Skype investigates tool that reveals users' IP addresses

Skype said the issue is present in other peer-to-peer systems

Skype said Tuesday it is investigating a new tool that collects a person's last known IP address, a potential privacy-compromising issue.

Instructions posted on Pastebin on Thursday showed how a person's IP address could be shown without adding the targeted user as a contact by looking at the person's general information and log files.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, said in an e-mail statement that "this is an ongoing, industry-wide issue faced by all peer-to-peer software companies. We are committed to the safety and security of our customers and we are taking measures to help protect them."

In October, Skype acknowledged a research paper that showed how a Skype user's IP address can be determined without that user knowing. It also demonstrated that more than half the time the IP address could be accurately linked to sharing content using the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol.

An IP address is an important piece of information that can be used to track the approximate location of a user and their service provider. But the information is not necessarily accurate, as a person could be using a VPN, whose data center may be located in a different country than the actual user.

Another way to broadcast inaccurate IP addresses is browsing the internet using The Onion Router (TOR), an anonymizing service that routes a person's internet traffic through a network of worldwide servers in a fashion that is difficult to trace. An IP address also just identifies a computer and not the person sitting behind a keyboard.

Skype uses a peer-to-peer system to route its data traffic, which is also encrypted. But its encryption system is proprietary and not been open for scrutiny, which has prompted caution from security experts.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?