More on Skype Pornography - Genius?

More on Skype Pornography - Genius?

Summary: The Skype Cheerleading Squad (also known as the Skype Journal) has a lead article today on the "Evil Genius" behind the "Sexy SPIM for Skype" (SPIM = Spam over Instant Messaging), replete with numerous pictures of exactly the type that you wouldn't want popping up on the screen in front of your children, your boss, you colleagues at a business presentation - in fact, I find them personally offensive, and don't even want them popping up in front of me alone!

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TOPICS: Linux
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The Skype Cheerleading Squad (also known as the Skype Journal) has a lead article today on the "Evil Genius" behind the "Sexy SPIM for Skype" (SPIM = Spam over Instant Messaging), replete with numerous pictures of exactly the type that you wouldn't want popping up on the screen in front of your children, your boss, you colleagues at a business presentation - in fact, I find them personally offensive, and don't even want them popping up in front of me alone! The article gives a fairly complete step-by-step guide on how to create such a spamming system, and seems to want to convey the impression that doing so requires some kind of "genius", I can only assume in hopes of covering up for Skype's refusal to do anything about it. As a programmer with 30+ years experience, and having watched spam grow in all forms on the arpanet, usenet and internet, I can tell you it doesn't take much "genius" at all, all it takes is a decent knowledge of scripting, a lot of determination, and a great deal of attention to detail.

However, more interesting in the article is the statement from Skype's "Chief Security Officer" as to what Skype users can do to protect themselves against it. He is totally misleading when he says:

"In addition, each Skype user has a range of privacy settings at their disposal that can prevent the receipt of any kind of unsolicited contact, whether by video, voice or chat."

What he conveniently fails to mention is that there is NO WAY for a Skype user to prevent the pop-up connection request messages from appearing, complete with whatever offensive picture the spammer chooses to include. Until Skype does something about this, you, your family, and your next business presentation are all wide open to any and all pop-up messages.

The hope for the future doesn't look good, either. Besides not mentioning the contact request problem, the Skype "Chief Security Officer" goes on to describe what Skype is trying to do about spamming, and describes efforts to identify offensive activities of individual accounts, when it is clear from the nature of the problem, the symptoms that Skype users have seen, and the description given by the Skype Cheerleading Squad that one fundamental requirement of the spam process is continuously generating new accounts to send from. Oh good, let's put a lot of effort into closing the barn door after the cows have already gotten out!

jw 5/4/2008

P.S. It is particularly ironic that the only complete Skype window they show in the article with pornographic content is a contact request window - exactly the case I have been writing about, and which neither the Skype Cheerleaders nor the Skype "Chief Security Officer" mention.

jw

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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