Skype: What Really Happened

Skype: What Really HappenedNow for the moment that we’ve all been waiting for. Many of us have speculated about the different reasons that Skype went down last week. Some said that it was caused by Russian Hackers, but Skype came out to deny this.

Skype needed to answer the world, though. If you read the Heartbeat blog today, you will see their official statement:

On Thursday, 16th August 2007, the Skype peer-to-peer network became unstable and suffered a critical disruption. 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.

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. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.

The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype. We can confirm categorically that no malicious activities were attributed or that our users’ security was not, at any point, at risk.

Sounds like people need to modify their default Windows Update settings. Or do you all think that this is a cover-up answer? Interested in hearing your thoughts on this one.

14 Comments

  1. If that is the case, then why haven’t we seen this before. Windows releases patches to everyone at the same time so, thanks to auto-update, this should have happened before. That being said, who cares!? Skype is alright software, but anyone using it for mission critical apps is asking for trouble. Anyone using it to talk to grandma back home, take a weekend off and research different Linux distros. It’s time well spent!

  2. @darryl: well put. While I was reporting that’s why Skype said, I’m not sure if we are hearing the whole story. I know that when it takes a company so many days to give an answer as to what happened, there is probably more to the story.

  3. It wasn’t until then that I realised how much I relied on Skype. It’s always hard to complain about a product or service that is essentially free.

  4. @rick: true, many people now consider Skype an essential part of their business. Also true that we don’t have much justification to complain about a free service. Sounds like Skype may have a case for paid subscriptions? Too late at this point.

  5. Sounds like Skype spinning some sort of story that hides the truth (whatever that may be!).

  6. Seems a bit fishy to me, that’s all I have to say.

  7. I’m having trouble believing the “Windows update” story. As Darryl said earlier, if that was the real reason, why didn’t it happen before? I’m not sure why was that “previously unseen software bug” never seen before in similar situations?? That said, I was not personally affected much, aside from being a bit annoyed when trying to talk to my family.

  8. @amr – agreed. It does seem far fetched. At least you were not affected in a major way – glad that it was only an inconvenience for you.

  9. I can see why people are unsure whether or not this is a load of lies. Blaming Microsoft is just too perfect! Personally, I believe the Skype guys.

  10. @onesevenone – thanks for the pingback!

    @devolute – it is certainly possible that what Skype is claiming – the massive Windows Update reboot – is responsible, but still it begs the question: what about previous Windows Updates?

  11. @mike: good post. Maybe next time write a little of it over in your comment before making the reader jump to another blog, k?

  12. Maybe Micro$oft should figure out how to update windows without needing a damn reboot every time. I only have to reboot in linux if i update the kernel, can’t Micro$soft figure out how to do that?

  13. @some dood: if MS did that, it wouldn’t be easier than ever, lol 🙂

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