Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Skype Back Door? Do They Really Need One??

After Heise raised questions regarding Skype opening back doors to security and governmental institutes for the purpose of detection of conversations for security purposes. In other words evesdropping on Skype conversations.
This is from Heise;
According to reports, there may be a back door built into Skype, which allows connections to be bugged. The company has declined to expressly deny the allegations. At a meeting with representatives of ISPs and the Austrian regulator on lawful interception of IP based services held on 25th June, high-ranking officials at the Austrian interior ministry revealed that it is not a problem for them to listen in on Skype conversations.

This has been confirmed to heise online by a number of the parties present at the meeting. Skype declined to give a detailed response to specific enquiries from heise online as to whether Skype contains a back door and whether specific clients allowing access to a system or a specific key for decrypting data streams exist. The response from the eBay subsidiary’s press spokesman was brief, “Skype does not comment on media speculation. Skype has no further comment at this time.” There have been rumours of the existence of a special listening device which Skype is reported to offer for sale to interested states.
I think all the communications providers are required to have access points and methods to be provided to authorities if so required.
Imagine if Skype is totally secure and encrypted, introduce a anolog portion in the middle some where and the conversation becomes clear text version of VoIP. Even using Skype gateways or skype to SIP transporters could also do the trick. The authorities need to only ask for user information from Skype and ask them to route the calls through any of the above mentioned devices.
The conversation is hot on the slashdot and have even pulled out disecting Skype / reverse engineering Skype article that we wrote a few yeasrs ago.


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