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I have heard and read many rumors about Skype but very few tangible informations. Skype is said to be engaged in censorship in China according to the official Ubuntu Wiki, and to have very serious security threats according to French Defense classified information files. Therefore, although it is widely used in companies, Skype is forbidden in universities.

What is the part of trueness of those statements? In the end, am I exposed to security threats if use Skype?

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closed as off topic by dv3500ea, 8128, Marco Ceppi Nov 16 '10 at 18:00

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The French are displeased that Skype has been purchased by eBay, and that it enables people to easily make difficult-to-trace phone calls. I don't think they are proposing filtering out Skype traffic because they are concerned for the security of students; rather, they want to avoid the legal complications that could arise from widespread use of VoIP software on their national campuses and are simply targeting the largest VoIP provider. Note, I don't think Skype is inherently secure or safe to use. And clearly Skype is not banned in all universities around the world... –  ayan4m1 Nov 16 '10 at 16:10
    
National Security is a big concern. It has been established by intelligence officials that many terrorists communicate using VoIP during terror strikes ( A classic case being the mumbai terror attacks in india). Some form of checks are required and i support that. –  tinhed Nov 16 '10 at 17:11

3 Answers 3

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Skype obfuscates its code from any disassembly attempts. The protocol is not documented either. The code encrypts everything and frustates third parties and users from knowing exactly what it is doing.

People don't like it because they have no way to verify its operation. Skype can and has been told to spy on its users by their governments.

Ekiga is very open. It doesn't work as well but that's mostly because of less resources being devoted to it. AFAIK you can still use encryption w/ Ekiga.

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Any form of VoIP application be it skype or ekiga or twinklephone has security implications and is vulnerable to privacy breach. Since the likes of ekiga use SIP and is opensource, the threats are well documented experts can easily come up with ways to plug the holes. Skype uses proprietary protocols, so its pretty much up to them to discover vulnerabilties and inform their users. Ive personally used skype and like it, and there is no reason why you wouldn't but if there is an option its better to use open protocol based software.

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This is one of the example of the dark side of Skype: German government malware.

Any closed source proprietary software can hide inside one or more backdoors.

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