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Skype investigates a potential security threat

Privacy issue raised by a tool that shows a user's IP address
Tue May 01 2012, 11:53

VOICE OVER IP (VoIP) and chat service Skype is investigating a potential security threat that can reveal a person's last known Internet Protocol (IP) address.

The privacy issue is raised by a tool that shows a user's IP address via general information and log files without the need to add the targeted user as a contact.

Adrian Asher, director of product security at Skype told The INQUIRER, "This is an on-going, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are takings measures to help protect them."

Skype uses a peer-to-peer system to route its data traffic, but security experts have recently warned that its encryption system is proprietary, so it has not been open for proper scrutiny.

Rik Ferguson, Skype director of security research and communication for EMEA commented in response to the news, "Even if a system is offering you a means to 'mask' your IP address, it would be a wiser assumption that the IP address of your computer and the kinds of activity it is engaged in is visible on at least some basic level and that other apps on your system may well leak further data."

Users of the communications software that are worried about the possible security threat can use a virtual private network (VPN) so that data appears to come from a different country than the actual user. There's also the option for users to broadcast inaccurate IP addresses by browsing the internet using The Onion Router (TOR), an anonymising service that makes it difficult to trace a person's internet traffic.

Skype announced last week that its service is now available on the Playstation Vita, and trumps the newly updated Windows Phone app with its ability to work in the background. µ

 

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