A major bug is forcing Microsoft to rebuild Skype for Windows

Woman Skype Laptop Home Computer Internet

The result, if exploited would mean that an ordinary user account would get all the privileges of a SYSTEM user. Well, security researchers have now discovered a major security flaw in Skype and this loophole could allow cybercriminals to gain complete control of computers. Previous year in September, security researchers had warned Microsoft about the flaw. However, as researcher Stefan Kanthak notes, the company has made a decision to treat the bug in the newer version of Skype rather than issue a security update. The bug works because the malicious DLL is found first when the app searches for the DLL it needs.

Once this malicious DLL is installed, Skype's own updater will run and use another executable file to keep the software up to date, which is vulnerable to the hijacking.

While the attack is described as "on the clunky side", it could nevertheless easily be weaponised, insists Security Researcher Stefan Kanthak.

"Windows provides multiple ways to do it", he said. To make the issue even worse, Microsoft knows the flaw is there and exploitable, but has no plans for an immediate fix because it would require too much work. He went on to remind the reporter that DLL hijacking isn't limited to Windows systems, Macs and Linux systems are vulnerable too.

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From there, an attacker could steal files, delete data, or hold data hostage by running ransomware. Kanthak brought the vulnerability to Microsoft's attention in September and Microsoft noted that the fix would require "a large code revision". However, Microsoft mentioned that all the resources have been put toward development of the new client.

If hackers exploit this then it could allow them and malicious users to gain the administrator-level access to affected systems.

Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.

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