Skype is rolling out a fix for a bug that sent out instant messages to random contacts in users' address books.

The glitch raised alarm bells among Skype users on Monday, who complained about segments of conversations from instant messages being sent out to different contacts stored in their accounts.

Skype clients using Skype 5.10 for Windows, Skype 5.8 for Mac, Skype 4.0 for Linux and Skype 1.2 for Windows Phone have all been affected.

In a blog post, Skype recommends that users download the following update to fix the bug: 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.

Skype could not specify the exact number of people affected by the error, but believes the number is small given the specific circumstances under which the errors occured.

Skype users have flocked to the community support pages to vent their frustrations, despite the company's efforts to quickly fix the issue:

I always find these types of statements from companies when there is a problem which refers to 'rare instances' or small numbers of customers infuriating - as if it made it ok. If a customer is affected they are 100% affected that is the plain and simple truth. I would like to know from Skype why all customers were not warned about this problem once it became known. The effects of this bug are potentially catastrophic for users - if Skype (Microsoft) cannot appreciate that then here is something seriously dysfunctional with management. So can we have a clear explanation as to why Skype have not warned all customers about this problem? writes member dub45.

I am so, SO tired of this kind of thing from Skype. They don't take security and performance consistency seriously. The first company to come along who does will surely eat their lunch in a flash... wrote Brizone.

Does anyone know an alternative to Skype which takes users privacy a bit more seriously? user David Matthews asked.