Skype Client for Mac Chat Unicode Denial of Service
scip AG Vulnerability ID 4142 (06/22/2010)
Skype is a very popular proprietary voice-over-ip client available for
More information is available on the official web site at the following URL:
Marc Ruef at scip AG found a denial of service vulnerability in the
current release for Apple MacOS X (version 2.8).
The application provides the possibility of sending messages to other
Skype users via the embedded chat feature.
If a vulnerable client receives a malicious message, the message and all
further messages will be received but not displayed.
It was not possible to reproduce this behavior on different version of
the Skype client for Windows. On the iPhone (Version 22.214.171.1245 on iPhone
3gs) the behavior is different. A received message containing the
malicious string is shown but the content not displayed. Instead the
message box contains the hint that the message has been deleted. No
further impact could be determined.
Information on how to exploit this vulnerability is included in the
initial bug report.
An attacker has to include Unicode characters in the text message sent
to the victim. The characters used for the proof-of-concept are out of
Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols (1D400-1D7FF)
An automated toolkit to exploit this vulnerability is available but has
not been disclosed so far.
After receiving a malicious message the attacked client is not able to
use the chat feature anymore.
Furthermore, the handling of some other elements of the application are
not possible anymore (e.g. review the chat history).
For a common environment the identification of the attack is possible
after a successful exploitation only.
Deep inspection of received data communication over the Skype channel
may be able to determine an ongoing attack attempt.
No workaround or solution known at the moment.
It is suggested to allow incoming chat messages from approved friends only.
VII. VENDOR RESPONSE
This issue has been posted on Jira the public issue tracking and
reporting system of Skype.
The vendor verified the existence of the issue. No further information
about bugfixing were published.
scip AG - Security is our Business (german)
scip AG - Vulnerability Database (german)
computec.ch Document Database (german)
Skype Jira - Original Bug Report
IX. DISCLOSURE TIMELINE
2010/05/09 Identification of the vulnerability
2010/05/10 Notification of Skype via Jira (bug tracking)
2010/05/11 Acknowledgement of the issue via Jira
2010/05/11 Providing step-by-step exploit procedure
2010/06/22 Public disclosure of the advisory
The vulnerability has been discovered by Marc Ruef.
Marc Ruef, scip AG, Zuerich, Switzerland
Additional testing and help was provided by Stefan Friedli and Martin Burke.
A1. LEGAL NOTICES
Copyright (c) 2002-2010 scip AG, Switzerland.
Permission is granted for the re-distribution of this alert. It may not
be edited in any way without permission of scip AG.
The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time
of publishing based on currently available information. There are no
warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the
publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect or
consequential loss or damage from use of or reliance on this advisory.