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Skype-test-logo.jpgUPDATED 16:18 GMT:

We've just received the following statement from Skype:

"Early this morning we were notified of user concerns surrounding the security of the password reset feature on our website. This issue affected some users where multiple Skype accounts were registered to the same email address. We suspended the password reset feature temporarily this morning as a precaution and have made updates to the password reset process today so that it is now working properly. We are reaching out to a small number of users who may have been impacted to assist as necessary. Skype is committed to providing a safe and secure communications experience to our users and we apologise for the inconvenience."

The original story follows:

Russian hackers have uncovered a security flaw in Microsoft's Skype video calling service that allows unsavory web users to easily gain control of a user's account.

The issue rests with Skype's password reset procedures. Exploiting the flaw, a hacker merely needs a user's username and email address that Skype is registered to in order to kick-off a five-step process to gain control of the account.

Though we wont post details of the hack here, we've independently verified that it indeed works. Both The Verge and The Next Web have also verified the hack.

It's an incredibly simple hack, but does rely upon your email address being common knowledge. If it isn't, you're safe, and if it is, you should probably go about changing the address your account is registered to.

As a precaution while they look into the problem, Microsoft have temporarily disabled Skype's password reset controls. Skype have also released the following statement.

"We have had reports of a new security vulnerability issue. As a precautionary step we have temporarily disabled password reset as we continue to investigate the issue further. We apologize for the inconvenience but user experience and safety is our first priority"

Via: The Next Web

telyhd-top.jpgBig screen video calling, à la Back To The Future 2, has been a reality for a few years now thanks to web-connected webcam-packing TVs, the ever-growing popularity of Skype and even games console peripherals like the Xbox 360 Kinect or the PlayStation 3 Eye. It's still however slightly daunting for tech newbies, needing either a games console or laptop hooked up to a TV, or confining yourself to a laptop or computer screen.

Enter the TelyHD, a Skype-packing, Android-powered webcam designed for both the living room and the boardroom, with simplicity in mind.

Looking much like Microsoft's Kinect accessory, the TelyHD sits on an adjustable bracket on top of your TV (or could of course stand freely on a tabletop if that's a better fit for your living room), and requires just a plug socket and HDMI port on your TV to get to work.

A 720p HD video camera sits on the front, with the unit packing in 4 noise-cancelling microphones to pick up conversations. Coming with Skype pre-installed, a clean, easily-navigated UI lets you log in to your account, which then throws contact cards for all your Skype pals onto the main screen. Connecting over Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection, you can then video call pals across the globe.

Using adaptive streaming to set the resolution based on your web connection rather than having you suffer the pains of buffering, it's a pleasant experience. The UI isn't as intuitive as it could be, and using the small remote a little clunky, but a smartphone app that lets you navigate the TelyHD and type using a software keyboard rather than the onscreen one with the remote should make things easier.

telyhd-mid.jpgBeyond video calling, the Tely HD also has a number of other tricks up its sleeve.

Photos can be shared using the TelyHD, splitting the screen between those video calling, and giving over a large chunk of the display to the images being shared. These can be popped onto either an SD card or USB stick and plugged into the back of the TelyHD. It's a nice feature, and a far more personal way to share your photos and see the recipients instant reactions than sharing them via Facebook or email.

Apps are also coming to the TelyHD. As well as already offering a fully functioning web browser, supporting video playback from the likes of Netflix and BBC iPlayer, the TelyHD will also soon offer select Android apps for download, including the ubiquitous Angry Birds game. In this sense, the TelyHD can almost also be seen as a Smart TV upgrade for older TVs, as well as a webcam.

A recent upgrade has also improved the TelyHD's features for business users. Popping an upgrade code (purchased from Tely.com) into the settings pane of the TelyHD menu opens up extra features such as document sharing and 6-party group calling, turning the TelyHD into a workplace tool too.

There are a few concerns though, with the main one being price. At a few pennies short of £200, you could have an impressive Android tablet with video calling functionality or laptop. Indeed, this wouldn't have the big screen appeal of the TelyHD, but the extra features you'd get with such alternatives are obvious and difficult to overlook. Also overlooked is the ability to add Skype credit straight from the TelyHD; during our playtime we found no way to top-up for premium features, meaning anyone looking to call a landline or mobile using the gadget would also need access to a computer in order to add funds, and undermining the "no computer required" TelyHD motto.

For the most part, it does the job, and does it well though. For true technophobes, the TelyHD would be an unobtrusive, simple way to connect visually with friends, family, and even business partners around the globe.

