New York University’s Polytechnic Institute has discovered a Skype security flaw that leaves Skype users’ locations and P2P sharing activity accessible to hackers. The security hole was discovered while NYU scientists monitored 10,000 Skype users and 20 volunteers during a two-week period. “A hacker anywhere in the world could easily track the whereabouts and file-sharing habits of a Skype user – from private citizens to celebrities and politicians – and use the information for purposes of stalking, blackmail or fraud,” professor Keith Ross from computer science NYU-Poly’s computer science program said. Hackers can also keep track of a Skype user’s movements as he or she places calls from various locations. The scientists were able to follow a Skype user during a vacation from New York to Chicago and then all the way home to France, Financial Post explained. “A fairly straightforward and inexpensive fix would prevent hackers from taking the critical first step in this security breach – that of obtaining users’ IP addresses through inconspicuous calling,” the scientists said. Skype chief information officer Adrian Asher said his company will work to improve the security of Skype’s software. More →
Skype on Thursday announced that its Mac OS X and Windows beta clients now support video calls to Facebook users. Skype introduced a Facebook-to-Facebook video client for the social network in July, but now users on both platforms can video chat with one another. Users who choose to download Skype 5.7 Beta on Windows or Skype 5.4 Beta on Mac will be prompted to enter in their Facebook credentials. Once logged in, Facebook friends will be presented on the Skype buddy list and a video chats can easily be initiated. Skype also said it has added a group screen-sharing feature for its Skype Premium Windows users, an option that was released in an earlier Mac OS X update. A video of Skype’s Facebook calling integration follows after the break.
Microsoft announced on Friday that it has completed its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype. Skype will exist as a new division within Microsoft and Skype CEO Tony Bates will continue to serve as the head of the Skype team. In addition, Skype’s employees around the globe will remain in their current offices. Microsoft confirmed that it will work to integrate Skype into its existing products, but it did not specifically say which products or when that would begin to happen. “We look forward to working with the Skype team to create new ways for people to stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues — anytime, anywhere,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. The acquisition is still pending completion in several other countries. Read on for the full press release. More →
Fresh on the heels of launching a client for the iPad, Skype released Skype version 5.3 for Mac on Monday. The update adds support for Apple’s latest OS X Lion operating system as well as HD video chat. Users will now be able to send and receive HD-quality video using their built-in Mac webcams or other HD-capable cameras. Skype says that the feature will work best for those with internet connections that can maintain at least 1.5Mbps upload/download throughput. The software is compatible with with OS X Leopard and later versions of Apple’s PC operating system. More →
Facebook on Wednesday took the wraps off of the latest major addition to the world’s most popular social network: video chat. Through a partnership with Skype, Facebook video users will now be able to video chat with each other through the company’s new service… for free. The service works just like Skype’s standard video calling service, but video calls can be initiated right from within the Facebook website with a simple click. “A few months ago, we started working with Skype to bring video calling to Facebook,” Facebook wrote on its blog. “We built it right into chat, so all your conversations start from the same place. To call your friend, just click the video call button at the top of your chat window.” Facebook video calling will roll out to all users over the next few weeks. More →
Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →
HP’s webOS is already tightly integrated with a number of services but now it appears that the OS will soon offer Skype integration, too. According to leaked screenshots, users will soon be able to choose to route their calls directly through Skype from the phonebook application, an option that will no doubt save international callers a big chunk of change. Similarly, users may also be able to place Skype video calls, allowing them to use the front-facing camera on the Pre 3 for video chats. It’s unclear when the integration will be introduced, but this has us more excited than ever for the Pre 3 to finally hit store shelves. More →
Skype has started to fire several of its executives in an effort to reduce payouts from its Microsoft purchase, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Among the execs being let go are vice presidents Christopher Dean, David Gurle, don Albert, and Russ Shaw, as well as chief marketing officer Doug Bewsher, and the head of human resources, Anne Gillespi. Two other execs from Skype’s Qik acquisition earlier this year — Ramu Sunkara and Allyson Campa — were also fired according to the report. This could possibly mean that the executives will lose any stock options that were not yet vested. Microsoft announced on May 10th that it was acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion, and the deal is still pending FCC approval. More →
Skype confirmed early Thursday morning that some users may experience connection issues signing into the service or making Skype calls. The company says it has identified the problem and has posted instructions for fixing the issue. The good news is it doesn’t look like the outage will be as massive as the one last December, which was later blamed on an overloaded cluster of support servers. If you’re experiencing issues now, hit the jump for some quick fix instructions from Skype. Just don’t blame it on Microsoft, alright?
Update: Skype says Windows users should update their client to the newest version for an immediate and easier fix. A Max OS X update is also on the way. More →
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that it will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. The news comes just days after reports surfaced that Facebook and Google were both interested in purchasing, or at least creating a joint venture with the online video chat company. However, sources said Facebook was considering spending $3 to $4 billion on Skype, a fraction of Microsoft’s offer. The firm said Skype will be used to support Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and other Windows devices. Microsoft also said that it will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other software platforms. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world,” Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer said in a statement. Skype, which currently has 170 million connected users, will become a new business entity in Microsoft, and Skype’s current CEO Tony Bates assume the role of president of the Microsoft Skype Division. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Microsoft has just invited us to a Windows Phone event in New York City on May 24th, 2011, during which the company will “lift the curtain on the next major release of Windows Phone.” We know Mango will offer Internet Explorer 9 with an integrated Twitter experience, better multitasking, and new apps such as Angry Birds, Skype, and Spotify. We’ve also heard that Microsoft will add Bing Audio for identifying music, Bing Vision for scanning bar codes, and voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation with Bing Maps, although none of these features have been confirmed by Microsoft just yet. On May 24th, however, we’ll learn it all — and of course we’ll be on hand reporting live.
Facebook and Google are in separate talks to enter joint ventures with Skype, Reuters reported on Thursday. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also reportedly been in clandestine meetings discussing an all-out purchase of the VoIP service. Skype’s IPO, which is expected to occur later this year, could be worth $1 billion, however, deals with Facebook or Google could bring in as much as $3-$4 billion, Reuters said. Skype 5.0 launched in October of this year and added tight Facebook integration, but the social network has yet to include native video calling into its website or mobile applications. Google could benefit from Skype’s mobile technology to build out its Android video-chat feature, too, which just launched late last month. Neither company has offered a comment on the matter. More →