If you have a Skype account you don’t use anymore, it’s probably a good idea to get rid of it. Unused accounts are hidden vulnerabilities – you might never know if your account becomes hacked, and what personal information would be put at risk in the event that the platform becomes compromised.
Many people move to delete their Skype accounts because Skype is simply no longer relevant as a service. Almost every major app has chat, video chat, and voice chat features. Why use Skype when the features you already need are integrated into something more convenient to use?
No matter the reason you decide to delete Skype, you may be surprised at some of the obstacles you encounter in this needlessly difficult process.
Is Skype Safe?
Skype has been hacked in the past. In 2016, many users reported that their own accounts or their friends’ accounts were being used to send spammy LinkedIn or Baidu links. Microsoft, owner of Skype, claims that this was the result of a list of usernames and passwords that were leaked and illegally sold to malicious entities with spambots.
Many users reported that their accounts were still compromised, despite enabling two factor authentications. Some users reported that old username and password combinations that had been changed since long before the hack still worked.
Microsoft claims to have fixed the problem, but many old Skype accounts are still compromised. This makes deleting Skype permanently important, especially for people who haven’t used their Skype accounts for quite some time.
Why Should I Delete My Skype Account?
For many people, Skype is a redundant app. It’s not just the redundancy, but the app’s permissions that make it a cause for concern. Skype requires access to the camera and microphone of any device it’s installed on – whether that be your laptop or your smartphone. These permissions make sense for the app, as its sole purpose is essentially video chatting.
The only problem is that apps that allow these permissions can make for a terrifying security threat if compromised. Theoretically, you can be watched or monitored if someone or something (including a nosy government) were to compromise that app. If you don’t use it, don’t take the risk.
What Accounts Are Linked to Skype?
Here’s where things get tricky. Microsoft owns Skype, and they use a one-identity system. Your Skype login is also your Windows login. If you use a Windows computer or an Xbox, your Skype credentials are exactly the same. The two are inseparably linked. If you want to delete your Skype account, you’re also deleting your Windows account. You can’t do anything on a Microsoft powered platform or device without that account.
Playstation gamers who use a Macbook can quickly and easily delete their entire Microsoft account – they’ll never miss it. For those of us who need a Microsoft account to make our devices work, a Skype account cannot simply be deleted. Instead, Skype can be scrubbed of personal information and its app can be uninstalled. This method isn’t perfect, but it’s the best (and only) option for the majority of users.
Permanently Deleting Skype (and Your Entire Windows Account)
If you want to delete Skype (as well as your whole Windows account), you can do so from within Skype on your desktop. At this time, accounts cannot be deleted via mobile devices. In the upper left hand corner of Skype, click on your profile and choose “Settings”. Navigate to “account and profile” and look to the bottom. Select “Close your account.”
You’ll be presented with a list of terms and conditions that are worth reading. These will explain what will be impacted and how it will be impacted by the closure of your Skype account. It will also inform you that you will still be able to recover your account 60 days after you complete the action.
Microsoft will reaffirm your decision by presenting you with a checklist of what will change after your account is completely deleted. If you’re okay with the consequences, proceed. If you aren’t, stop the process.
Deleting Information From Skype
If you’ve decided not to delete your entire Microsoft account, you can clean out Skype. Even though your account will remain, you can still sanitize it by deleting every single message thread within Skype. Remove your profile picture and delete any personal biographical information from the app. Just click or tap on a conversation and select “Delete Conversation” from the menu.
Don’t forget to unsubscribe from any paid Skype services you use, or remove your payment information if you’ve ever made purchases through Skype. Failing to do so can leave you vulnerable, essentially giving a hacker access to your credit card or bank account.
Deleting Skype From Your Desktop
Skypes desktop or smartphone app can be removed using the normal process of uninstalling an app. On recent versions of Windows, it can be removed simply by right clicking the app and selecting uninstall. It can also be removed from the Add or Remove programs feature via the Control Panel.
Keeping Messages Secure
If you’re looking for a secure way to communicate with your friends online, Skype is certainly not the best method. Using a VPN like TorGuard VPN and a private, encrypted messaging service like Private-Mail will keep your activity and the information you exchange out of the hands of hackers. No prying eyes will be able to see what you’re doing or who you’re talking to when you utilize TorGuard VPN. PrivateMail offers end-to-end encrypted email with paranoid encrypted cloud storage, allowing you to safely send documents without fear of compromise.