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The Facts About Skype


  • Isaac Rynn
  • Barry Strader
  • Yuan Tian
  • Afton Worobeck


Means of communication are constantly evolving, becoming more technologically advanced, mobile and efficient, along with more economical. Skype is a way to make telephone calls through the internet. With Skype's drastically increasing popularity this page investigates whether or not Skype should be adopted and used.


In 2003 Skype was introduced to the world. Skype is a versatile system which gives its users access to free voice and video calls over the net. In addition to free services Skype offers the option to contact landlines and mobiles through text messages and voice mail with a pay as you guy system which features Skype points. Since its founding Skype has experienced a rapid growth and has now been downloaded over half a billion times and can be found in almost every country on the planet. Besides personal uses Skype has also been used for game shows like, “Who wants to be A Millionaire” and other businesses looking for an edge. In 2005 Skype was bought by Ebay and continued in its growth by recently adding applications for the Iphone as well as Twitter. Individuals all over the world are dipping there fingers into the enticing advantages of Skype and with its openness to integrate itself with new technology Skype is on the up.



Video Calling

The main use for Skype is to make video calls to friends and family over the internet from your computer. Skype-to-Skype calls are free to anywhere in the world at any time of day. You and your friend will need to have a headset (or use your computer’s built-in microphone and speakers) and a webcam to talk to each other.

Skype-to-Phone Calls

Skype can also be used to call regular telephones or mobile telephones. These calls are not free but average just 2 cents per minute.

Video conferencing

Skype Video conferencing was introduced in January 2006 and supports "High Quality Video" and features like full-screen and screen-in-screen modes similar to that of mid-range videoconferencing systems. Skype conferences currently support up to 25 people at a time, including the host.


Text Messaging

Skype allows you to send text messages to friends from your computer. Average cost is about 9 cents per message. This feature allows you to send long, eloquent messages from the comfort of your keyboard. You can also show your own cell phone number when sending a text message from Skype. You can send text messages to phones on any network, in any country.

Instant Messaging

Skype also features a free instant messaging or chat feature. This feature allows you to add emoticons to your messages. You can send a smiley face at the end of your sentence or a ‘thumbs up’ if you agree with what the other person is saying. There are number of slightly ruder options, too, if you’re up for it.

Skype on the move.jpg

Skype on the move

Skype can be used on many wireless different devices – from cell phones to cordless phones, from Play Station Portable to Blackberries and IPhones.



Easy to Install and Work

  • 1.Go to the Skype Web site (see the Resources section below for links to download Skype for Windows, Mac, and Linux users)and download the SkypeSetup.exe executable.
  • 2.Click on the SkypeSetup icon that is on your desktop. A Skype Setup wizard then appears.
  • 3.Follow the instructions on the Skype Setup Wizard to complete the installation of the Skype software.
  • 4.A Skype window appears and if you have never used Skype before you have the option of creating a Skype account.
  • 5.Click on the "Sign in" button.
  • 6.Follow the instructions in the "Getting Started" guide to "Add a Contact" using the "Add Contact" button, to test your headset and microphone using the "Skype Test Call Feature," to set up a Conference Call with a business colleague or friend, and to explore all the other features in Skype.
  • 7.Once you have installed the Skype software, there are 2 ways by which you can open the Skype software application. Click on the Skype icon on your desktop Or Double click on the "x" icon in your desktop's system tray to start Skype at any time.

Works Behind Typical Network Security Devices

This means users on corporate networks are not required to get IT staff to configure anything for them for Skype to work. e.g. firewalls, NAT [11, 12]. The ability to work in most network environments is also good for users that constantly working in different networking environments, e.g., someone on the road.


High Quality Voice

Call quality is stated to be superior to other computer based on VoIP software clients.Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the family of technologies that allow IP networks to be used for voice applications.VoIP entails solutions at almost every layer of an IP network--from specialized voice applications (like Skype) all the way down to low-level quality measures that keep those applications running smoothly.

Large Community and Variable Usages


SkypeIn allows Skype users to receive calls on their computers dialed by regular phone subscribers to a local Skype phone number; local numbers are available for Australia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Moverover, users can get connection with different groups like families, friends and colleague. Users can have video conference, skype-to-phone call, text message and instant message through skype.


As innovative as skype may be there are always flaws and disadvantages with new technologies. There are many security issues and vulnerabilities concerning skype. The two major security issues are the network security bypass ability of the software and a flawed URI handler. Another disadvantage of skype is that it does not support emergency calls.

Skype penetrates through firewalls

Network Security Bypass

The network security bypass allows skype when blocked by a firewall, to actively work around it switching to an open port, to establish a connection. Skype typically uses ports 80 and 443. These ports are left open by most firewalls in order to allow for web browsing. This feature makes skype simple to use, as there is no configuration needed, but leaves backdoor security holes open for hackers, trojans, worms and viruses. Since these ports are left open by firewalls they are not actively monitored for malicious use. With your identity, skype address, and publicly available programs hackers can gain access to your computers through these unmonitored ports. Once a hacker has gained control of your computer in this manner they are partially protected due to the lack of inspection in these ports. Therefore a hacker could have gained access to your computer and you wouldn’t even know. This is very concerning to companies, as corporate data could easily be transported between users without any of the usual network security defenses in effect. Corporate security policy is almost impossible to enforce with the usage of skype due to this bypass.

URI Handlers


URI handlers are also a major concern when it comes to hackers. Many URI handlers are installed in the typical installation of skype. These handlers allow for easy access to Skype’s clients. The URI handler that verifies URL’s contains a flaw. It doesn’t check for all possible file formats. Once again this leaves entry for capable hackers to fabricate URL’s and send them to various Skype users. The problem occurs when a user opens the fabricated URL taking them a website which is controlled by the hacker. In return this allows the hacker to execute arbitrary code on the user’s machine.

These security issues should be known to all users since skype has proposed that it is “totally secure”. Given Skype’s popularity hackers have a particular interest in trying to crack it and disprove the “total security”. Skype’s conversations are highly secure and encrypted but pose more security access vulnerability than other internet communication programs, like MSN messenger.

Emergency Calls

Decentralized VoIP Service

Skype cannot be used as a substitute for traditional land lines. This is due to the fact that skype does not support emergency calls. In order for an emergency call to be made it is routed to the closest emergency center. Skype is a decentralized VoIP service, meaning it’s a network that is peer-to-peer based and therefore doesn’t pass through a central server. VoIP services are not localized so a user’s skype account can be used at any location. This poses technical problems when trying to find and connect to the closest emergency center, and consequently failing to make a call or making an ineffective call.


By comparing the uses and advantages to the disadvantages it is evident that Skype is very beneficial. It connects you to people all around the world for free, or at a small fee for additional features. Skype helps buisnesses communicate and hold face-to-face meetings without the cost of travel. It is simple to use with no special configuration needed, and has superior high quality voice. Although it does pose security access risks, many other day-to-day internet usages pose these same risks. Finally, the adoption and usage of Skype for long distance communication is highly recommended.


Baset, Salman A. and Schulzrinne, Henning (2004) An Analysis of the Skype Peer-to-Peer Internet Telephony Protocol. Department of Computer Science, Columbia University, New York.

Lisha, Gao and Junzhou, Luo (2006) Performance Analysis of a P2P-Based VoIP Software. Proceedings of the Advanced International Conference on Telecommunications and International Conference on Internet and Wb Applications and Services (AICT/ICIW 2006)