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Communications Software

Skype Blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage 286

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the ddos-ing-yourself dept.
brajesh writes to tell us that Skype has blamed its outage over the last week on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. Apparently the huge numbers of computers rebooting (and the resulting flood of login requests) revealed a problem with the network allocation algorithm resulting in a couple days of downtime. Skype further stressed that there was no malicious activity and user security was never in any danger.
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Skype Blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage

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  • Is it just me (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jimbug (1119529) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:56AM (#20294247)
    or is that a pretty lame reason for a 2 day downtime?
  • Re:Yeah........ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Iso (1088207) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:56AM (#20294249)
    Care to elaborate, Hercule Poirot?
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:59AM (#20294285)
    .... the fact that a bunch of computers rebooting at the same time would bring down Skype is troubling. One thing worth noting, if this was truly the cause, why haven't we seen this before? Patch Tuesday happens every month, so we should have seen something like this sooner.

    Methinks Skype has other issues that they don't want to admit to, so it's easier to sort of blame M$.
  • Grow up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Organic User (1103717) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:03PM (#20294353)
    It was just a few days ago the Open Source elders asked people to stop bashing Microsoft. Skype did not blame Microsoft for the outage. They admitted the fault was in their software. We are not children here or part of a cult. This type of child play is no appreciated here.
  • Re:Yeah........ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dc29A (636871) * on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:09PM (#20294437)

    Care to elaborate, Hercule Poirot?
    Some information here [zdnet.com] and here [skype.com].

    Skype network was overloaded by the zillions of Windows PCs rebooting after the patch installations.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:11PM (#20294451) Homepage

    Note that nowhere in Skype's announcement does the word "Microsoft" appear.

    It's very striking how, when some major vulnerability appears, Microsoft's name doesn't appear prominently in news releases.

    It also reminds you that Redmond has the power to reboot most of the computers in the world remotely. What if, one day, they didn't come back up?

  • Re:Yeah........ (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jimstapleton (999106) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:13PM (#20294475) Journal
    installing two patches, two dozen patches or even two thousand patches...

    You still typically need to reboot when done. In this case, I don't think the load should have been a big issue - other than what was mentioned by another reply, namely that it would increase the variance of time for when the reboots occured (differing connection speeds). This would actually be to the advantage of Skype I'd think.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:22PM (#20294597) Homepage Journal
    "you would need to replace the Skype mono-culture, not the Windows mono-culture."
    Not really why do you think that any exploit for Windows is so dangerous? Even then if you think about it the idea that EVERY windows system is going to have to reboot on a certian day is just laughable.
  • Re:Oh please! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xtracto (837672) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:26PM (#20294637) Journal
    Skype Blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage

    For the love of God editors, I understand that it is fine to write a sensationalist title on some articles but that is blatant FALSE. It is a complete LIE. People at Skype specifically stated that the fault was in *their* log-in mechanisms.

    Really this kind of journalism is disgusting... I am tagging this story as LIE which I hope other people do as well, unless editors change the title.

    I find hard to believe Slashdot has got so low... this and the speculative digg-like "articles" ending with a question mark "?", What the fuck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:35PM (#20294743)
    Perhaps it would be troubling if they were blaming Microsoft. In this case they explained that the large number of simultaneous reboots and subsequent logins simply stressed their servers. They further stated that their "self healing" did not function as designed. It is strange that earlier "patch Tuesdays" did not cause this to occur, but as I write code I find that many behaviors I see in my applications are strange until I truly understand their root cause. It may have been that the software was resilient to a point and then just fell over. Perhaps the point that it fell over was when the "self healing" kicked in and hit its fatal bug.

    Load testing is hard. I know. I used to do it. It is hard to anticipate what your peak load might be. It can also be hard to generate the right kinds and volumes of loads that your service might experience. Proper load testing requires a realistic test bed with enough machines running client simulation scripts to sufficiently load the machine. This requires a deep understanding from management that spending large amounts of money on non-production systems is essential. Your setup might deal with some kinds of load well and fail on others. Perhaps Skype had considered what might happen during a natural disaster with a large number of calls originating at the same time, but neglected to see login as a significant risk, especially if they had weathered that storm before.

    My least proud moment in quality assurance was seeing my company's service go down for a weekend due to excessive database load. We had a new version of our web service software that required significant database changes to each user account (including database structure redesign...go ahead and wade through that hard book on database principles before you start coding my friends...funny its what I'm doing right now as I go from QA dude to programmer). We made an upgrade script that ran when each user logged in, which brought the user's data up to date with the current version of our software. The thing is I knew about the risk, measured a high load at user login, notified engineering about the potential problem, but didn't demand that the upgrade be placed on hold until the issue could be better quantified. Ah, live and learn.

    -Jon
  • Cry much, noobs? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:37PM (#20294767)
    Wah! Our system can't handle many users logging in at the same time, wah!! It's Microsoft's fault we can't figure out how to fix it, wah!!

    Typical FOSSies must work for Skype: always blaming their lack of coding skill on Microsoft.
  • hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by el_coyotexdk (1045108) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:41PM (#20294827)
    Arent people usually complaining that windows userd doesnt install the security patches? now people complain that they actually DO install them... WHEN OH WHEN is people satified?
  • Re:P2P dumbness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Monday August 20, 2007 @12:43PM (#20294867) Homepage Journal
    <sarcasm> Sure, we can do that. Just before you make any calls we'll need you to lay copper directly from your location, to the location of the person you are trying to reach. </sarcasm>

    Hello, it's the freaking internet, you're call is going to get routed to hell and back. Encrypted or not, you're going to be bouncing from routers to ISPs, to backbones, and back down the other side, and depending on your flavor you may even have a 3rd party provider to talk to in the loop.