Available now from www.amazon.co.uk (and headed to select retailers before Christmas), the TelyHD will set you back £199.90.

Skype gift cards hit the UK highstreet

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Skype-test-logo.jpgSkype will be introducing prepaid gift cards to the UK highstreet after signing deals with a number of leading UK shops.

The voice and video calling service will now offer £10 and £20 gift cards, stocked in 1,400 Asda, Currys, PC World, WHSmiths and Sainsbury's stores up and down the country. They'll be found in the gift card area alongside the likes of Amazon and iTunes prepaid cards.

Katie Walley, head of Cards and Lending at Asda Money, said, "At Asda we are committed to helping our customers save money every day," said

"We see Skype as an ideal way to make communicating more affordable, and the Skype Prepaid Cards will be available in over 200 stores over the coming months."

Sainsbury's Shelly Roberts echoed the sentiment:

"It's great news that our partnership with Skype means that these cards, which will be available in over 400 Sainsbury's stores, will allow our customers to remain in contact with their friends and family cost effectively."

Though many features of Skype are free, such as one-to-one video calling and voice-over-internet calling, premium features such as video conferencing and calls to landlines or mobiles are charged. These giftcards can be used to pay for these premium features, as well as being used to pay for £4.99 per month Skype subscriptions.

skype-win8-1.pngSkype for Windows 8 is to look drastically different from versions of the VoiP app that have gone before it, if a new set of leaked screenshots are anything to go by.

Tapping into the Modern UI look (or the Metro UI, if your prefer its old name), it's a bold, clear, spacious interface on show, clearly designed to work with touch-friendly controls as well as desktop navigation methods. Users of Windows RT tablets shouldn't have any issues taping in numbers of scrolling through contacts lists.
skype-win8-2.pngNabbed by the folks over at NeoWin, they're reporting a fluid, crash-free experience from what they believe is a preview build of the app. Whether that's an internal, Microsoft preview, or a first glimpse at a public preview app yet to be revealed, remains unclear.

Either way, they seem pleased with it, citing many small touches (like tweaked fonts for different members of a conversation, for example) as making the core Skype experience modern and user friendly.

With Skype now wholly owned by Microsoft, you can bet your bottom dollar this will be ready in time for the Windows 8 release date on October 26th.

Via: NeoWin

skype-ban.jpgThe Ethiopian government has made it a criminally offence to use VoIP services like Skype or Google Talk in their country, punishable by as much as 15 years in prison.

The bans also extend to social networking features that make video or audio chat over the web possible.

The law was passed last month, but has only just been brought to the attention of the international community.

Ethiopian government officials that the bans have been brought about by "national security concerns". However, dig a little deeper and the true motive quickly becomes apparent; Ethiopia is served by a single, state-owned telecommunications carrier. Banning VoIP services (many of which offer free web-calling) helps the Ethiopian government protect their monopoly over communication services.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology also gained "the power to supervise and issue licenses to all privately owned companies that import equipment used for communication and information."

The governemnt is also said to be blocking access to the Tor network, an independent ISP which allows people to surf the web anonymously.

Via: Tech Crunch

Xbox-360-Skype.jpgA new job posting suggests that in-game video calling will be coming to Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, courtesy of Skype.

Skype are looking for a London based Lead Program Manager to help build in-game voice and video services to the Xbox 720, thought to be codenamed Durango, expected to land sometime after summer 2013.

According to the listing, time is of the essence to get the feature up and running, which would represent a major push for Skype towards gaining a living-room audience:

"Skype is working on powering real-time voice and video communications on the Xbox. Xbox is a fundamental lynchpin of Skype's living-room strategy, and we are focused on enabling amazing new in-game and in-console voice and video experiences for the next generation of Xbox.

"This is a crucial initiative for Xbox, and it is time-critical given the hardware lead times involved."

So what would the feature look like on the Xbox 720? As well as standard full-screen video calling (hopefully through a HD Kinect sensor), we'd expect to see picture-in-picture video calling during competitive and co-operative online gaming, allowing for better teamwork during co-op sessions, and even more annoying bragging powers over Xbox Live.

Microsoft bought Skype for a huge $8.5 billion last year, but have done little with the popular video calling service since. While deep Skype integration is expected with the Windows Phone Apollo update, Skype for Xbox 720 would finally see all that money spent going to good use.

Microsoft looking for Xbox Skype developers

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Xbox-360-Skype.jpgA job listing over on Microsoft's recruitment page states that the team are looking to build a Skype Xbox Engineering Team, suggesting video chat integration could be coming to the Xbox 360.

