Microsoft pushed out an update to its Skype messaging and video chat applications across platforms Wednesday morning to fix a bug that locked users out of their accounts if they received a particular text string.
All of the Skype apps affected by the bug have been updated to prevent them from repeatedly crashing after a user receives “http://:” in a message. In a test yesterday, only the Windows desktop, iOS and Android versions of the app were affected, but Skype hasn’t disclosed which applications were updated. Mobile users should be able to install the update through their respective app stores, and Skype recommends that desktop users download the latest version of the app from the Web as soon as possible.
The bug created a thorny problem for users of Microsoft’s chat software. Once users had the offending message in their chat histories, the program would crash repeatedly. Deleting the chat history on a device wouldn’t help matters, since Skype would just download it again from the cloud after being relaunched, and then subsequently crash.
Testing of the update revealed that apps that had previously been stuck in a crashing loop were able to once again function, even with the offending string in a user’s chat history. Receiving the string also had no effect.
A Skype spokeswoman said in an email that the issue first became apparent on Tuesday, but didn’t disclose what about the string caused the crash. A post to the Skype community forums called the string a “bad URL.” The spokeswoman also said that the issue didn’t compromise a user’s personal information in any way.