The IT Stalinistas strike back

by Volker Weber

I know the kind of people who will like this program: SkypeKiller


Yes, I believe many organisations — mine included — are rolling out various anti-IM measures aimed at eradicating Skype, MSN, Yahoo! etc. But as fast as these things are implemented, people will find ways around them: completely pointless.

Ben Poole, 2005-11-19

Could be the IM vendors fault too. If they would have provided good federation interfaces to the corporate IM, the Stalinistas could be rebuffed with : "Monitor it!" (and then let them fight it out with finance".
:-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2005-11-19

Dear Volker,

I am François Amigorena, IS Decisions' CEO, SkypeKiller's editor (and not a stalinista…;-)

Please don't get us wrong: we are not in any way Skype or any software editors' enemies. We just want to make sure we give our corporate clients maximum choice in their network management.

If they want to allow the use of Skype on their networks, it is perfectly alright with us. But if they don't, we provide them with an efficient tool to perform a clean and remote uninstall.
More, SkypeKiller can also be used just to detect Skype instances without uninstalling them or only partially.

I will be pleased to answer any queries about our software coming from your audience or yourself.

Please feel free to contact me at

Best regards,

François Amigorena, 2005-11-21

François, you are not the killer. You are the arms dealer. Weapons of mass destruction actually. :-)

Volker Weber, 2005-11-21

Why would I need such a tool? Suitable firewall rules, users with non-admin privileges, IDS alerts. Plus LARTs for those that still try it.

No custom-tailored WMDs required :)

Matthias Leisi, 2005-11-21

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Mordac, the preventer of information services:

He's the evil-hearted director of Information Services for Dilbert's company. He believes his mission is to make it as difficult as possible for employees to use their computers or the network.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-21

Oh yes - I fondly remember the time when I plugged in my laptop into the network at the company that Matthias works for. Minutes later, IT security was at my desk...

Compared to other companies I know: Impressive (but frightening)

Jens-Christian Fischer, 2005-11-21


Users with non-admin privileges can still install Skype in their user profiles.

That is why SkypeKiller cleans all user profiles as well ...

No hard feelings!

P.S: don't forget that WMD acronym also means World Movement for Democracy ...;-)

François Amigorena, 2005-11-21

Volker: It very much depends on your user community. In a non-tech shop with a vast majority of business-oriented users, a locked-down environment is a question of survival. If someone has a need for something non-standard, there is someone who knows how to do it for him.

(And then there are those programs that, for no technical reason, require local admin privileges to even run...).

JC: They still remember you *eg*

François: Of course you can install/run a lot of programs with non-admin privileges - most malware does. That's why I believe that a "Skype remover" would make a lot more sense if it were able to remove a configurable set of files based on hash/name/patterns/whatever.

Maybe someone should write a Skype-specific pattern for popular virus/malware scanners :) [Florian Weimer wrote something similar to scan for vulnerable versions of zlib -]

Just to clarify: I don't regard Skype as malware. To the contrary, it's very useful and Voip will certainly replace many traditional phone systems. However, uncontrolled rollout in a company network is Not A Good Thing[tm].

Matthias Leisi, 2005-11-23


I have seen so many different organizations.

Some of them fall into the category of IT Stalinistas who think along the lines of a "Skype Killer". They need to control what their users need. In terms of everything is forbidden, unless it is a "corporate standard". Which means, you get Windows, Office, mail, and a browser. The browser is then forced to a content filter proxy. Users generally try to work around IT. I have seen consultancies, where people had either a second machine or just a second hard disk to get their job done.

Then there is companies, where the IT people serve the user. They have warehouses of software. You can pick install packages. When the second users asks for a software, they will build a package. They will update it when new revisions come out. They will try to keep all of those updated who installed from their software warehouse. Users in those companies turn to IT when they need to get a job done.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-23

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