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Skype Explains Outage
Software bug -- not security issue...
by Karl Bode 09:05AM Monday Aug 20 2007
Skype has posted an explanation for last week's global network outage, and says it all started as a chain reaction from millions of rebooting PCs that had installed Windows updates. The real culprit, however, was a Skype software bug:
quote:
The high number of restarts affected Skype’s network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact. Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly.
The company insists that the outage was in no way security related. "We would like to point out that very few technologies or communications networks today are guaranteed to operate without interruptions," says the company.

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Derspankster
Premium
join:2003-02-12
Marion, OH

1 recommendation

Still a Good Value

I am not bothered by the glitch. Skype is a good value for the money. I don't depend on it for all my telephone needs but it serves it's purpose for me just fine.
--
I thought I made a mistake once but I was wrong
pabster

join:2001-12-09
Waterloo, IA

Re: Still a Good Value

Agreed.

There isn't a VOIP service out there that hasn't had interruptions and problems, and on a far more frequent note than Skype.
dualsub2006

join:2007-07-18
Newport, KY

1 recommendation

I'm not exactly bothered by their glitch, though it did make me reconsider any additional Skype out accounts for employees. I love that plugin that makes phone numbers clickable in Firefox and Thunderbird and will keep it for these two reasons.

I do however call BS on the reason that they gave. Massive restarts of computers? So I guess that this is the first time ever that their 200+ million users have ever run Windows update since Skype was released. They thought about this all weekend and THAT was the best lie that they could come up with? If Skype loves their users so much they should man up and tell us what REALLY happened on Thursday.

I for one would have a lot more respect for them if they came out and said "hey, we got hacked" because EVERYONE in the world knows that is what happened.

voiplover
Premium
join:2004-05-28
Portsmouth, NH
Ho No! It was a global reboot attack!
theeinstein
Premium
join:2003-07-31
Fernandina Beach, FL

skypecast

Does this explain the erratic behavior of the skypecast service. I have been unable to use the skypecast for weeks now..

Anyone else experience this?

good4u

@pacbell.net

Re: skypecast

i hope so i was having erratic behavior with skypecast
two weeks ago

Doctor Four
My other vehicle is a TARDIS
Premium
join:2000-09-05
Dallas, TX

So much for the Russian Hacker claim...

On Slashdot yesterday there was a post that linked to
a Russian site where hackers boasted they had brought
down Skype.

»it.slashdot.org/it/07/08/18/2233219.shtml

Liars.
--
"The trouble with computers, of course, is that they are very sophisticated idiots." - Doctor Who (from Robot)

Raptor
Not a Dumptruck

join:2001-10-21
London, ON

Re: So much for the Russian Hacker claim...

Lying hackers...? How could I ever bring children into this world...:(

Subaru
1-3-2-4
Premium
join:2001-05-31
Greenwich, CT
kudos:1

I figured

that might happen yesterday I had the issue where all Skype wanted to do was try and connect and I can see how 2 million requests at the same time could cause issues.

inteller
Sociopaths always win.

join:2003-12-08
Tulsa, OK

When all else fails....blame Microsoft.

I see that Skype gets their business strategies from DSLR.

Windows updates happen all the time....deal with it.
--
"WHEN THE LAUGH TRACK STARTS THEN THE FUN STARTS!"
crucialcolin

join:2004-09-12
Roseville, CA

Re: When all else fails....blame Microsoft.

Yeah if that were in fact true we would see many many more outages like this happening with skype. Sounds like a bs excuse to hide what ever really happened.

I was considering getting a hardware phone for use with skype as a cheap alternate to my cell phone with for unlimited calling both ways($60 skypein $30 skypeout yearly) but with the already higher incoming cost over other voip providers and now this outage which will undoubtedly cause them to invest more resources causing future price increases worries me. I'm begging to think an open voip standard such as SIP is the way to go.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: When all else fails....blame Microsoft.

said by crucialcolin:

Yeah if that were in fact true we would see many many more outages like this happening with skype. Sounds like a bs excuse to hide what ever really happened.
Skype users not buying the explanation of outage.

»www.infoworld.com/article/07/08/···n_1.html
On Monday, Skype said the disruption was kicked off when a large number of Skype users restarted their computers after installing Microsoft's monthly security software updates, which were pushed out to Windows users starting on Tuesday.

"What was different this time from previous [Microsoft] updates?" asked Jim Courtney, a business consultant based in Mississauga, Ontario, and a contributor to the Skype Journal Web site.

Skype business partners want to know what went wrong and, more importantly, what steps the company has taken to ensure the problem won't happen again. "They've got to explain what they've done to increase the peer-to-peer network resources ... and they haven't done that," Courtney said.

Andrew Hansen, whose company designs software to work on the Skype network, said he's scratching his head over Skype's explanation of the problem. "What was released by their PR agency doesn't make any sense at all," he said.

Bambenek wonders why this kind of outage didn't occur earlier, what exactly went wrong, and what exactly Skype has done to prevent it from happening again in the future.

"The only thing I'm pretty sure of is that Skype is hiding information," he said.

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Test99
Premium
join:2003-04-24
San Jose, CA
kudos:1

So Few Supernodes

Most computers hide behind a router or firewall. That leaves very few computers that can be Skype supernodes. I always wondered how they would deal with this problem.
--
50775@fwd.pulver.com

Rick
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-06
Waterbury, CT

Just to be clear about it..

