Microsoft Snooping On Skype Messages: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Earlier this year a number of privacy organizations raised alarms about the way Microsoft shared Skype users' private information. Now, a new report suggests that Microsoft itself is closely monitoring messages sent between Skype users.

Technology blog Ars Technica says it has learned that Microsoft is actively scanning messages containing HTTPS URLS, or URLs associated with secure websites.

Microsoft Monitoring, Storing Links

Ars writer Dan Goodin says he's also learned that Microsoft is scanning these messages as a form of fraud prevention and that the firm is logging the results for an indefinite period of time. (Source:

To test this report, Ars and an independent security researcher named Ashkan Soltani sent four web links using the Skype chat feature. Further research showed that two of the four links were intercepted and clicked on.

Furthermore, Goodin and Soltani found that the person who clicked on the links was associated with an IP address known to belong to Microsoft.

In the past, Skype has claimed that it only monitors messages in an effort to prevent junk mail from being sent to legitimate users.

"Skype uses automated scanning within instant messages to identify unwanted messaging and identify website addresses that have been previously flagged as spam, fraud, or phishing links," noted James Blamey, a Skype spokesperson. (Source:

However, it would now appear that Microsoft's monitoring of Skype goes far beyond that.

The Irony: Not So Delicious

Industry insiders rightly point out the remarkable irony of this practice, given that Microsoft has recently carried on a "Scroogled" campaign designed to embarrass Google for allegedly monitoring Gmail messages.

In any case, Soltani says he's alarmed by these most recent findings. "If [Microsoft is] monitoring URLs in chat, what else can they monitor? Can they record all your chats?"

"Up to now, we haven't had data to show that Microsoft has this capability," Soltani said. "This shows that."

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