Skype gets tripped up by stray characters

3 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Simple String of Characters Crashes Skype.

Skype today has rolled out a fix for the bug that has been causing its client software applications to repeatedly crash if users received a particular string of characters as a message.These eight characters — http://: — when used in any message, can crash Skype for the recipient and, in many cases, require reinstalling the application.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.

If someone messaged you with the characters “http://” (without the quotes), Skype would crash and then not allow you to sign in again upon re-opening the application. 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://:”. News of the bug’s existence follows that of a similar bug reported to affect iMessage, SMS and other texting clients on iPhones, which Apple acknowledged and promised to address in a forthcoming software update.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but a Skype spokesman told VentureBeat that Redmond is “aware of the problem,” and “working to provide [a] resolution.” Russian user Giperion was first to report the issue, saying that even clearing the chat history didn’t help—once Skype downloads your chat history from the server, it crashes again. However, unlike the iPhone bug which involved sending a string of Arabic characters to crash a victim’s phone, the Skype bug could easily be a typo in a normal text chat between friends.

Other posts, meanwhile, point to the same issue: “Try sending (http://:) without bracket to ur friend,” user Jdbr wrote today. “Your Skype will crash and would not [be] able to start. This may remind you of a different messaging bug that was big news a week ago: a specific message, with Arabic characters, that will crash Messages on an iPhone. The bug was first discovered by a Skype user “Giperion” who posted details on Skype’s community forums. (The post has since been removed.) The issue affected a number of Skype software client applications, including certain versions that run on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Tested on Window 7 and Android.” User Lazymax suggested a PC-based fix: Ask the sender to delete the “bad” message from their chat, then uninstall and reinstall Skype, ensuring it is updated to the latest version.

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. 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. Users won’t need to uninstall their Skype software application in order to proceed – they can just update the app currently installed on their computer or mobile device.

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