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Skype Gets the Bug Too...

Skype Bug 2015

Just a week after a bug was found on Apple iPhone’s Messages on which a specific set of characters make the application crash, another giant social communications application gets the flu. This time, it’s Microsoft’s Skype. And it not only affects the Windows version, but also the iOS and Android varieties. The bug was first discovered by users who posted it on Skype’s support forums. It was then tested and confirmed by VentureBeat’s editors.


Messages Bug vs Skype Bug

At least, crashing iPhone’s Messages application was a little more complex as it requires sending 8 particular characters from the Arabic alphabet. Nonetheless, that malicious message prevented the affected iPhone from receiving texts and sometimes even crashing the phone entirely because Apple’s iOS did not know what to do with these Unicode characters. And publishing it first on Reddit didn’t really help as it spread like wildfire, enticing people to play pranks on their friends’ iPhones. 

Apple has published a quick fix and it included instructing the Siri application to read the unread messages and replying to the problematic message. Apple also recommended the obvious thing to do which is to delete the message once a user receives it.

Fix Skype Ios 2015The bug in Skype, on the other hand, can render the Skype client application unusable just by sending a simple “http://:”, quotes not included. On the Windows version, it crashes the sender’s Skype client and kills the application on the receiving end. Android and iOS Skype clients are affected only if they are the ones on the receiving end. At the moment, the Mac version of Skype is not affected by the bug either as a sender or recipient. 

The fix for this Skype bug came the day after the issue was discovered and update downloads were quickly made available. Skype acknowledged the bug in their community blog and announced the downloadable patches for the different platforms where Skype download is currently available. Versions 7.5, 5.13, and 5.4 for Windows, iOS, and Android, respectively, are available for download. Skype also updated the Mac version to 7.7 to prevent future issues.


Who’s Next?

Seems like the bug is finding its way to the major social communications applications and it might only be a matter of time before it also hits Facebook, WhatsApp, or Tinder and there seems to be no way of preventing it until it hits. Some companies use one of more of these mediums in their corporate communications and bugs like the ones found in Apple iPhone’s Messages and Microsoft’s Skype can render these applications useless. 

Some hackers might even find a way to capitalize on these bugs and compromise the security of the sender or recipient’s computer or mobile device. The possibilities are actually endless and scary at the same time, and all it takes are a few characters that the communications software does not understand.


A More Viable Option

It might be a good time to invest in a more secure, more private, and probably more robust communications infrastructure like what Handility offers. It’s essentially a PBX system over cloud so it eliminates the hassles of wires and geographical limitations of PSTNs with the added security of data encryption.


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Handility can scale from the personal user, to the small business, to large multinational companies, according to the requirements. The client can be installed on Android devices or iPhones, and acts as mobile extension of the company’s phone system. Setup is as fast as 5 minutes and users can start communicating right away using Handility’s secure cloud. Their services are also available on competitive and reasonable prices starting from $0.03 per minute or $29 for unlimited domestic and international calls.


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