It Takes Just Eight Characters To Crash Skype

An eight-character phrase locks Skype users out of the apps on most devices where it’s available.

Skype users have found the bug in the programme. Photo: C_osett/Flickr

Skype users have found the bug in the programme. Photo: C_osett/Flickr

Internet users have discovered a rather nasty bug in the popular app. Sending the characters “http://:” (without the quotation marks) crashes Skype, and receiving such a message makes it crash any time you try to sign in again.

Soon it was tested on various operating systems, including Windows, Android, and iOS. But it does not, however, seem to have any effect on Skype for Mac nor Skype for modern Windows.

The bug was first noted by users on Skype’s community support forums.

According to a report by VentureBeat, a user with nickname “Giperion” posted about the issue first, saying that deleting the chat history on a device didn’t help, because Skype would automatically download it again from the cloud after starting back up, and that’s why crashed will keep on occuring that thread has since been deleted for reasons that are unclear.

A Skype representative said in an emailed statement that the company was “aware of the problem and [is] working to provide a resolution.”

“Our engineering teams worked hard to resolve this issue, and have released updates for all impacted Skype platforms.”

“Beyond that, there isn’t a public timeline for a permanent fix, or a clear reason why that string of characters causes the bug. Getting the sender of the offending message to delete it and then downgrading Skype from version 7 to version 6 is supposed to let a user continue to access the service on Windows, for those users who need a temporary solution,” PC World writes.

“Interestingly, signing in with the same account that already had the characters in the chat history doesn’t crash the Android and iOS apps. Neither does sending the characters from Android or iOS. 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. We would provide screenshots on Android and iOS too, but the app just exits abrubtly so there’s nothing to show,” Venture Beat adds.

Skype user “Lazymax” notes that you can get around the bug if the person who sent you the characters deletes the “bad” message. If you then install an older version of Skype, you can use it again.

The news came a week after a bug was discovered in Apple’s iOS that caused Messages to crash automatically when a certain text was received.

If an iPhone user received the message, containing a mixture of specific words and characters, while their handset is locked, the bug forced their phone to reboot.

Soon the text message content was widely spread on the Internet, with people complaining of being repeatedly sent the message by mischievous friends.

The message contains the word ‘Power’ as well as Arabic and Marathi characters and the Chinese character meaning ‘redundant’.

On its support page, Apple confirmed that it was aware of the bug, saying: “Apple is aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update. Until the update is available, you can use steps to re-open the Messages app.”

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