Why in the world would I want to install a Skype “extra” that lets people change my inbound ringtone? i.e. they can make my version of Skype ring with a different ringtone than I have it configured for – or play annoying messages. I can only imagine working in an office and having Skype set to have a quiet non-obtrusive ring… and then suddenly someone calls me with some loud and really obnoxious ring (or profane or pornographic).
Why would I want to do this?
Scanning my personal email this morning, I had a “newsletter” from Skype encouraging me to download the latest version (which I found especially ironic given that I’m running the very latest version) and in that newsletter they highlighted several “extras” by name. One was “Ringjacker” and had this text:
Hijack your friend’s ringtone â€“ ring them up with your music.
Okay, I’m a security guy… mention something like that and yes, Skype, you have my attention. In looking at the Ringjacker page in the Extras gallery, it has this ominous text (my emphasis added):
Ringjackerâ„¢ is the next generation of ringtone released on Skype phones. It is an optional plug-in application in Skype that enables Skype callers to ring up other Skype users with a selection of songs, tracks and sound effects. Ringjackerâ„¢ is a perfect conversation starter. The free plug-in lets a caller make his or her friendsâ€™ Skype phone ring with any of a range of audio tracks, including perenial Electronica, classic seasonal songs, and various hilarious animal calls to surprise and delight the recipient. Ringjackerâ„¢ allows the user to temporarily hijack his or her friendsâ€™ Skype ringer and will be available worldwide via the Skype 3.0 distribution.
The perfect “conversation starter“? I can think of a few other choice words. Perhaps I’m just a control freak, but I don’t want anyone messing with MY phone configuration! Naturally at this point, my curiousity – and concern – was getting heightened. Was this going to make me uninstall Skype or leave it in DND mode all the time? So I went over to the Ringjacker home page to learn more about the company. Thankfully, on the help page they answered my question:
(Note: if the contact does not have Ringjacker installed, the contact will be sent a message asking the contact to install Ringjacker. Only after the contact has installed Ringjacker will you be able to make a Ringjacker call to that contact.)
Whew! So in other words the only people who will be bothered by Ringjacker’s tones are those who choose to install this extra. Which goes back to my original question – why in the world would someone want to install this extra?
Now, I’m all for experimentation and encouraging people to try out wacky ideas, but I just don’t get it. I guess that the Ringjacker folks believe this will be “fun”. Maybe I’m just being a grumpy curmudgeon who needs to drink more tea before blogging in the morning… but the only thing I can see installing this extra would do is set myself up for more annoyances! What do you think? Would any of you actually use this? Since we’re on a security blog, I’m betting no, but thought I’d ask… 🙂
P.S. Judging by the user comments in the Skype extras site, there appear to also be some technical issues, although many of those may be with Skype’s own Extras component.