Skype and Supernodes

 Skype is a free peer to peer application that provides free voice-over-IP communication via the internet. This application is great, but causes problems with internet traffic on our campus here at CMC. If you leave your computer on with Skype running in the background you may be acting as a supernode. You can become a supernode when you run peer to peer applications on very high speed internet connections such as CMC. Skype by default is configured as a supernode, which circumvents our security measures that are aligned for the campus. Please follow the simple steps below to ensure that your system does not act as a supernode:

 
1. Inform your Local IT Support staff that you wish to install the Skype application on your computer. The support staff must ensure that your local area network is adequately firewalled to protect the network.
2. During installation you must turn off Skype’s auto start feature. This is detailed below in “New Installation Guidelines” and “Existing Skype Installations”
3. Install a software firewall on your computer.

New Installation Guidelines
The following installation steps are to be followed when installing Skype. These steps will prevent your machine from becoming a supernode.
  1. Download latest version of Skype (A new window will open for your convenience, this will allow you to switch between the Skype window and these installation procedures)
  2. Run the Skype setup wizard.
a. After you have checked the "Read and understood License agreement" box, select the "options" button.
b. UNCHECK the "Start Skype when the computer starts" checkbox.

If you do not do this Skype will always be running in the background.
Note: If Skype runs in the background all the time there is a very high probability your machine will become a supernode.
  1. Complete the Skype Install.
  2. After you get a username and sign-in here are some additional tips to prevent your machine becoming a supernode and minimizing its security risks:
a. Close Skype when you are finished using it.
Skype is one of those programs that minimizes to the system tray (icons along the bottom right hand corner of your screen) when you close the window, but keeps running in the background. To actually close Skype you must right click the system tray icon and select 'quit'.
b. Only open Skype when you are going to use it.
Skype is a security risk (because its use of encrypted tunneling prevents virus protection) and the longer it is left running the greater the potential for your machine to become compromised or infected.

Existing Skype Installations
The following configuration steps are suggested if you already have Skype installed. These steps will help prevent your machine from becoming a supernode.

1. With Skype open and logged in. Go to “Tools” Menu -> “Options …”
2. A window will open. Click on the “Advanced” Tab on the left.
3. At top of window there will be a check box marked “Start Skype when I start windows”. UNCHECK this box.
4. Click the save button in the bottom right hand corner of the window.
5. Here are some additional tips to prevent your machine becoming a supernode and minimizing its security risk:
a. Close Skype when you are finished using it.
Skype is one of those programs that minimizes to the system tray (icons along the bottom right hand corner of your screen) when you close the window, but keeps running in the background. To actually close Skype you must right click the system tray icon and select 'quit'.
b. Only open Skype when you are going to use it.
Skype is a security risk (because its use of encrypted tunneling prevents virus protection) and the longer it is left running the greater the potential for your machine to become compromised or infected.