According to the listing, Microsoft is "building the next generations of our products and technology", a likely nod towards a future console, most probably the Xbox 720.

Despite bagging Skype back in May of 2011 for a huge $8.5 billion, Microsoft have dragged their heels when it comes to integrating their acquisition into their core products: it took until February of this year, for instance, to see even a hint of a Skype app for Windows Phone 7 devices.

But the potential here on Xbox is great; the Xbox Live community is a vibrant, vocal one that would appreciate the deep, robust chat support Skype would offer, with the Kinect sensor well placed in many Xbox 360-owners homes to capture the footage.

Even better, we'd love to see some picture-in-picture video using Skype on the next-gen Microsoft console, whatever that ends up being. A Call of Duty frag match or FIFA tournament, paired with the grimaces of your opponents as they get pwned would be awesome.

Is Skype making us hate our own faces??

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Skype may be a wonderful tool for bringing people together visually around the world, but is it also having an unexpected effect on our self esteem? ShinyShiny's Becca Caddy investigates...

crazy-computer-woman.jpgA lot of people hate the way they look so much they're willing to have their faces slashed open and moved around, but is Skype and video chat really to blame for our self-loathing?

As we all happily bumble through life many of us are all far too familiar with the tragic moment when we catch sight of our stupid laughing faces in the mirror or see a photo that shows just how hideous our teeth REALLY are. Your poor bruised little subconscious whispers to itself, "Ohhh so that's how my face ACTUALLY looks?!" and for the rest of the day you feel a bit like Quasimodo. Or maybe that's just us, you beautiful, beautiful Shiny Shiny readers.

Obviously the fact we take 3,253,475 photos for Facebook/Instagram/Hipstamatic/Path now makes us well aware of our quirky and endearing (see:gross) little traits, but some are suggesting the biggest culprit for making us all feel rubbish about our faces could well be Skype.

According to stats published over on io9, there's been a big, scrap that HUGE rise in the number of people deciding to have chin implants over in the US. The American Association of Plastic Surgeons has said that there was a 71% increase in the surgery (known as a mentoplasty because they shove mentos in there) last year, which is nearly 21,000 chin hating people over in the states alone.

Wait, so what the hell has Skype got to do with this we hear you say. Well, when these fancy plastic surgery experts were asked why there's been such a meteoric rise in the number of surgeries they began to attack the world of tech.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

"The procedures were about evenly divided between men and women, with the largest increase in patients 40 and older.

The group's president, Malcolm Z. Roth, suggests one reason may be the fact that more people see themselves on video-chat technology. "They may notice that their jaw line is not as sharp as they want to be."

Now we can see how this makes sense. We're not psychologists here, but we'd assume that the more you see your imperfections the chances are you'll either learn to accept them more and more (that's the grounded, positive ones amongst us) or instead you'll just loathe your face more and more. However, if it makes anyone feel better we're convinced no one looks good that moment they accidentally turn on their web cam and see their NINE chins staring back at them.

We've got some answers to this problem, because we're concerned this fact-hating, chin-implanting trend will spread like some kind of plague across the globe. Firstly, Skype and other video chat tools could introduce lovely filters to tone down our ugly, isn't that why Instagram is so damn popular?! Secondly, we could all just go tweak our Skype settings so we only see the face of the person we're talking to, not our own ugly mug. Thirdly, we could just all learn to love our quirks and weird traits. OK scrap that we want vintage, blurry filters EVERYWHERE and we want them NOW.

[Via io9 Via WSJ]

(This post originally appeared on ShinyShiny.tv)

Skype

Skype has been updated to version 5.8 for Windows PCs, bringing 1080p Full HD video chat to the table.

So long as you've got a Full HD webcam, an internet connection that can manage consistent 2Mbps upload and download speeds and some pals who don't mind seeing your ugly mug in high resolution, you can chat away at 1080p quality.

The update also adds group screen share, which lets Skype Premium subscribers share their entire desktops or a single app with pals on their friends lists, making Skype an even more powerful collaboration tool.

The last major addition is video calling with Facebook friends, regardless of whether or no they're on Skype. You can now also hide Facebook contacts from within the Skype client and set up mic-muting hot keys. Skype is now also integrated into the Bing toolbar, an inevitability following Microsoft's purchase of the VoIP service.

Skype 5.8 for Windows is available now by clicking here.

Skype app for Windows Phone 7 almost ready

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Skype

Skype for Windows Phone devices has neared completion, according to Microsoft's vice president of products Rick Osterloh.

