Russian intelligence is free to tap Skype sans court order
MOSCOW, March 14 - RAPSI. Major cyber security and IT market players revealed that Russian security services are able to tap Skype conversations, the Vedomosti newspaper reports.
Group-IB CEO Ilya Sachkov said that the security services have been able to monitor the conversations and location of Skype users for a couple of years now.
"This is exactly why our staff are not allowed to discuss business on Skype," he said.
Since its acquisition of Skype in May 2011, Microsoft has added a legitimate monitoring technology to Skype, says Maksim Emm, Executive Director of Peak Systems. Now any user can be switched to a special mode in which encryption keys will be generated on a server rather than the user's phone or computer.
Access to the server allows Skype calls or conversations to be tapped. Microsoft has been providing this technology to security services across the world, including Russia.
The two information security experts say that access to Skype conversations is not always granted to the Russian security services by a court order, sometimes it is given "upon request". Monitoring Skype users is not an insurmountable task for Russian law enforcement agencies, a source in the Interior Ministry confirms.
Official representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Services have refused to comment.