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Skype users continue to be plagued by ongoing bogus messages

Despite first being reported over a month ago, prompting Microsoft to advise Skype users to change their passwords, Skype users remain in the dark over a security issue that has resulted in their accounts sending out spam unnoticed, with Microsoft seemingly unable to rectify the problem.

The problem, first reported on a Skype community forum over a month ago, sees random Skype users send out messages to multiple contacts on their contact list that were not sent by the user themselves. The messages include links to spam websites, which are always disguised using short links. The problem has been reported to affect both old and new accounts, including those that have not been logged into in some time; and reports state even accounts that have not been linked to Windows Live accounts are appearing to send spam.

Though the cause of the issue is yet unknown, some evidence by users suggests the issue could be a vulnerability with Skype's web client. Although the spam messages do not appear in the chat history of affected users when using a Desktop or Mobile version of the Skype client, some users who have been told their accounts have sent the spam messages have been able to see them in conversation windows that appear when the web client is used. Microsoft are yet to confirm these claims, having passed the buck several times already – the company has so far blamed weak passwords; malware on the affected user's computers; and an issue with linked accounts as potential causes.

Microsoft continue to advise users affected by this issue to change their passwords; and state that they are continuing to look into the matter.

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    Facebook, Google Compete for Skype

    Facebook and Google are reportedly in a bidding war for Skype, which could create a communications powerhouse.

    Two sources with direct knowledge of the discussions told Reuters that Skype is considering a possible purchase or joint venture between Facebook or Google. Skype, which uses voice-over-IP, or VoIP, to stream live video and audio calls, boasted 124 million users this last month alone and stands to gain even more should it agree to either deal.

    Should Skype join with Google, it gains solid backing from a deep-pocketed protector. Google, meanwhile, would gain a vast improvement over its current chat client.

    Skype is doing fine on its own, raising over $860 million in 2010, but a partnership with Google would help the company go public with a bang, eclipsing others recent IPOs like LinkedIn’s offering, an important boost for Skype as more and more tech companies flood the market.

    Skype’s video chat and desktop client would help Google compete against other tech companies. Google Talk does not support video chat like Skype, making it inferior to rival Microsoft’s online collaboration suite Lync. Furthermore, Google’s services are all online while Skype has a desktop app; if the two companies can combine these interfaces users will find it much easier and faster to communicate than ever before.

    Should Skype hook up with Facebook, it would inherit the social network’s reach, over 600 million users, and increase the flow of calls across its network. Skype would also reportedly earn between $3 to 4 billion if Facebook decided to bid for its loyalty. And the transition would be easy, as Skype users can already call their Facebook friends from the Skype desktop application; any partnership would likely make voice and video calls possible from inside Facebook as well.

    Facebook would be happy to buy Skype, sources say, as CEO Mark Zuckerburg is reportedly interested in extending its reach to voice and video calls to draw people to spend even more time chatting on the site.

    Insiders say a tie-up between Facebook and Skype would make more sense than one with Google, which already has Google Voice. Still, given their rivalry, it’s possible Google and Facebook are simply competing to prevent the other from winning a valuable asset in Skype.

    Skype and Google declined to comment. Facebook was not immediately available to comment.