Revealing that the app" will be coming out soon", the video calling and VOIP application has long been a notable absentee on the Windows Phone Marketplace store.

It's been a long-time coming too, with its launch having been a dead-cert since Microsoft bought Skype back in May 2011, reportedly for a figure around the $8.5 billion mark.

Why it's taken this long is anyone's guess, considering how long the app has been available for iPhone and Android devices, but an educated guess would have it be down to the Windows Phone 7 OS release cycle. Upcoming release Tango, followed by Apollo, is the first to have integrated video calling abilities, with Skype integration being a likely, headline feature.

samsung-intouch.jpgSamsung are looking to turn your regular HDTV into a web connected one with their newly-announced InTouch kit.

Combining a Wi-Fi enabled Skype camera and unique QWERTY keyboard, it adds apps, high-definition video calling and the ability to browse the web to any HDTV.

The camera has a tilt-range of -30 degrees - 0 degrees, making placement relatively pain-free for a clear view in even the most cluttered of home entertainment set-ups. An integrated USB port also lets you browse videos and images, letting you upload them to your favourite social networks.

"While internet connected HDTVs are now common, not every household gets to experience this fun and interactive feature, especially if they have an HDTV purchased just a few years ago," said Mike Palazzolo, vice president sales and marketing, consumer video monitoring and security products for Samsung Techwin America.

"With the inTouch camera system, Samsung is now bridging the gap between this experience and those consumers who own HDTVs without networking capability."

The Samsung inTouch will be available from March 2012 and will cost around $199.99.

For more news from CES 2012, click here.


An automated Skype call has been plaguing users of the video calling service over the last few days, encouraging them to download a dubious anti-virus program in order to protect themselves from non-existant threats.

A computer-generated voice has been contacting users, stating that their systems are vulnerable before directing them to a website that asks for their personal details before charging them for a piece of mostly useless malware protection.

The voice messages in the automated calls say:

"Attention: this is an automated computer system alert. Your computer protection service is not active. To activate computer protection, and repair your computer, go to [LINK]"

"As more and more people become acquainted with the tricks used by internet scammers and cybercriminals, scammers are pressed to find new social engineering tricks in the hope of duping the unwary. Fake anti-virus or 'scareware' is an increasingly common example of this, and takes advantage of those worried enough to visit such dubious sites," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"Personally, I wouldn't want to trust any product which uses Skype spam techniques to advertise itself, and presents itself in such an underhand manner. Skype users need to be vigilant in their privacy settings to combat this, and unsolicited Skype calls can be stopped by amending privacy settings so that only users listed in your contacts can get in touch with you."

Hit the video above to see the attack in action, courtesy of Naked Security. The guy gets pretty annoyed, so be ready for some strong language.

skype-ipad-screen.jpgFirst Skype giveth, then Skype taketh away. Then they... er... giveth backeth. The official Skype app has now gone live on the App Store, just hours after it was pulled by the developers.

"To ensure your best Skype experience, we've temporarily removed Skype for iPad, which went live prematurely today," Skype said following the apps' removal earlier this morning.

"We know you've been eagerly awaiting Skype for iPad and apologise for the inconvenience."

Now good to grab once more, the app allows iPad 2 users to video chat over Wi-Fi and 3G with their tablets.

It's a familar blue and green interface for those who've used Skype in its many previous versions, though the ability to make video calls over a 3G connection gives it a much-needed edge over Apple's native FaceTime chat app.

Click here to grab the free Skype iPad app.

facebook-skype.jpg
Facebook and Skype have announced a new partnership that will see the pair join forces to bring video chat to the world's largest social network, alongside group chat.

Via a downloadable plug-in, users will be able to video call their Facebook contacts directly from the Facebook website within the browser using Skype's technology.

"Working with Skype underlines our approach with how we are building this stuff. We want to leave these types of apps to those who are best in class in creating these things. This is a big difference from other internet companies who try to do millions of things on their own," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a thinly-veiled swipe at rivals Google and their own chat and video calling services in the wake of the launch of the Google+ social network.

"Social networking is at an inflection point right now. The narrative has always been about connecting people," added Zuckerberg.

"The amount of stuff that is shared today is twice what it was a year ago. That kind of exponential growth is profound. The thing that is growing faster than people on Facebook is the amount of sharing on Facebook."

"If you look at how sharing is growing, then you can plot this out in the future. So, if this is what people are sharing now then what apps do we have to create to encompass this in the next few years."

A massive boost for Skype in particular, they now have a direct link to the 700 million+ Facebook users.

