Skype for Android is affected by a dangerous bug, which allows anyone to spy on you. Microsoft is working on a fix, but things are slow
For the past few days there have been increasing reports about a serious, annoying and potentially very risky for privacy, bug in the Skype for Android app. The messaging service, calls and VoIP video calls of Microsoft automatically responds to incoming calls without our consent and even if the automatic response is disabled in the options.
A major problem, since answering Skype does nothing but activate the microphone of Android smartphones, allowing those who made the call to listen to everything that the microphone of the called can pick up at that moment. A bug, then, that could become a godsend for anyone who wants to spy on us: just call us on Skype, the Android app will do the rest by itself and hardly who receives the call will notice that Skype has opened the communication.
Skype bug, solution coming
Microsoft is aware of this defect and is working to fix the bug and apparently the new version of Skype, distributed to members of the Microsoft Insider program, is free of this bug. All other Skype users, however, still have to wait for the upgrade to arrive and install it as soon as it is available. A measure of protection for those who receive many phone calls on Skype is to avoid using the app and temporarily uninstall it while waiting for the fix. Also because it should be pointed out that the first reports of this problem date back even to January 2019, although the peak is of the past few days, and Microsoft is evidently taking a little too long to fix this bug.
This story closely resembles another, which also occurred in January this year: the FaceTime app for iPhone had a bug that allowed users to listen to other people by launching a group video call. In that case, the microphone was activated before the user answered the video call, turning into a tool to spy on their FaceTime contacts. On that occasion Apple was much more reactive: it immediately disabled group video calls and fixed the problem in about ten days with an updated and corrected version of FaceTime. Google also had a similar problem with a preliminary version of its Google Mini smart speaker, in October 2017: in that case, the device put itself on continuous listening, 24/7, due to a defect in the touch trigger button. Data and audio, however, were being sent to Google's servers. Big G responded at the time by completely disabling this feature on the batch of defective Google Minis.