manage to set up something alike, including a "butler" and "answering machine" functionality for my door bell though. Mainly because I can't figure out a cheap way that is compatible with me only having an apartment and not knowing where to put it, down beside the dozens of doorbells.

Re:Skype doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36782298)

Option C: Introduce your "friend" to mr. baseball bat
Option D: Report your "friend" to the police for theft.

Dont worry. Skype has been bought by Microsoft (2)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779370)

They can now say 'its not a bug, its a feature', and get it over with.

Re:Dont worry. Skype has been bought by Microsoft (0)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779838)

So when did the federal approval go through?

Doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36779396)

I just tried this on the edit your profile mobile number field.

Firstly i had to remove the field length limit, after i did this and posted the
"><iframe src='' onload=alert('mphone')>
the page reloaded with only the "> stored and these had been changed to their html values &quot;&gt;
or am i missing something?

What do you expect? (0)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779498)

Bah! What do you expect to happen? It's crappy Microsoft software, of course it has security vulnerabilities.
Waiting for the wooshes...

You don't need to worry about it (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36779588)

Because we said so.

Skype Web Site, not Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780666)

When I first read the headline, I thought the problem was in Skype itself. It should be noted this is not the case - the flaw is in a page on Skype's Account Management site. We're not talking about the app that users run almost 24/7. We're talking about the site they log into maybe, MAYBE once a month to refill time.

The ease with which this can be exploited has been understated by Skype, however the researcher has greatly overstated the attack vector itself. This is like a steel plate a mile wide, which has a hole in it that's a half inch wide covered in matching tin foil. That is, it's insanely easy to exploit, but the only time you can hit it is when the user is actively logged into Skype's site, which for most users will be basically never.

So yeah...they're kinda both wrong.

Re:Skype Web Site, not Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36780784)

you are not correct -- this is a problem with the skype client.

Re:Skype Web Site, not Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781060)

You really didn't read the researcher's sweet little paper. He even has a video there using the skype

Re:Skype Web Site, not Skype (1)

laurelraven (1539557) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781772)

This is like a steel plate a mile wide, which has a hole in it that's a half inch wide covered in matching tin foil.

So, all an attacker has to do is use the Force?

Dangerous Vulnerability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36781152)

a.k.a. the end-user.

Asshole (4, Informative)

alexo (9335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36781216)

The consultant, Levent Kayan, based in Berlin, posted details of the flaw on his blog on Wednesday and notified Skype a day later.


Phew (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36784128)

Got me worried for a moment. But it says it right there, all I have to do is ask my Skype partner whether he is a hacker and cease contact if he answers in the positive.

Dear Skype security "experts": Whether someone is communicating with a "potential attacker" is something they learn usually a few seconds after an attack. If at all.

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