It's already been a busy couple of months for the video-calling experts. Microsoft reached an agreement with Skype barely two months ago in which they bought the service in a deal worth reportedly over $5 billion.

Apple-money.jpgJust a quick stat here pointed out by Daring Fireball's John Gruber, following Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of VoIP company Skype.

Roll back a mere seven years and Microsoft could have bought Apple for that much money, and still got $1 billion dollars worth of change from the transaction. The Cupertino company was worth just $7.5 billion, before its valuation sky-rocketed over the coming years.

Sure, you'd have to factor in inflation and the like, as well as the difficulty anyone would have had in predicting the astonishing success of the iphone, let alone iPad. But you cant help but feel Microsoft may have got a bit of a rough deal here.

For a full breakdown of Apple's metoric rise to become a >$300billion dollar company, click here.

skype-thumb.jpgRemember last week when we told you that both Facebook and Google were fishing with big-money lures in an attempt to catch voice and video chat service Skype? Well forget that; it seems Microsoft are now the front runners to buy the VoIP company.

Despite already having a tie-in with Facebook and engaging in joint venture talks with Google, it seems Skype have been tempted by a massive $8.5 billion deal with Microsoft.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, Skype's financial advisory team, seem to be doing a great job; set to be floated publicly this year, Skype was expected to have an estimated value of around $1 billion.

Either Microsoft are feeling particularly flushed with cash, or Skype drive an awfully hard bargain then.

Via: Reuters

UPDATE [10th May 13.24 GMT]

We've just got official confirmation that Microsoft have indeed nabbed Skype. Here's the release, with a press conference to follow shortly:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Skype CEO Tony Bates will hold a press conference on May 10, 2011, to announce that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft Corp. will acquire Skype S.A., a leading Internet communications company, for $8.5 billion from the investor group led by Silver Lake.

The acquisition will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications, bringing benefits to both consumers and enterprise users and generating significant new business and revenue opportunities. The combination will extend Skype's world-class brand and the reach of its networked platform, while enhancing Microsoft's existing portfolio of real-time communications products and services.

More details to follow folks!

skype-thumb.jpgFacebook are said to be attempting either a takeover or partnership with popular VoIP firm Skype, a new report states.

Figures of as much as $4bn have been bandied about by Zuckerberg's empire, should Reuters sources "with direct knowledge of the discussions" be believed. Considering Skype's recent valuation was somewhere around the $1bn mark, that seems an extraordainarily high price tag.

Google too have been linked to a buyout of the video calling service.

Facebook already features integration with Skype 5.0, allowing users to voice chat with their social networking friends directly from the application, perhaps suggesting that they're in a better position to snag a deal here over Google.

Skype, of course, are staying tight lipped on the reports.

Skype installs its first phone booth

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skype phone booth.jpg

Now this is an interesting concept - Skype phone booths. The project is underway - the first booth has been installed at Tallinn Airport in Estonia. Travellers can use the booths to place calls using Skype credit, in the same way it works at a home computer,

A 22-inch touch screen lets you see the person you are talking to, and there's a headset so not everyone else can hear.

So why Estonia, you might ask - well it seems Skype was born there. The company plans to extend the project to cover other airports, as well as hotels, hospitals, shopping centres and so on.

skype-logo.jpg

Skype announced this week the launch of a bespoke, low-bandwidth version of their VOIP software, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UNHCR-version of Skype, will be deployment across 120 hardship locations served by UNHCR staff members, and provide Humanitarian workers in the most remote parts of the world a new low-cost way to communicate with colleagues, friends, and families.

Aid workers are typically separated from their families for months at a time, sometimes with very little notice, and have limited opportunities for communication. Skype will provide both free and low-cost voice and video calls over the Internet even when accessed through low connectivity networks. For those stationed abroad, this announcement couldn't come at a better time. As we enter the holiday season, this new version of Skype will provide these humanitarians with a way to keep in touch with their loved ones.

The new software has been tested successfully in Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan and is now being rolled out in Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Chad, Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda.

Skype and UNHCR are subsequently hope that this is the first stages in the development of a communications solution that can be used to benefit refugees more directly. For example allow refugees to reach family and friends across borders, as well as facilitate protection operations, including repatriation, resettlement and family reunification.

Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees commented on the new partnership stating:

For us, helping the world's displaced is not just about delivering the basics of food and shelter but ensuring they are able to access all the benefits of modernity, including the ability to communicate regularly with friends and family. Our partnership with a technological innovator like Skype significantly advances our aspirations in this regard

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