Microsoft’s property Skype has finally closed a “window” that allowed just about anyone to get your IP address simply by having your user name at the ready.
Skype makes small fix, after a big wait
After years of waiting, users of the popular communication tool that includes free device to device video calling will finally have their IP address hidden by default. One would have thought that would always have been the case really, but it has taken Skype, and by default Microsoft, nearly four years to fix the problem.
On May 1, 2012, Computer World published a report that said Microsoft was investigating a report that a tool that allowed “hackers” (anyone, really) to target a Skype user, whether or not a contact, and determine their IP address. That hack was originally posted on Pastebin and Skype immediately released a statement saying that they were aware of the problem.
A portion of the company’s response included:
“…this is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are taking measures to help protect them.”
Well, apparently the investigation is over after more than three-and-a-half years and today saw Skype actually do something about it. While mobile users will likely be prompted to download the newest version of Skype which includes the fix, desktop users will need to download a new version of the software.
Better late than never?
The company released a statement today saying of the update, “This measure will help prevent individuals from obtaining a Skype ID and resolving to an IP address.”
While knowledge of your IP address, may not seem like a big deal…well, you’ve clearly never been on the wrong side of a denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS is a common means by which to overload a device with requests in order to shut it down.
Which again, doesn’t seem like a big deal unless you’re a serious gamer. Essentially, an uber-competitive opponent could, in theory, shut you down while you were playing against them.
While the Microsoft property didn’t specifically address this problem in the announcement, the headline did read, “To our gamers: IP will now be hidden by default in latest update.”