Does Skype client in some way harm the privacy of information not submitted over it? For example, by capturing the contents of the screen, scanning the disk, the memory of the system and submitting this information anywhere. Is it safe to use Skype on government or corporate computers for unrelated activities?

  • Hi throwawayaccountlhn53, if you look at the right side, below Related you might find some post covering your question.
    – bummi
    Jan 17, 2016 at 18:46
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    Would you trust a service run by a firm that his famous for being in bed with the government, notorious for insecure software, and whose p2p model of communications was changed for them to be convenient to eavesdrop? Are you of a foreign government that is not particularly liked by the USA? Why use the computer and not a voIP phone? Jan 17, 2016 at 18:55
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    Ask your IT-team. Because in nearly every bigger company and especially governments forbid you to install/use software without explicite consent of there IT-/security-team. Doing otherwise can cause legal problems for you. For some of the reasons see the comment of @RuiFRibeiro and your question. If you are chief of security in this government/company and don't know the answer ask a professional security consulting company who can evaluate your specific situation.
    – H. Idden
    Jan 17, 2016 at 20:24
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    Are you on windows?
    – Daniel F
    Jan 17, 2016 at 22:03
  • Very pertinent question. Microsoft uses their hold on popular services like Office and Skype to sabotage their functionality/availability of new versions/proper integration with the OS when running in other arquitectures, namely OS/X and Linux. Jan 17, 2016 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Skype is definitely not a safe client to use. A Google search of "Skype exploit" will reveal a lot of its problems in regards to exploits and various news articles provide information on how the NSA uses Skype as part of its Prism program (e.g. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/newly-published-nsa-documents-show-agency-could-grab-all-skype-traffic/). Note: Although the news articles do not indicate that Skype is being used as spyware targeted at the device(s) itself, this may still be a possibility so it's best to stay away from Skype.

The good news is there are safer alternatives and one example is Tox (https://tox.chat/).
Also, Open Whisper Systems (a company recommended by Edward Snowden) has apps focussed on privacy/security (https://whispersystems.org/) including a mobile messaging/phone app named Signal.

  • This answer deals with exploits, but I think the OP is asking about intended functionality, i.e. Skype being used as spyware.
    – schroeder
    Jan 18, 2016 at 5:03
  • good point @schroeder Post updated. Jan 18, 2016 at 5:07
  • How would you qualify the function permitting file transfer within the Skype channel when a firewall would have been put into place to prohibit any remote file access on a given protected system?
    – dan
    Jan 18, 2016 at 14:53

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