Skype Chat Encryption and Screen Sharing

By Xah Lee. Date:

Was wondering if Skype text chat or voice chat are encrypted. After few minutes of web search, quickly the answer is found without a doubt.

Note: this essay was written in 2010. Since, Microsoft has bought Skype, and there are rumors that they changed Skype to allow wiretabbing.

You Can Talk About Your Secrets Over Skype

According to Quote:

Skype uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), also known as Rijndael, which is used by the US Government organizations to protect sensitive, information. Skype uses 256-bit encryption, which has a total of 1.1 x 1077 possible keys, in order to actively encrypt the data in each Skype call or instant message. Skype uses 1024 bit RSA to negotiate symmetric AES keys. User public keys are certified by the Skype server at login using 1536 or 2048-bit RSA certificates.

Of course i confirmed this to not be a commercial company's false claim. In short, for average citizens, you can pass passwords using Skype, or talk about your affairs, without worrying about eavesdroppers.

This is great! Although i have a chat account with AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and google talk, but in the past year i'm relying on Skype more. As a thinker with critical views on human animal society and behavior, i'm quite fuzzy about my choices of software. I approve Skype!

For tech detail of Skype's encryption feature, see: Skype security .

For curiosity, i wonder if any of the AOL, MSN, Yahoo, or Google Talk, currently has encryption on by default, and what they use.

Screen Sharing

Discovered that Skype has a screen sharing feature built-in. (just click on the Share then Share Screen.) That is, you can show your screen to your friends on Skype. This is a Fantastic. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Without this feature, you have to use something like Timbuktu (software), or other Remote desktop software, but these usually lets you control the other desktop too.