If you're a Skype user, you might just be sending private instant messages to the wrong contacts. Skype recently acknowledged a bug in its system that sends private IMs to the wrong recipients, and is working on a fix.

Skype is often regarded as a secure and private platform for VoIP communication, video and instant messaging, catering to both enterprise and consumer markets. The Microsoft-owned company has been receiving complaints about messages being misdirected to other members of a user's contact list. The bug affects several Skype versions across different platforms, including version 5.10 for Windows, 5.8 for OS X, 4.0 for Linux and 1.2 for Windows Phone 7.

"Rare" Bug

Skype has confirmed that it was "aware of a bug that in very rare cases sends IMs to unintended recipients." However, the company tweeted that "most users are unaffected."

On the official Skype blog, the company has announced that engineers are working on a hotfix that addresses the issue, and explains how the bug can be replicated.

Learning Opportunities

"The hotfix addresses an issue that occurs only when a user’s Skype client crashes during a Skype IM session, which may in some cases result in the last IM entered or sent prior to the crash being delivered to a different IM contact after the Skype client is rebooted or logged in as a new user," writes Raul Liive, who added that not all versions and platforms are affected.

Think Before You Click

The hotfix will be rolled out within the next few days, and Skype recommends downloading the latest versions once they are available. In the meantime, if you plan to send out private or confidential information through affected client versions, make sure you don't replicate the situation that produces the "rare" bug.