    -Rick
  • Re:Yeah........ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:03PM (#20295053) Homepage
    It just goes to show that you DON'T have control over your machine when it's running Microsoft Windows and it's on the internet. We have seen problems that result from this level of consumer trust in Microsoft before. I just have to wonder how much more will consumers tolerate? Seems like plenty since most people thing that anything Microsoft does is normal.
  • How do you know your phone service has never been out in 60 years? Do you monitor it? How many calls a day do you make? Are you home 24/7 and do you use the phone all the time, as in more than 10,000 minutes per month?

    Sure, you've never been affected by an outage of your phone service, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been out of service ever.

    Plus, you pay for it too. At $30-40/month per line, you expect minimal outages. When you are paying $30/year or even nothing, a two day outage, while annoying, isn't surprising, especially when operated on a public network. Your phone line is on a private, dedicated network. You simply can't compare the two when it comes to uptime.

    If all of Skype's customers paid $30-40/month, I'm much more confident that they wouldn't have had this outage.
  • Re:Wiretap law? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:23PM (#20295287)
    Companies doing business in the US are oligated to follow US law wrt their operations in the US.
     
    Otherwise the law has no point really, especially for internet companies, since it's easy enough to set up an overseas shell company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:54PM (#20295655)

    This is why I won't even consider VoIP. Why in the world would I want to take risks like this?

    I hear you, buddy. Maybe someday, someone somewhere will figure out a way to do VoIP without it being utterly dependent on Skype's login service. Until Skype is reliable, there is no point to subscribing to Vonage, Comcast, Verizon or AT&T's VoIP offerings.

    And don't get me started on Asterisk, Cisco, Avaya and 3Com! How many businesses came in Thursday morning to find that their PBXes were down due to Skype making VoIP so risky. Bet they were pissed.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:12PM (#20295855)
    There's a difference between a reason and an excuse. The *reason* the network went down was related to the MS patches. That's not an excuse -- Skype admits there is no excuse, and is now fixing their code.

    Isn't this how it's supposed to work?
  • by spacefight (577141) on Monday August 20, 2007 @02:19PM (#20295917)
    Under this circumstance, I think it was funny, that they recommended leaving the client running in order to reconnect automagically again once the login service was fixed. Sounds like a bad idea while having login issues...
  • Re:Oh please! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday August 20, 2007 @03:06PM (#20296511) Homepage Journal

    For the love of God editors, I understand that it is fine to write a sensationalist title on some articles but that is blatant FALSE. It is a complete LIE. People at Skype specifically stated that the fault was in *their* log-in mechanisms.

    Really? So when they said [skype.com], "[t]he 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", they didn't really mean it?

    Come on, just admit that you're wrong. It was a fault with their auth service in the sense that it wasn't able to cope with a Patch Tuesday-induced slashdotting that it wasn't designed for.

    After watching Sycko now I am very afraid to live in the USA. How can you live there?

    The same way Australians can live in Australia, even though I've seen "The Road Warrior" and personally would not wish to.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday August 20, 2007 @03:44PM (#20296967) Homepage
    It's even easier to have someone else to blame and not RTFA.

    Welcome to Slashdot.

  • by twitter (104583) on Monday August 20, 2007 @04:53PM (#20297671) Homepage Journal

    SKYPE is blaming Skype for the outage quite contrary to the completely misleading headline on this article.

    No, I don't know better [slashdot.org]. They have takes some part of the blame but a M$ anomaly was the initiating cause. To be fair to Skype you have to admit that 85% of the world's computers turning off at the same time is not an event a normal person would predict nor could such an event be tested in advance. M$'s synchronized forced updates are a menace.

  • by Kalriath (849904) on Monday August 20, 2007 @05:00PM (#20297769)
    No, it's just another example of your moronic blinding hatred of a company. EVERY other software distribution has [frequent, but not necessarily monthly] updates that require a restart like this. Sane software distributions make fixes available as soon as they are ready [including Microsoft, for sufficient values of criticality]. For marketing and big dumb company reasons, Microsoft saves them up for a once a month ordeal instead of letting users have things in a timely fashion and chose their time and size of their pain [at least for the non-important ones. Go figure, huh?]. This problem was significant but is trivial next to threat posed by the 60% of all Linux computers that belong to a botnet [see, I can make numbers up too!].

    Sure, there was a problem with Skype's code and Skype admitted to it, but the initiating factor is all Twitter. That's blame casting and Twitter deserves it. The summary mentions the code flaw, so I don't see what your problem besides an outsided [fuck! Even Firefox has no idea what that word means!] love for an incompetent software maker. For anyone to report things differently is to misconstrue things [notice I altered this sentence slightly. Also note that it's no more bullshit than your sentence].
  • by SEMW (967629) on Monday August 20, 2007 @08:06PM (#20299179)
    ...Huh? Why would this affect MS in the least, let alone strike "a huge blow against Windows on the wordstation"? It's not as if this will happen every month: It was a one off due to a bug in Skype's network algorithms, it's already been fixed, and the chances of it happening again are negligibe.
  • Serves Skype right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SurturZ (54334) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:17PM (#20300689) Homepage Journal
    Serves Skype right for making their program a systray app that starts when Windows does :-)

    Sorry. I have a rabid hatred of TSRs. Particularly those that don't show up in the Startup folder.

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