Skype Hacked?

Skype is dismissing a claim by a small team of Chinese engineers who say they have reverse engineered the protocol used for Skype Internet phone calls.

The development is being reported by Charlie Paglee, the chief executive officer of Vozin Communications, a voice-over-IP company that offers the Talqer plug-in for Google Talk, and which has operations in China and California. Paglee, a Mandarin speaker who has worked in China since 1987, said he knows the people in the small company who reverse engineered the Skype protocol.

Paglee wrote about the reverse engineering on his blog, and said he has been asked not to reveal the name of the company that reverse engineered the protocol.

The 10-person Chinese company, which has received venture capital funding, is planning to release in two weeks three software components based on the Skype protocol that would allow developers to create compatible applications, Paglee said. Those components comprise voice and instant-messaging functions, he said.

Skype’s protocol is proprietary, so third party developers have not been able to build compatible applications. Some other voice-over-IP applications are based on the open Session Initiation Protocol standard, enabling third-party developers to create interoperable products.

Skype, a unit of eBay, said Friday it is aware of the claim but had “no evidence to suggest that this is true.”