Skype says that it has a fix in the works for a frightening, but reportedly not widespread, bug that involves users’ private instant messages being shared with other unintended people in their contacts list. The bug was first discussed in Skype’s user forums, and seems to have followed a June 2012 update of the Skype software.
According to a report by Engadget, Skype has confirmed the bug existence and that a fix is in the works. However, the company characterizes the bug as “rare.”
We also reached out to Skype for details. In a statement provided to TechCrunch on the matter, Skype says the following:
“We are aware in rare circumstances IM’s between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact. We are rolling out a fix for this issue in the next few days and will notify our users to download an updated version of Skype.”
Here’s how one poster described the problem in the forums:
Skype text messages I received have gone to another contact
I am really surprised and shocked how it has happened. When I did last one Skype upgrade in June 2012 It has become to work very strange. Sometimes when I open chat window with some contact, It lists all latest messages from that person although I have already read them.
Few days ago one friend from my contact list has received few messages I had already received before from other my skype contact. It seemed these messages were sent by me. It is really confusing.
I have no history option in privacy section and cleared all my cookies. How can I protect my privacy?
Others later chimed in, saying the exact same thing had happened to them too, and on Friday, a Skype representative said the company was investigating. Given that many people use Skype not just for personal messaging, but for work-related purposes, even the rare occurrence of such a bug could have wide-reaching impacts.
We’ve reached out to Skype to see if it would provide additional details about the size and scope of the problem, and will update when we hear back.
Based on recent Skype customer forum posts and our own investigation over the past couple of days, we have identified a bug that we are working hard to fix. This issue occurs only when a user’s Skype client crashes during a Skype IM session, which may in some cases result in the last IM entered or sent prior to the crash being delivered to a different IM contact after the Skype client is rebooted or logged in as a new user.
Although we cannot determine precisely how many users may have been affected by this error, we believe the number is small given the very specific circumstances under which the error occurs. At Skype, our customer experience is paramount and we are working hard to release fixes for impacted clients within the next several days.
The Skype clients impacted include: Skype 5.9 and 5.10 for Windows, Skype 5.8 for Mac, Skype 4.0 for Linux, Skype 1.2 for Windows Phone, Skype 2.8 for Android, Skype 4.0 for iOS. We urge all Skype customers to download the latest client as soon as they are notified that any update, including this fix, is available.
We sincerely apologize to our community for any inconvenience.