Friday, October 28, 2005

Skype problems to affect enterprises

The growing popularity of Skype Technologies SA's free Internet telephony software could soon pose the same kind of security challenges for companies that other peer-to-peer (P2P) software technologies have created in recent years, according to security experts. Skype is VoIP on steroids," capable of punching holes through many of the network defenses that companies typically deploy.

Like other P2P technologies Skype allows users to establish direct connections with each other. It's also "port agile," meaning that if a firewall port is blocked Skype will look around for other open ports that it can use to establish a connection. If you put Skype behind a firewall or Network Address Translation layer, 99 times out of 100 it will work.

The warning comes after the disclosure this week of two critical flaws in Skype's software, one of which could allow malicious hackers to take complete control of compromised systems. Skype, which was recently acquired by eBay Inc. for $2.6 billion, offers downloadable software that allows PC users to make free Internet telephone calls to each other and low-cost calls to telephone users. So far, Skype has garnered more than 61 million registered users, approximately 30% of whom use it for business purposes, according to the company. Almost all of that adoption has been in Europe and Asia, though analysts expect Skype to eventually gain wide accepted in the U.S. as well.

In the meantime, business users should refrain from using "voice services based on proprietary protocols like Skype while on corporate networks because of network security issues," Gartner said in a Sept. 15 advisory.

CATEGORIES: 1VOIP, 1P2P, 1flaws, 1advisory,1disruption, 1vulnerability,1threat
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