back to article Skype (kinda, sorta) shields Mac kiddies from VoIP smut

When Alan Scully switched from a PC to a Mac earlier this year, he thought it would bolster his online security. For the most part, it has - with one notable exception. His Skype client, which he relies on for international calls, has churned out a demonstrable increase in obscene messages that he's powerless to stop. Skype for …


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  1. Warhelmet

    Bum Funk

    But I get sh!t on my pc from Skype inviting me to look at lady bits. Platform isn't the issue, surely?

  2. Stuart Hatto

    Driver error - not Mac fault

    I'm sorry but isn't this a case of driver error?

    I have Skype on Mac and I also got some undesirable messages - however I very quickly learned that the way to stop this is not set your status to SkypeMe.

    Since I changed my status and now dont use SkypeMe as a status I no longer get unslicited contacts or messages of any kind.

    I do think its time Skype fully explained the SkypeMe status and its consequences however.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Does Jaqui use a mac?

    One way to get a quick fix would be if Jaqui Smith uses a mac for skype, then we'd have a new law, 42 day detention and a whole raft of other laws that would make Skype (the company) the next victim of the UK tabloid media and we'd have a panorama and dispatches episode to tell everyone how evil the internet is.

  4. Greem

    Won't someone THINK of THE CHILDREN

    Fer someone's sake...

    If you're using a reasonably modern - like post 2000 - operating system, why let children login using the same account profile that you use? Additionally, why leave them unsupervised?

    You can create them an account and *switch skype off*. Really. It's not so hard, is it? And using a Mac, it's even easier than it is with Windows.

    $Deity, all this "my friend's children might be abused because of something on my computer over which I have no control" is just bollocks. You *do* have control, because it's *your computer*.

    You can't even blame Bill for this. Just do some bloody homework (not that set for your children) and look after them when they're using that nasty, intolerant Intertube.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You could almost say

    we are going Japanesea.

    Let's just ban all images of children and their internet usage, if you are under 30 then no internet for you.

  6. Alan Scully

    Even with SkypeMe off

    Stuart Hatto - On Mac, the contact requests happen even with SkypeMe off.

    Greem - I'm sure most people don't create extra accounts for their friends kids. It isn't a matter of leaving kids unsupervised - you can be watching them play kiddie games on yahoo when a popup from sexy bitch slut suddenly appears.

  7. stizzleswick

    Definitely a case of...

    ...the user having no idea of how to use his computer. Setting up an user account for the kids that does not allow Skype to be run takes about one minute on MacOS X 10.5. And I agree with Greem that letting the kids run an unlimited-rights account is certain suicide, as a friend of mine found out last weekend after her son tried to download some "free" music on her XP-running laptop. Took her half a day to get rid of some of the malware, then she decided a fresh install would take less time after all.

    Mine's the one with the Victorinox Cybertool in the right-hand pocket...

  8. P. Lee

    best way to handle kids

    don't give them access to the computer.

    Or if they really need to share installs... I'm not sure about the mac but linux provides virtual X sessions ctrl-alt-f1 for kids, ctrl-alt-f2 for grownups etc. Add a screensaver password, a bit of permissions setting and you're good to go.

    The easiest is separate hardware.

    I know, shameless plug :D

  9. Daniel

    @Alan Scully (Re: extra accounts)

    "Greem - I'm sure most people don't create extra accounts for their friends kids."

    Not very wise of them, then. Personally, I have a guest account which I let any non-household member use; that way I don't have to worry about them screwing up my computer. Incidentally, it also eliminates issues such as this one.

    Oh, and P. Lee - that feature isn't really a Linux exclusive anymore. Both windows and OS X can do the same thing now, though I have to say, I find Windows to be the most awkward of the three.


  10. John B

    Looking at that screenshot...

    ...seems to indicate that he is going to add her as a contact...what's up with that?

  11. koenraad

    It's not just a Mac problem

    The problem is also present on the Philips VOIP841 Skypephone. For ages I could not work out why at work my Windoze PC was quietly running Skype, but on my return home my Philips phone logged into the same accound with status set to 'Away' would show multiple sequests like this at the end of the day. (An interesting Skype feature is that you can be logged in at more than one location and receive calls.)

    The problem is more widespread than we perhaps think, and it's made me change the way I use Skype. I now log the phone off when I'm not there, a far from ideal solution.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yes, it's somehow magically Skype's fault....

    So the complainant has the problem that he lets kids (whether his own or his friends') play on his computer unsupervised, having discovered that Skype has this problem, and yet magically the solution *isnt* to, say, just run Skype when he has to make a call?

    Don't get me wrong, IM spam is annoying, but I don't recall anyone forcing me to run Skype when I'm not using it, nor forcing me to abandon traditional (albeit more expensive) methods of communication. Or even (God forbid) just emailing someone telling them to log onto Skype when you need to call them....

    But no, let's have a moan about how the technology doesn't enable people to leave their kids playing with an internet-connected computer unsupervised. That's clearly the way to go.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hi, I'm sexydirtybitchxxx

    I'm the aforementioned sexydirtybitchxxx, and I am in fact a horny, busty blonde that lives near Alan Scully, and has a huge crush on him. If only he would let me talk to him... no matter how many naked pictures of myself I send to him, he just won't accept that I'm in love with him. In fact he treats me coldly, as if I'm nothing more than a robot. It hurts.

