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Skype Compromised: NSA Documents Show Spying Agency Has Access to All Skype Messages

Skype Compromised: NSA Documents Show Spying Agency Has Access to All Skype Messages

by Clay Michael GillespieJanuary 1, 2015

According to new documents leaked by Der Spiegel, the National Security Agency (NSA) has access to Skype voice, text messaging, file sharing and video calls. Primarily used for targeted individuals, the NSA gained access over Microsoft’s Skype service through the NSA’s PRISM program.

By identifying users by their Skype user names, the NSA can keep a sustained Skype collection updated in real time since 2012. Just one year prior, Microsoft said the following in an announcement. In 2011, Microsoft claimed to protect users from government agencies:

“We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.”

However, it seems as though Microsoft’s statement was not the case as the NSA was able to capture calls between Skype and landline or cell phone users. This access was granted through warranted taps into Microsoft’s gateways, until July 2011 when the NSA was able to also capturing person-to-person Skype messages.

The NSA gained the ability to grab and monitor these communications by decrypting it using keys provided by Microsoft through the PRISM requests.

Also read: Russians Rallying Against Putin Using FireChat Messaging App

How Users Can Avoid Skype Conversation Interception

nsa skypeThe bottom line in avoiding the NSA peering into Skype for the future, because they clearly have all the information from the past in a database, is by not utilizing Skype and finding an alternative.

In 2015, Kim Dotcom plans to unveil an encrypted in-browser video call and messaging service due to distrust of Skype. Along with his service, Tor has been hard to crack by the NSA, and chats like Off The Record (OTR) are indecipherable.

When emailing, encrypting messages with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) pose a big blockade in the way of NSA spying. Skype may be an essential part of your day-to-day life, but if you’re someone who values privacy you can’t ignore the issues. Skype has been compromised for years, and it’s time to switch to a technology that then NSA can’t crack.

Images from Shutterstock.

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  • sjs

    So where’s the NEWS component in this article?

  • zash

    Nothing new, use OTR.. That aint bulletproof either

  • ł

    Trolls , it’s a reminder . It may inspire people at the right time to change their habit and use something else . Change happens , and sometimes a good word accelerates such for the better .

  • PacketWraith

    Not surprising when you look at how Skype is designed. Most people don’t care about Skype’s security though, they only use it because it is free or cheap. If you want security you need to use something that has end to end encryption like ZRTP or GPG. We use RokaCom since it uses both and they published the changes to the crypto code they did to make zrtp and gpg use higher grade crypto.

    What skype really gave people was an easy one stop shop for voice and video. I don’t really know anyone that thought skype was actually “secure” and private.

  • Sherif Botros

    Replace it with the VIORcoin wallet, it has built in high quality video and VOIP calls and untraceable transactions and can call to phones internationally without sharing phone numbers through the VIOR gateway, by only providing callers with just the VIORcoin address.

    • Orchideric

      Wow how interesting!
      But the NSA can listen to my Skype all they want… They’ll just get bored to death.