Fight Skype With Traffic Blockers – For Now
Jan. 22, 2007 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
Despite all of the concerns about Skype opening the door to hackers, Eric Taylor, manager of Allied Home Mortgage’s Warrenton, Va., branch, is determined to keep using Skype. “There are easier ways to steal people’s Social Security numbers than through my system,” he reasons.
But the Toronto Catholic District School Board isn’t buying it.
A group of staffers at the Canadian enterprise lobbied for Skype because there are no phones in classrooms, Imelda Kearney, manager of technical services for the board, relays to Voice Report. The district decided not to use Skype after the security network analyst voiced concerns, she says.
If you’re looking to keep Skype out of your enterprise, you have other options beyond blocking access to Skype.com. VoIP security expert Dan York points to Leipzig, Germany-based Ipoque, which makes traffic managers to filter out P2P traffic, and SkypeKiller (www.skypekiller.com), a freeware download that remotely uninstalls Skype from computers on your network. Traffic managers can block Skype traffic running off USB drives, too, because they scan traffic at the firewall level, York suggests.
But you may not be able to rely on these programs for long. York says Skype traffic is tough to detect because it masquerades as Web traffic and gets around firewalls “beautifully.” Plus, each new version of Skype is tweaked to avoid the detection programs in an ongoing “arms race,” he says. Michael Jackson, Skype’s VP of paid services, denies a purposeful effort to work around blocking software, however. “It’s more of an aftereffect of improving the product to find available connections,” he says. (