Skype blames Patch Tuesday for triggering blackout

Service was restored Friday after a two-day outage

Skype has blamed last week's Windows security updates for triggering a bug in its software that brought down the Internet telephony service for more than 48 hours.

Service was restored late Friday.

The Skype peer-to-peer network became unstable and suffered a critical disruption" beginning last Thursday, said spokesman Villu Arak in a statement posted on the company's site. "The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users' computers across the globe within a very short time frame as they rebooted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update."

According to Arak, the large number of restarts started a chain reaction that brought down the service. After users' machines rebooted and came back online, Skype was hit with a "flood" of attempted log-ins that, combined with a smaller-than-usual number of systems available to handle the peer-to-peer traffic, caused the blackout.

Although Skype fingered Tuesday's Windows updates for triggering the outage, it said the root cause was "a previously unseen software bug within the network resource-allocation algorithm" that prevented the network from recovering on its own, as it was supposed to do.

"Skype has now identified and already introduced a number of improvements to its software to ensure that our users will not be similarly affected in the unlikely possibility of this combination of events recurring," Arak added. The company did not specify what that combination of events may have been and did not explain how this month's updates were different from past rounds of patches.

For example, Microsoft's security updates have been on their current schedule of the second Tuesday of each month since October 2003, before Skype left beta testing. And required restarts are the norm for many of Microsoft's security updates. Nor was the quantity of restarts last week -- five of August's nine updates required a reboot -- out of line with previous months. In July, for instance, four of six updates also restarted affected PCs.

Some Windows users weren't buying the explanation. "If a 'massive restart' was the cause of the problem, it should have happened long ago," said Marcus McCurdy in a comment posted on the istartedsomething blog. "Definitely calling BS on this one."

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?