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Thread: Skype not safe?

  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Skype not safe?

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by Bowlie on 12-Dec-05 12:31. corrected a typo)</P>This morning when I logged in I had an e-Mail from our helpful Help Desk about 'unauthorised' programs should not be installed on our PCs. They send similar messages a few times a year, but this time they added this comment:
    <hr>We understand that tools such as Skype, Google Desktop Bar, Yahoo Bar and Chat tools (MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger etc) might be understood and used by yourselves and colleagues as working tools. We put efforts and time in trying to provide you with adequate working tools but we cannot do this at the expenses of security and stability in our IT environment. Using a tool such as Skype, makes your PC available as a platform for peer to peer bridging to all World Wide Web users.<hr>
    I have no idea what they are getting at. Is the use of Skype dangerous? I can't recall seeing that suggestion anywhere else, but maybe I haven't been paying attention. (I don't use Skype on my office PC, but I have it at home).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Skype not safe?

    By its nature, Skype opens your PC for communication with others, which is something most corporate network admins don't like.
    And although Skype itself does not seem to be spyware, it's from the same stable as the infamous spyware-riddled and hard-to-remove Kazaa, so many people distrust it.

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    Re: Skype not safe?

    At the place where I work they will not allow ANY VOIP as it takes up too much of the available bandwidth, which is spotty at best!
    Ed
    "Somebody left the cork out of my lunch." - W. C. Fields

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Skype not safe?

    I am not an expert on this, but I have been told by people who are that - if you run Skype on a corporate network and connect to a user outside the network, then your PC may be used as a gateway to route Skype packets between the internal and external network for other users.

    StuartR

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Skype not safe?

    I don't use Skype. However, if it works in a manner similar to IM, then it constantly notifies others that you are available to take a call and lets others connect in to you. In that sense, your computer is open to some connections from the outside. Whether those connections could be exploited in any manner is a question that has a two-part answer: what was the software designed and configured to allow, and what exploitable vulnerabilities does the software possess that might create greater explosure. For example, if Skype were discovered to have a buffer overflow vulnerability, and it were not patched instantly, then someone purporting to contact Skype to speak with you might send a specially crafted packet that exploited the vulnerability and took over your computer. Since these kinds of code flaws are discovered in various applications all the time, it should not a surprise to find one in Skype sooner or later. From the perspective of the IT department, every additional application that accepts connections from the Internet is an accident waiting to happen. Unless there is a compelling business case for its use, then as a matter of risk management, it should not be allowed.

    In fact, if I had a peer-to-peer program on my personal laptop, I should be prohibited from connecting that to a network jack inside the company firewall.

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