Feeds

Skype denies system upgrade enables in-call spying

No snooping going on, company insists

Website security in corporate America

Skype has issued a formal denial to reports that it has been allowing law enforcement to listen in on users' calls following a change in its system architecture.

"Some media stories recently have suggested Skype may be acting improperly or based on ulterior motives against our users' interests. Nothing could be more contrary to the Skype philosophy," said Mark Gillett, Skype's chief development and operations officer in a blog post.

The allegations came after Skype reconfigured its system architecture so that some of the supernodes on its peer to peer network were moved inside Microsoft's data centers. This shift, coupled with a patent for "legal intercept" systems Microsoft was granted shortly after taking over the company, caused concern among some that Skype was selling out its users to the Feds.

Gillett categorically denied this was the case, saying that shifting the supernodes was begun before Microsoft bought out Skype, and that it is being done purely to improve service and make it more reliable and easier to upgrade in the future.

While Skype has had a policy of working with law enforcement on monitoring in exceptional circumstances he said, the rules of engagement for such a tactic are clearly stated on its website and Skype hasn’t changed its position. Calls are fully encrypted and information on users is not being kept.

"The enhancements we have been making to our software and infrastructure have been to improve user experience and reliability. Period," he said.

In El Reg's opinion, Skype appears to be talking sense on this. Shifting part of the VoIP provider's backbone into Microsoft data centers makes a lot of sense for Redmond, as it is looking to integrate Skype more deeply into its cloud offerings as it tries to make money on its $8.5bn purchase. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.