Skype Helps Hackers

Skype Hacked

With over 600 million users you would think Skype would have systems in place to combat hackers as fast as possible after being found out. Instead I have found that Skype has a loophole allowing hackers 24 hours use of an account and the user cannot stop them. This is something that I am sure many hackers are finding quite amusing and using to their advantage. Customer support are powerless to do anything about it because it is the Skype policy and security measures that allows this. Yes you read that correctly, it is Skypes security measures to protect your account that allows hackers to use your account for 24 hours untouched!

I have used Skype for a couple of years now and have seen many other peoples accounts get hacked. It is usually easy to tell as the person will get in contact with you saying they need help, then ask for funds to be sent to them in paypal, payza (previously alertpay), Liberty Reserve or Western Union. Sometimes they say they will send one payment processor funds in return for another, of course they ask for you to send first. Because they are using the messaging element of Skype you cannot see that it is not the person you think it is. Other hackers use credits that are associated with the Skype account.

Today my Skype account was hacked for the first time. I realized it almost straight away as I was using it at the time and it suddenly logged off. I tried to log back in but it would not accept my password. After several attempts I tried the forgotten password link. It asked for my email which I put in and it said that there was no record of that email in the Skype system. Strange, I checked my email to make sure I had the correct one and noticed that there was an email from Skype informing me that my email was successfully changed to one that I did not recognize. I now knew I had been hacked. I immediately changed my password to the email account.

This is where I thought great I am on top of this I will just contact support and they will fix it straight away for me. Little did I know how wrong I was. The first hurdle was finding where to contacy support directly. The support page yielded varying results and I eventually found a link provided by someone else to live chat support.

It took about 10 minutes to be connected to an agent, I was 2nd on the list. After asking for my Skype name and email, which I had already put in the box prior to being connected, the agent asked my real name then asked what the problem was. I told the agent that my account was hacked, they had changed the email and my password would not work. The agent then said they would pass me on to someone that would help me. Ok, I thought that was why I was talking to them but I will give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they were just the person to pass me onto the correct department.

The next customer support Margaret D came on and proceeded to ask me the same questions. Then said she would review the conversation so far. There was only about 12 lines of chat with the previous support agent but it still took over 5 minutes before I mentioned it was taking a long time to read. She then went through several processes that got nowhere and after 32 minutes came up with the  line, ‘So you changed your email’. A comment I couldn’t believe as from the very start I had told her that someone else did it.

By this stage frustration was setting in and I started another chat with another support member. This one seemed to have a better handle on things. Then Margaret D came back and told me she had changed my email back to the one I wanted. Finally I’m getting somewhere, or so I thought. I was then given a link to reset my password, that is when the problems showed. I tried to reset my password but I got a message saying that I could not reset it because I had already reached the limit of password resets for the day. Essentially because the hacker reset  the password I was not able to reset it back to one of my own.

skype password reset

During this time I had already heard from friends on facebook that the hacker was asking people to help by sending them money. I also had found an email in my account showing that the hacker had changed the password about half an hour prior to changing the email address. Strangely it was in arabic.

 

Translation

Token password
Reset your password using this temporary symbol. Please note that this link remains active for 6 hours only since it is received. After the end of this time period, the symbolwill not work and you will need to send a request to change the password. 

 

On informing the support of the message they said that I would have to wait for 24 hours before trying to reset the password again. I wasn’t happy with that response and asked that they do something about it. I was told that nothing could be done until 24 hours later when I could reset the password. Since the email had been changed I thought that was the end of the issue after 55 minutes with customer support. That was until I was told half an hour later that the hacker was still soliciting money from people from my Skype account. This would be because they do not need my email, they only need the Skype name and password to login.

Back to square one and back into Skype customer support. I immediately requested that I be put onto someone that would be the best person there to solve my problem. Maria Rona N was confident saying,

 I’m going to use all my available resources to help you out with your Skype concern.

It seems those resources do not count for much as once again the same sticking point remained. Despite another hour trying to resolve the issue and requesting to have higher level support do something, in the end I still had to wait 24 hours before trying to reset my password again, meanwhile the hacker goes about his business. Apparently level two support were too busy to look into the problem but I was told they would send an email as they do not deal in chat. Seems like no support at all from level two. I received an email from Maria which read;

Summary of the problem: Non-Paying Customers’ account is taken over. Unable to reset password because of the 24 hour restriction. Customer demands for higher level position to solve this issue.

Actions expected: Email customer for the best resolution regarding his issue.

So here I am 14 hours later and I have not received an email for the best resolution. I would not be surprised if I receive one later, more than 24 hours after the complaint, stating I should wait for 24 hours then try to reset the password.

But what happens if the hacker changes the email address again or they reset the password again before I do, then I will have to go through the process again. Skype will not record details of hackers email addresses hiding behind privacy laws. So this same person can hack other peoples account and change it to the same email. In fact according to Google this email has been used before.

So congratulations Skype, you have successfully implemented policies and systems that give hackers at least 24 hours of uninterrupted use of another persons account. Plenty of time for them to get in touch with the majority of that persons contacts to scam them, use any credit they have and generally do as much harm as they can.

It seems this is not an uncommon problem. Google ‘skype hacked’ and you will find lots of stories of people having calls made on their accounts, passwords changed and emails changed. Many of the stories say that when Skype were contacted they blamed the user for lack of security, often not offering a refund for the fraudulent charges on the account.

Most companies would try to make it as hard as possible for criminals to break the law. Instead Skype seems to have made friends with them by making things easy for them and harder for their customers. Strange way to do business and I think a company so big can and should introduce better measures.

Have you had your Skype hacked? Tell your story in the comments.

An actual account by

David Newman

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