Skype taken to task by angry users over claimed crapware payload (update: disabled for now)

EasyBits GO

The Skype forums are a hive of panic and abuzz with accusations that either the company is bundling crapware with its VoIP app or has a serious security problem. Users are reporting that a strange, new, and difficult to uninstall program is finding its way on to their PCs called EasyBits GO. EasyBits is the company that has powered Skype's games channel since 2006, but at least until now its wares have not been standalone software. One moderator has declared EasyBits Go is not part of Skype and suggested customers immediately run a malware scan, but mods are volunteers and not official representatives of the company, so we're taking it with a grain of salt. Another (later) post from a forum admin simply states that Skype is looking into the issue and will release an official statement, though we have no idea when that might actually happen and we're awaiting reply to our own request for comment.

It appears that a rep from EasyBits Media has taken to the forums to quell some of the outrage, but to no avail. Posts from the team are painfully vague, saying that it was part of an update to the gaming platform and apologizing for the misunderstanding, before linking directly to an .exe that it claims will remove the offending software. To say that forum users are wary of the executable would be an understatement (most responses have involved torrents of profanity). Reports are that the suspicious app is installing itself without any approval from users, but we can't confirm this since any attempts to install in our lab of doom resulted only in errors while downloading. For now, we'll just have to wait for word from Skype, and the company better move quick -- the pain of the recent outage is still fresh in many customers' minds.

Update: Skype has officially confirmed that EasyBits GO was erroneously added to its installer, and says that the buggy update has been disabled for now. Strangely, the official blog suggests that disabling the software is a temporary measure, and that it might reappear soon, as Skype will "work with them to correct the problems and user experience" that led to user qualms.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]