Skype has confirmed that a glitch in its software has led to instant messages being shared with unintended parties.

The company, which was taken over by Microsoft for £5.4 billion last year, said it will deliver an update to fix the problem in "the next few days".

According to user reports, the unintended recipients have been connected to just one of the two users who exchanging messages. The problem could have harmful consequences. For example, two co-workers using Skype to exchange IMs (instant messages) could, as a result of the problem, share the message with another contact in one user's address book - potentially a third co-worker being unfavourably described in their IM exchange.

According to Skype, the problem only arises in "rare circumstances".

The issue first came to light last week in Skype's user forums. It seems to stem from the update issued by the voice, video and text messaging service in June.

"This is very disturbing and a serious breach of privacy, please address the issue immediately," one user wrote in the support forum.