  14. Alex


    "fellow Skype users (usually pornographic spammers) "

    Usually?!?! Lucky barsteward!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Have you been to an Apple store

    It's all very well that us techie aware people can set up guest accounts, but if you've ever been to an Apple store and seen people bring in their MacBooks to get Xp installed or questions about using iTunes, you'll realise that not everyone knows that much about administering computers.

    That said, even if a guest account is set up, the main account would still be subject to porno contact requests. The real issue is that Skype doesn't allow them to be blocked, not guest accounts. Some of us don't want to receive contact requests full stop.

  16. Stuart Hatto

    Sorry Mr Scully

    >>Stuart Hatto - On Mac, the contact requests happen even with SkypeMe off.

    Not on this Mac they don't. I had set my contact requests off, and still got these unsolicited requests. Once I set my status to anything but SkypeMe the contacts all stopped. I haven't had a single one for many months now.

    For me the bigger question here is why Skype allows this spam and why they never really fully explain that SkypeMe may open you up to this kind of spam.

    This just smacks of sensationalism to me. There are things that can be done by you to ensure this doesnt occur. Its not a Mac thing, its a Skype thing, blaming the platform is the worst kind of journalism from TheReg - its the application not the platform that has the problem.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @AC: "Have you been to an Apple store?"

    The source of the issue is, indeed, that Skype on a Mac doesn't allow you to block these requests. And that is, in itself, annoying. The point people are making about guest accounts etc is that the complainant featured in the article is trying to turn a relatively minor complaint into some sort of bullshit "ZOMG THINK OF TEH KIDS" campaign. Frankly, he's shot himself in the foot there and this is what people are pointing out.

    Now, had he said "It's a simple thing but a real source of irritation and can clearly be fixed easily since the Windows client doesn't have this issue", there'd be more people on-side. But hey, why bother talking about the actual issue when we can do a and pretend that this is really about protecting kids from smut?

  18. Ryan

    "Sexy horny webcam & juicy tits sex webcam."

    Doesn't seem like pedophiles to me.

    God damn reactionaries.

  19. Chris C

    You're all idiots

    Have any of you commenters so far actually READ the article? If so, did you actually UNDERSTAND it? It appears not. This has zero to do with children. though that is the sub-point Mr. Scully demonstrated. The issue here is whether or not you're allowed to control whether strangers can contact you or not. For deity's sake, AIM has had that for, what, about a decade now? Where the technology allows you to control who can contact you, there's no reason to restrict such ability. I'm not saying that strangers should be denied contact requests by default, but users should be able to set it to deny such requests. There are many, many adults who don't want to be contacted by strangers (especially when it's nothing but spam), so this is not a child- or account-related issue.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Read the article before commenting

    @Chris C - Well said. Whether it is kids or not, let us choose whether we want to block requests or not.

    @John B - Article says the default is for contacts to be added. This is what the message looks like when it comes up on my mac too.

    @Yes, it's somehow magically Skype's fault.... - "just run Skype when he has to make a call".. Yeah, that's what I had to do to stop these. Problem is that I cant receive calls to my SkypeIn when I am logged out. Essentially it's like having a home phone which I plug in to make calls and keep unplugged at other times. Like @koenraad says, that's not idea.

    I'm just surprised Skype wont do anything about it even though articles are now being written about it.

  21. Stuart Hatto

    For pities sake

    I did read the article, three times.

    As I have pointed out, as a Skype user on Mac for some time now I have not received unsolicited messages since not using SkypeMe. So Skype do provide the capability.

    The article merely rasies the spectre of free anal sex if you are a Mac user and frankly thats a cheap and somewhat misguided shot.

    The reason I posted my first 'driver error' comment was to show that turning off SkypeMe does in fact work.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Read the article before commenting, Chris C

    I'm surprised that Skype won't do anything, but on the other hand people who complain about this fault being a massive issue and yet continue to use the software in the same way as before baffle me. There are two core questions here:

    1) As inconveniences go, is it minor or not?

    2) Are you a paying user?

    If YES and YES, complain to Skype Support and explain that they'll lose you as a customer, and stop using it in the meantime until they've addressed your issue.

    If NO and YES, complain to Skype Support and explain that they'll lose you as a customer, while using one of the workarounds described above.

    If YES and NO, consider the alternatives (iChat etc) and ask yourself why you've come to be so dependent on something for which you have no realistic service level agreement and to which you are not financially contributing.

    If NO and NO, you're probably not arsed enough to be in this comment thread.

    As for Chris C's "this has zero to do with children", perhaps you can explain that to the chap in the article who had a moan about how he felt this meant kids using his computer unsupervised ran the risk of being exposed to porny spambot messages?

    Christ, you'd swear 24-7 VoIP connectivity was required to keep people's hearts beating the way some people appear to view the issue...

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @For pities sake

    It may work for you. It doesn't work for me and - from what we can see here - others. If you're not getting them.... just goes to show that even "Sexy horny webcam & juicy tits sex webcam" and her crew have standards.. lol

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