Can Skype Video Be Intercepted?

by Kevin Lee
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

While cybercriminals can intercept data as it flows between computers on the Web, Skype makes it difficult for them to make sense of it. That’s because the company uses encryption to decode information. If you use Skype to video chat with others, the company assures customers that your text, voice and video communications are safe.

Encode It And Decode It: Encryption Basics

While secret agents in spy movies encrypt information to hide it, Skype uses the Advanced Encryption Standard to encode data that it transmits over the Internet. AES protects secure websites over the world, including United States government sites. AES security works by using special keys that can have varying lengths, such as 128-bits, 192-bits and 256-bits. Skype uses 256-bit keys that provide the greatest level of protection.

Authenticate Yourself

In a digital world where cybercriminals impersonate others to view confidential information, Skype uses a process called authentication to ensure that your video chat partner is authentic and not an imposter. It does this by issuing each Skype member a digital certificate that establishes the identity of each person who uses the service. Skype asks people to keep their passwords and usernames secure because authentication relies on that information to make the verification process work.

Security Beyond Video Encryption

In addition to securing video transmissions, the Skype website is secure, according to McAfee, a security company. McAfee certifies that is safe and notes that it found no security issues with the site. Skype uses Secure Sockets Layer technology to encrypt regular data transmissions between your browser and the website. You can identify sites that use SSL by looking for "https" at the beginning of the URL in your browser's address bar. Skype also uses additional methods to prevent intruders from changing data as it flows across the Web.

Skype Security Tips

Because passwords are so important, create a strong one that's difficult for people to guess. You can do that by thinking of a password that consists of a combination of special characters, uppercase letters and numbers. Skype warns members to use caution when viewing emails that appear to be from Skype. They could come from hackers seeking to trick you into installing malicious software. If you see one that asks you to install a security update, beware. Skype never asks people to install a security update by sending them an email request.


Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

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