Can Skype Conversations Be Intercepted By The Intelligence Services?

Can Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) listen in on Skype calls? As yet unconfirmed reports in the Russian media seem to suggest so.

Skype-eavesdropping

All voice and video calls made with Skype are done so in a peer-to-peer fashion without a central server and encrypted with 256-bit AES so the assumption was always that eavesdropping would be nigh on impossible. That no longer seems to be the case –

Russian news website Vedomosti have claimed that the FSB have had the ability to intercept Skype calls for the last couple of years and have done just that, often without a court warrant.

“After Microsoft in May 2011 acquired Skype, it has provided the technology of Skype legitimate listening, tells executive director Peak Systems Maxim Emm . Now, any station can be switched to special treatment In which the encryption keys that were previously generated on the phone or computer, the subscriber will be generated on the server.”
vedomosti.ru

The report goes on to claim that Microsoft gave the ability to tap into Skype calls to other security services around the world for the purposes of legitimate surveillance. If this is true then I sense many business owners, as well as private individuals, looking for alternative means of communication, irrespective of whether they have ‘something to hide’ or not.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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