How Secure Do You Think Your Communications Are?

My IT friends and I have had many conversations about how naïve most folks are when it comes to how insecure everyday communications are. It’s extremely rare we find someone at work, outside of our profession, who immediately understands that mobile communications are often w-i-d-e open. Truth be told, we’ve even come across some IT professionals who didn’t get it until it started appearing in the newspapers in Sweden. [For some, it’s not true until it’s in the newspaper.] This mindset is no respecter of positions either. It affects everyone from the top down. But such is the case for many organizations.

I’ve recently come across an old story that’s an excellent example of the price to be paid for such a mindset. The story is sometimes referred to as “The Athens Affair”. This particular link provides a lot of details, but it’s definitely worth giving a good read if you have the time. If you’re responsible for any sort of network, then you should read it. For those of you who simply want a synopsis, this Wikipedia version should do you just fine.

Stories like the one above make me all the more hungry for a Skype solution for my N95. Skype’s constant attention to security is what folks like me want. Yeah, I know the person on the other end of my calls will need to be a Skype user as well. That’s fine. My wife and daughter are already Skype users, and they rate the highest as far as who I’m likely to contact. Nevertheless, once I show folks a little of what Skype does, they seriously consider giving it a shot. And I usually show them just the tip of the iceberg.
For example, I’ve recently gone to Skype Pro. Some of the benefits of Skype Pro are:

  • local calls are free (outside of the US, this matters!)
  • I can transfer calls to my contacts, if needed
  • free Skype voicemail
  • I get to make International calls at local rates using my mobile with Skype To Go

Those are some pretty nice deals. The Skype to Go deal is very nice. In plain language, this allows me to call my Mom and Dad, in the US, via my mobile, from anywhere in Sweden, and get charged a local call, which is pretty reasonable. That’s nice. I like reasonable. 🙂


Getting back to security, I wonder what it takes for some folks to really understand the value of security and mobile phones. I’m a firm believer in not scaring someone into good practices, but all too often I’ve seen cases where folks had to learn by the burn. Most of us every types seem to believe, for the most part, that it simply won’t happen to us, “Sure it can happen to high-ranking government officials, terrorist leaders, and the Paris Hiltons of the world, but never me.” If you’re one of those, think again. Mobile phones use networks that are as open as you think. I’m one who believes that talking on a mobile phone is about as secure as sending an unencrypted e-mail. And now that we have even more sophisticated mobile technology like Bluetooth, infrared and the like, things simply get more interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if the possibility now exists to hack your mobile phone you camera if you have one. Hmm… Now that’s interesting!

Time for me to do a little digging around on this. I’ll let you know what I find.



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