Adding a single colon to a web link is enough to kill Skype on your PC, Android and iOS device.
Sending the characters
http://: in a chat conversation via the software will cause the application to crash, and bomb all over again when restarted as the application will process the chat characters again before you get a chance to delete them.
Skype hurriedly tweaked its servers to simply blocks the transmission of the characters between users. For those stuck with the bug, there are seemingly three solutions: update to the latest fixed version as soon as possible; get the person who sent you the chat message to delete it at their end; or get others to send you lots of messages so the crashing-characters are sent into the chat archive and so aren't pulled up when it restarts.
Skype has also blocked access to the message in its support archives that highlighted the bug. The good news? If you're using Skype on a Mac or the most recent Windows (8.1 up), you're safe from the get-go.
The bug is similar to another discovered last week where a 75-byte sequence of unicode characters smuggled into text messages caused iThings to crash. Apple came up with a temporary fix for that issue, but not yet a patch.
The big difference, however, is that the Apple bug required some significant effort to get the characters right; the Skype bug is a pure typo. And also a very simple bug – the Apple glitch involved parsing fairly complex unicode glyphs. The Skype flaw is a single unexpected colon in its URL parser.
"We are aware of a Skype issue and have rolled out updates for all impacted products. More information can be found on our Skype Community Forum," a Skype spokesperson told El Reg. ®