Skype isn't saying it was windows or microsofts fault.
Their exact wording says
"The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users’ computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update."

And so, they're acknowledging that what Microsoft was doing was pretty routine. What happened to skype however, wasn't.

I find it rather curious though, why this happened now?
Surely skype is seasoned enough to have been around for many a windows mass reboot across the globe. And, if their network "self healed" before, why it suffered a total nervous breakdown this time.

While I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I can't help but to wonder whether there is more to this hacking story than meets the eye.

I also can't help but to wonder why they seem so hellbent on saying it wasn't. It seems that during the course of this, they were more interested in providing updates about that than about what the problem was.

Again, that's just something else that makes me wonder.

ANYWAYS..HEY SKYPE???...GUESS WHAT?? No one really gives a hoot whether it was the result of that or not. People and companies are getting hacked all day long, everyday..and you'd be no different. Or, actually...maybe you would be because your service has been so damn stable for so many people for so long..you deserve high marks just for THAT.

Which, of course, is why people are so forgiving. Not to mention the no small fact that for all intents and purposes..your service has been basically free for many for so long. (He**..15.00 a year might as well be called that..right? )

I don't know whether anyone really uses your service as their primary one. It's probably a backup or secondary one for many. But, that's ok. It does the job fine for that...and probably more.

Keep doing what you're doing and if you're down for a couple days..no biggie.

Your 200 + Million fans will forgive you.
--
The Coyote captured the RR! Roadrunner Rick is now Comcastic!

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

Re: Just to be clear about it..

Running Microsoft as a _real_ server is an issue to begin with.
They should be running something a little more robust - something *nix for example (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, etc).
--
Canada = Hollywood North
theeinstein
Premium
join:2003-07-31
Fernandina Beach, FL

Re: Just to be clear about it..

said by en102:

Running Microsoft as a _real_ server is an issue to begin with.
They should be running something a little more robust - something *nix for example (Linux, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, etc).
How about we not peddle this garbage any further.. All the flavors have their place and they all have their weaknesses..

I swear these Linux people think their all alone in the world!

X_Digit
Binary Enhanced
Premium
join:2003-06-12
Mansfield, TX

1 edit

Thruthful...

The fact that they are BLAMING it on a software bug, and NOT passing the buck onto outside sources... leaves me solely to believe that they are truthful, and a VERY respectable company.

Most, would've passed the buck on their host services, hackers, etc. claiming their own software is 100% operational and w/o bugs.
--
Respectfully, X_Digit

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

Re: Thruthful...

said by X_Digit:

The fact that they are BLAMING it on a software bug, and NOT passing the buck onto outside sources... leaves me solely to believe that they are truthful, and a VERY respectable company.
Right. And I've got a bridge to sell to you. Name one company that would ever willingly admit they were hacked if people didn't already know about it.
--
The Toll


greendragon
Premium
join:2003-09-20
Stewartville, MN

Re: Thruthful...

Yeah?!?! When was this supposed bridge last inspected??? (he's not pulling a fast one on me...)
--
Folding for our future!!

HardwareGeek

join:2003-11-15
Brooklyn, NY

They edited their post

Anyone notice how they edited their post so it seems like they aren't blaming Microsoft now
--
Email/MSN: Michael at hardwaregeeks.comAIM: MikeR35292
blacksurfer

join:2002-07-14
Sherman Oaks, CA

Re: They edited their post

I don't belive the massive reboot story. Those guys were smart to sell to Ebay for billions. God Bless em.

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ

I don't understand how this could happen.

My Verizon POST phone works all of the time.

coxta
Ultramundane
Premium
join:2000-07-15
LALALALALALA

Peer to Peer?

P-to-P network. In Skype's case, that means all the user computers. Keep in mind that using Skype allows bandwidth and CPU utilization for other uses in addition to your call. If you have several users on a single network that utilize Skype, you can eat up a lot of bandwidth.
--
Experience is the knowledge that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

Doctor Love

@poundhost.com

Coincidence or Result of Fix for Protect America Act?

\\\"Is it considerable coincidence, or a sign of modifications which would inevitably be difficult to execute without significant disruption?

Around 2 weeks ago the Bush administration pushed through Congress a law to bolster the government’s ability to intercept electronic communications without a court order.

The so-called Protect America Act, which passed both the House and Senate by wide margins just before Congress went on its August recess, allows the government to intercept the phone calls and e-mails of people in the United States who communicate with people overseas, and for the first time, allows the government to intercept communications between foreigners which are merely routed through the United States, as well as conversations of Americans traveling abroad.\\\"

Full Article: »www.iraq-war.ru/article/138651R

NyQuil Kid
8f The Nyquil Kid

join:2001-01-06
Brick, NJ

1 edit

Re: Coincidence or Result of Fix for Protect America Act?

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[8F] The NyQuil Kid

Skype

Recently ordered majicjack and actually impressed for what it is. Still a Skype user, but noticed that ebabe hiked all the prices for what seemed to be cheep before the buyout. Majic-jack is a flat 20 a year for outgoing. You might not like where the incoming originates from. Seems like they only had about 6 states to choose from. So I just tell everybody I call that I am in vegas today!
But for 20 a year, it rocks for outgoing!

Dude111
An Awesome Dude
Premium
join:2003-08-04
USA
kudos:12

 

I dont think they would admit if it was some idiot that caused it......

But its good they got it back up...