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BetaDot » FaceTime anti-Skype
FaceTime Claims to Have Cracked Skype

FaceTime, a security specialist, has joined the ranks of companies that claim to have cracked one of the industry’s toughest feats: the ability to detect and filter out Skype 2.0 traffic. Hallelujah.


The newest version of IMAUditor, number 7.0, adds the anti-Skype feature to its already incredibly comprehensive IM-detection arsenal, and can also now log and archive WebEX sessions as well.

Blocking, controlling, and monitoring VoIP applications is becoming increaseingly important for companies. Although only a miniscule number of products currently achieve this through packet analysis, companies are still trying to crack applications such as Skype, which is considered the toughest P2P application out there.

The system comes in two pieces. The IMAuditor is a proxying appliance which controls the way an application is run, as well as monitors the processes of what the company coins “greynet” software, which could be any number of programs such as IM, VoIP, P2P, and conferencing applications.

The second piece, RTGuardian (RTG) Linux application carries out the application detection and control function and, in the case of the new filtering feature, is the part that stops unauthorized Skype sessions within a network.

Shrini Gurrapu, the company’s vice president of product management, was not eager to discuss in detail how the company achieves this beyond describing the process as “heuristic.” Skype is notoriously difficult to detect, and is considered nearly impossible to stop once it has set up an encrypted call.

“Customers had asked for the new filtering,” said vice president Gurrapu, “after after becoming worried about the implications for compliance of running an almost undetectable application that was able to set up IM, file transfer, video and phone calls. The software was also prey to its own clutch of security vulnerabilities.”

He also added that there will be an increasing number of these “greynet” applications, noting that other IM networks such as Tahoo were starting to add Sype-like features to avoid detection.

As well as adding Skype and WebEx control, the new release not only tidies up other areas of the software and reporting elements of the system, but also builds in CA’s eTrust anti-virus engine to scan IM traffic for viruses.

“The adoption of instant messaging applications and their rapid convergence with P2P, VoIP, and Web conferencing technologies can expose organisations to significant business risks,” agreed Robert Mahowald of IDC.

Summary

FaceTime, a security specialist, has joined the ranks of companies that claim to have cracked one of the industry’s toughest feats: the ability to detect and filter out Skype 2.0 traffic.


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