Saturday, November 24, 2007

Can people listen to your Skype call: Skype Encryption

Our organization, at least on a field level, really depends a great deal on Skype for cheap communication.  But occasionally people ask,  "how secure are our conversations."  Of course, none of us are chatting about nuclear launch codes, but we do transmit information that's not for public consumption.

I long ago read that Skype data is encrypted, but I never really knew how well.  Now German Federal Police are complaining that it's too good:

“The encryption with Skype telephone software … creates grave difficulties for us,” said Joerg Ziercke, president of Germany’s Federal Police Office (BKA)

Sorry about the grave difficulties, but I'd prefer that no one listen over my shoulder.  Can people listen in on your Skype call?  Nope. 

via Mashable

9 comments:

bernie said...

Jeff,

Okay - the stereotypes of German Secret Police are running through my head (think Hogan's Heroes?). "Zis Shckype vil now give us grave difficulties..."

Sorry ... it struck me as something Col. Klink would say ...

Thanks for good information though! I am glad to know my skype is secure and proving gravely difficult for the Germans.

Jeff said...

Ha! Good point :)

Anonymous said...

Actually, if a local government requests to listen in on Skype calls, Skype will let them, provided they produced a valid court order. If you are in a country that is not friendly to M work, then be careful what you are saying over Skype.

Jeff said...

Anony, that's probably wise council. At the same time, if a modern, advanced state like Germany has difficulty...regardless of the reason, I'm not overly worried.

I think you're right...at the end of the day all international companies are going to cooperate with valid requests from a state.

castroneves said...

Hi there... I'm new here, but I just wanted to inform you guys that Brazilian police was able to listen in to Skype calls during a police operation that ended last week. They only divulged this information today, but they said that even though it was tougher than normal, it was done.

One final note: a court order was necessary

Jeff said...

castroneves, thanks for weighing in with the update. I think that, in principle, this is a good thing to keep up with. Many of us work in countries who don't necessarily have a high view of civil liberties (unlike the ones mentioned thus far) and folks should be aware of the risks.

Anonymous said...

The government can do what ever they please...I doubt that listening in to a skype conversation would be that difficult for them. They have so many resources that the common folk doesnt even know about

Anonymous said...

Yes it it possible for someone to bug your skype calls. My soon to be ex boyfriend quoted word for word a conversation I had with someone on Skype when he was at work. The only way he could have known about the conversation was to have bugged Skype. I still don't know how he did it but I am 100% certain that he DID do it. Now I can't use Skype to keep in touch with my friends and family

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