IM security specialist FaceTime has joined the ranks of companies which claim to have cracked one of the industry's toughest feats – the ability to detect and filter out Skype 2.0 traffic.

The new version of its IMAuditor platform, now in version 7.0, adds the anti-Skype feature to its already comprehensive IM-detection arsenal, and can also now log and archive WebEx sessions as well.

Blocking and controlling applications such as Skype – considered to be the toughest P2P application to halt – has recently become an important feature on application monitoring systems, although only a tiny number of products currently achieve this through packet analysis.

The system comes in two pieces. The IMAuditor is a proxying appliance which allows applications to be run in a controlled way, as well as monitoring the processes of what the company terms “greynet” software. This could be one of a number of programs such as IM, VoIP, P2P and conferencing applications

The RTGuardian (RTG) Linux appliance, meanwhile, carries out the application detection and control function and, in the case of the new filtering feature, is the part that stops unauthorised Skype sessions within a network.

How it achieves this is not something the company's vice president of product management, Srini Gurrapu, was eager to discuss in detail beyond describing the process as “heuristic”. Skype is notoriously difficult to detect, and is considered nearly impossible to stop once it has set up an encrypted call.

Customers had asked for the new filtering, he said, after becoming worried about the implications for compliance of running an almost undetectable application that was able to set up IM, file transfer, video and phone calls. The software was also prey to its own clutch of security vulnerabilities.

“There will be more and more of these (greynet) applications coming on to the market,” he predicted, adding that other IM networks such as Yahoo were starting to add Skype-like features to avoid detection.

As well as adding Skype and WebEx control, the new release tidies up other areas of the software and reporting elements of the system, and builds in CA's eTrust anti-virus engine to scan IM traffic for viruses.

“The adoption of instant messaging applications and their rapid convergence with P2P, VoIP, and Web conferencing technologies can expose organisations to significant business risks,” agreed Robert Mahowald of IDC.