Simple String of Characters Crashes Skype

3 Jun 2015 | Author: | One comment »

A Simple Message Can Crash Skype So Badly You Need to Reinstall It.

Microsoft’s Skype chat service is vulnerable to a simple booby-trapped text message that causes the app to enter a crash loop that permanently breaks the app on iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows. A new bug appears to crash Skype when a short string of text is sent as a message across the service — and the effects are so bad that it requires a reinstall to get things working hitch-free again.Skype users, beware: there’s an eight-character phrase that will lock people out of the popular video chat and messaging service’s apps on most devices where it’s available.

Reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac crash bug, the Skype vulnerability is caused by a much simpler and more common text string “http://:”. Reports on Skype forums and VentureBeat reveal that a message containing the simple string of characters “http://:” will crash Skype whether it’s running on Windows, Android or iOS.

On forums, a Skype spokesperson has written that its teams are “aware of the problem and… working to provide an resolution.” Sadly, there’s no simple solution to the problem. If there’s a silver lining, Skype’s Mac app and Modern Windows app, which is available for download through the Windows Store, seem unaffected by the bug. The problem was initially discovered by users on the Skype community forums who created threads complaining about the issue, following which VentureBeat picked up the story.

Sending the characters “http://:” (without the quotes) crashes Skype, and receiving a message with those characters makes it crash any time you try to sign in again. Instead, Verge reports, the current best suggestion aired in forums to overcome the issue is to have the person who sent you the message delete it and to install an older, bug-free version of Skype. This restarts the whole process all over once again: when the user launches the app, it recognizes the erratic characters once again and results in a complete crash of the application. Folks at VentureBeat tested the bug by sending Skype crash string from OS X to Android and iOS causing both the mobile apps fall in endless crash loops. “Interestingly, signing in with the same account that already had the characters in the chat history doesn’t crash the Android and iOS apps. Apple’s iPhones, iPads and the Apple Watch have been plagued by a “text message of death” that crashes Apple’s devices when sent via Messages and a variety of other apps including Snapchat and Twitter.

He noted that “clearing chat history not helps, because when skype download chat history from server, it will crash again.” Next, we sent the characters from Skype for Mac to Skype for Windows. It seems that on the mobile platforms, the user has to receive the characters on those platforms for the bug to show its ugly head. “ Microsoft is reportedly working on fixing this bug and is definitely aware of the issue, as VentureBeat reported. When presented with non-Latin characters in a specific sequence – including those from Arabic, Chinese and Marathi – the CoreText system chokes, causing it to fail and bring the entire operating system to a halt. Unfortunately, that problem is more easily solved—users just need to reply to the message using Siri, and people who don’t write in Arabic likely won’t be affected, unless one of their friends decides to be mean.

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