I have been using Skype ever since it came out, so I know my stuff.
I know how to write strong passwords, how to use smart security questions and how to – most importantly – avoid Phishing attempts on my Skype account.
But all that didn’t help me avoid a Skype mishap (or more bluntly as a friend said – Skype f*ckup).
It all started Saturday late at night (about 2am GMT), when I started receiving emails in Mandarin from Skype, my immediate thought was fraud, a phishing attempt, so I ignored it. But then I noticed I got also emails from Paypal with charges from Skype for 100$ 200$ 300$, and I was worried, was my account hacked?
I immediately went to PayPal and disconnected my authorization to Skype, called in Transaction Dispute on PayPal and then went on to look at my Skype account.
I looked into the recent logons to my account – nothing.
I looked into email changes, or passwords – nothing.
I couldn’t figure out how the thing got to where it was, and then I noticed, I have become a Skype Manager – wow I was promoted and I didn’t even send in my CV.
Yeah, joke aside, Skype Manager, is a service Skype gives to businesses to allow one person to buy Skype Credit and other people to use that Credit to make calls. A great idea, but the execution is poor.
The service appears to have been launched in 2012, and a few weeks after that, fraud started popping up. The how is very simple and so stupid it shameful for Skype to not have fixed this, since it was first reported (which I found) on the 21st of Jan 2012 on the Skype forum.
Apparently having this very common combinations of:
1) Auto-charge PayPal
2) Never used Skype Manager
3) Never setup a Work email for Skype
Makes it possible for someone to:
1) Setup you as a Skype Manager
2) Setup a new work email on some obscure service (mailinator was used in my case), and have all Skype emails for confirmations sent there
Yes, they don’t need to know anything BESIDE the Skype Call name of your account – which is easy to get using Skype Search.
Once you have become a Skype Manager, “you” can add users to the group you are managing – they don’t need to logon as all they need to do is use the (email) link you get to the newly assigned Work Email, yes, it doesn’t confirm the password – smart ha?
The users added to your Skype Manager can now take the Credit (its not money, it just call credits) and call anywhere they want.
Why this bug / feature not been fixed/addressed since the first time it was made public on the Skype Forum (probably was exploited before then), is anyone’s guess, talking to the Fraud department of Skype – he mainly stated that I should:
1) Change my password for Skype – yes, that would have helped nothing in this case
2) Make sure I authorize Skype only on trustworthy devices
The bottom line, Skype users, make sure:
1) You have configured your Skype Manager – if you are using Auto-Charge feature – I have disabled my Auto-Charge and PayPal authorization since then, and don’t plan on enabling it anytime (ever)
2) You have configured your Skype Work email – yes, if its unset, anyone can change it – without needing to know your current password – is this company a PCI authorized company? 😀
If you have more insight on the matter, let me know