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Internet Security is a Must for Your Website!

Skype Cracked In China
Reports have begun to circulate that a team of Chinese engineers has been able to reverse engineer the Skype protocol, which now makes people wonder what eBay got for its $2.6 billion.

Skype Cracked In China
Skype Cracked In China

Meg Whitman, eBay's CEO, may be wondering the same thing. If eBay ever believed there was a future in placing advertising on Skype clients, the prospect of an alternative client as reported on the VoIPWiki blog would give Skype users the option to possibly select an ad-free client instead.

VoIPWiki blogger Charlie Paglee wrote about receiving a Skype call from a friend in China, who works for the company that managed the reverse engineering of Skype. The caller wanted to verify the client would work when connecting to a distant IP address. It did, and the company has plans to do more with the client:

At present they only support placing Skype peer-to-peer phone calls and they have not yet implemented presence. They have plans to add presence, instant messaging, and a host of other features. Their end goal is to create a client 100% compatible with Skype.

The potential for creating issues for Skype exists. Paglee wrote that the Chinese company will not support Skype's Super Node technology. A Super Node acts as a relay between two distant Skype callers, when those callers can only make outgoing TCP calls:

This means that very soon Skype users will have an alternative client which will not hijack their computer. This could eventually have a very negative effect on the Skype network if too many people choose not to act as Skype Super Nodes and the network starts to deteriorate.

Om Malik referred to this as "Virus has mutated, and the parasite has a parasite," since the Chinese client can use Skype without the burden of moving calls as a Super Node.

From a legal standpoint, Paglee believes eBay could be out of luck taking action against the Chinese company that performed the reverse engineering. A technical threat also exists, as the company claimed to Paglee that it has developed effective blocking technology to stop Skype calls in their tracks.

There is a huge financial incentive to develop such technology. Many countries charge outrageous international calling rates, and when citizens in those countries choose to make a Skype call instead of a phone call, the telcos lose money. Since many telcos are in effect operated by the state, Skype deprives those governments of revenue.

The company has a couple of options going forward. They can continue working on the client, and integrating it into other applications. And they can sell the blocking technology to telcos. Both scenarios look like a possible mess for eBay and Skype.

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