Technology

Skype falls victim to text chat bug

Skype logo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Skype's apps can be made to repeatedly crash if a certain string of characters is sent to them

Skype says it has fixed a bug that caused its chat apps to repeatedly crash if a specific string of eight characters was sent to a user.

The flaw affected its software on iOS, Android and some versions of Windows, but did not appear to affect Macs.

"{We] have rolled out updates for all impacted platforms," a Skype spokeswoman said.

The action came a week after a similar but unrelated bug was found to affect texting apps on iPhones.

Apple has since described a workaround for that issue but is still working on a more permanent fix.

Delete and reinstall

The problem with Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, was first flagged by a Russia-based user on the company's community forum.

"Clearing chat history [does] not help, because when Skype downloads chat history from server, it will crash again," wrote a person nicknamed Giperion.

The report was later brought to prominence by the news site Venturebeat, which detailed a possible fix: the person who sent the original message must delete it, and the affected user needs to delete the Skype app and install an older version of the software.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It emerged that Apple's devices were vulnerable to a text chat bug of their own last week

However, while it was easy to download and install an old version of Skype for Windows, it was more complicated to do so for iOS and Android devices.

Updates for all affected platforms have since been rushed out.

This is distinct to last week's discovery of a text bug that crashes iOS devices, which involves messages featuring specific strings of Arabic, Chinese and other non-Latin characters.

That flaw continues to affect Apple's Messages app as well as third-party services, including Twitter and Snapchat.

Apple's temporary workaround - which involves telling Siri to "read unread messages" - tackles the problem in the company's own chat app, but not others'.

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