September 18, 2005

Skyping along the bitstream

Posted in Commentary at 8:43 am by Michael Sweeney Media

Skype is all the rage right now. I have both Windows and OSX clients installed for testing. I’ve been reading up on the security aspects of Skype and it’s unsettling for a network admin or a security admin. While Skype’s protocol is not public unlike SIP, there are some papers available where people have reversed engineered the protocol to a point. I say to a point because part of Skype is encrypted using what is thought to be RSA. Another problem is that with sufficent bandwidth and processor power, you can become a “supernode” where you become a router for Skype traffic. This does not address the problems of uncontrolled use of IM messaging and file trading from behind your comporate firewalls to person/persons unknown. And you can not see what it is as it’s encrypted. None of this gives me warm fuzzies on the network nor should it give you warm fuzzies. At least with real VoIP systems like Call Manager from Cisco there is logging and controls in place to manage what actually happens on your network. This doesnt begin to address the legal concerns of having phone calls (which these are but with some debate) originate within your company by someone assumed to be an employee. It’s easily imagined that personal information or company private information could be “leaked’ and the company held accountable without any defense since there are not any logs to prove otherwise.

On to more fun topics, I found a couple of cool utilities fromStick Software. I really like their screen capture utility called “Constrictor”

and their fractal screen saver called “Fracture”.

And the price is right for these high quality shareware packages.

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