Has Skype’s VOIP encryption been broken?

NSA HQ

NSA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
I have explained before that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies have found it impossible to intercept Skype’s instant messaging and voice traffic. Like other voice-over-Internet protocol (VOIP) communications providers, Skype uses technology that converts audio signals to data, and transports them through most of the Internet infrastructure in binary, rather than audio, format. Furthermore, Skype uses very complex algorithms to encrypt its customers’ communications. Skype has repeatedly pointed to the technical complexities of VOIP communications, arguing that it is often technically impossible to facilitate communications interception requests by government authorities. There are rumors among communications interception specialists that the NSA is offering billions to anyone who can come up with a reliable eavesdropping model for Skype. Remarkably, on August 25, a Swiss software developer released what he claims is the source code of a program for tapping into encrypted Skype communications. I don’t know whether the source code (essentially a trojan) is effective. He claims it is. If this is confirmed, then several people in Fort George F. Meade, Maryland, will be really close paying attention.

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Comment: EU wants to intercept encrypted VOIP communications

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
Italian authorities are taking the initiative in a European Union (EU)-wide effort to terminate the tacit immunity of voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) communications from authorized interception. Italy’s delegation to Eurojust, an EU coordination body tasked with combating transnational organized crime, issued a statement last weekend, promising to spearhead a project to “overcome the technical and judicial obstacles to the interception of internet telephony systems”. The statement contains several references to Skype, a Luxembourg-based VOIP provider that has so far reportedly refused to share its communications encryption system with government authorities. Because of this, the latter have accused Skype of providing organized crime syndicates with the ability to communicate without fear of their messages being intercepted.

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