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Skype Blames Microsoft Patch Tuesday for Outage

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the ddos-ing-yourself dept.

Communications 286

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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Yeah........ (2, Interesting)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294233)

Somehow, I don't think thats the real story.

Re:Yeah........ (4, Insightful)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294249)

Care to elaborate, Hercule Poirot?

Re:Yeah........ (4, Interesting)

Ulven (679148) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294307)

This wasn't exactly the first ever Patch Tuesday. And didn't skype break on a Thursday anyway?

Re:Yeah........ (4, Interesting)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294347)

Yeah, but Patch Tuesday usually involves a dozen patches or less, any handful of which (2-3) might apply to any one system. This one included more than 50 patches, 12 of which were needed by most computers in my office.

Re:Yeah........ (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294377)

Actually, many patches should make is _less_ severe, as the reboots are spread across a larger timeframe.

Re:Yeah........ (1)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294657)

It depends. For the US East Coast, the patches are installed overnight - which would place Europe in the early morning hours and West Coast in the evening, and the machines are rebooted. The vast majority of such computers than hangs on the login screen, so Skype doesn't load. I'd expect the bulk of the oncoming Skype traffic to come at 9AM GMT and then again at 9AM Eastern Time when people logged into their workstations.

Re:Yeah........ (1)

Rethcir (680121) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294843)

Didn't RTFA yet, but they shoulda co-lo'ed that shit

Re:Yeah........ (1, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294475)

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.

Skype said it's the reboots that matter (3, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294515)

Skype said the problem wasn't the specific patches, but the fact that everybody rebooted at once. Patch Tuesday doesn't always require rebooting your machine, but my home machine got rebooted; my work machine also rebooted but sometimes that's because of what else my IT department wants to do when they're downloading the Microsoft patches, so it's hard for me to tell.


Maybe the average machine had more downtime on this month's reboot? Or the reboots happened in a more concentrated time window?

Re:Yeah........ (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294909)

But then, if it was the resulting flood of log-ons that caused the problem, either a whole lot of people all got on their computers and logged in to Skype at the same time, or a whole lot of people had their computers reboot after applying the patches all at the same time and had them set up to automatically log in to Windows and Skype (and last time I checked, you needed TweakUI for the former). Either one seems pretty unlikely to me...

Re:Yeah........ (3, Informative)

nigelo (30096) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294985)

Windows XP Home has automatic login as the default, with no username/password screen.

Re:Yeah........ (4, Informative)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294611)

That's when the patches occurred.

I had to leave town and usually leave Thunderbird up and running to filter my mail on my IMAP account so my laptop syncs without having to redo all the filters I have in place. After no reboot on Tuesday I was relieved that I wouldn't have an issue with a down T-bird unless the power went out - which never happens unless I leave town (happened only once before).
Sure enough, none of my mail is filtered after Thursday. Come home this morning and see "Your computer has been recently updated" balloon.

Wiretap law? (5, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294431)

Given that this baby [washingtonpost.com] was steamrolled through the Congress two weeks ago, the outage seems coincidental.

Consider that Skype could not tell the users of the real reason even if they wanted to: the law mandates that the forced cooperation be kept in secret.

Re:Wiretap law? (0, Redundant)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294763)

Very insightful. Perhaps the only logical explanation given the duration of service outage.

Re:Wiretap law? (4, Interesting)

orzetto (545509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294777)

Given that this baby [wiretap law] was steamrolled through the Congress two weeks ago, the outage seems coincidental.

Interesting point, but Skype is based in Luxembourg and has no obligation to US law. Then again, they are owned by eBay, but just because they are owned by a US company does not mean much: they do not have to follow every shareholder's local law.

Re:Wiretap law? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295023)

Interesting point, but Skype is based in Luxembourg and has no obligation to US law. Then again, they are owned by eBay, but just because they are owned by a US company does not mean much
You think the US Federal Gov't is above bullying a parent company in order to get their wholly owned subsidiary in line?

Not to mention that Skype has a US office, which means they do have some obligation to follow US laws.

Re:Wiretap law? (5, Funny)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294815)

Given that this baby [wiretaping law] was steamrolled through the Congress two weeks ago, the outage seems coincidental.

Consider that Skype could not tell the users of the real reason even if they wanted to: the law mandates that the forced cooperation be kept in secret.

Yes, the US government ordered Skype (a UK company, btw) to shut down for two days and blame it on Microsoft, and they complied. Hint: The aluminum foil goes on your head, not crammed forcibly into your ear.

Re:Yeah........ (3, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Yeah........ (1, Flamebait)

griffjon (14945) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294967)

Well then maybe Skype should put more effort into getting their Linux and Mac versions up to date (video support, anyone?) Less worries about mass rebooting, at least...

Re:Yeah........ (1)

extrasupermario (1084831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294267)

Sure but the question remains, why are they not running Linux?

Re:Yeah........ (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294625)

I thought that at first too but

The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users' computers
So they very well could be running Linux.

You're right. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294291)

It was the network pixies. They were on strike.

 

Re:Yeah........ (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294409)

Something was different last week wrt Microsoft. I had six servers reboot that had autoupdates turned off. My desktop system running 2003R2 and my laptop running XP also rebooted w/o my permission. We have quite a few pissed-off customers because of the updates. It was an unusual situation.

Re:Yeah........ (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295053)

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.

Re:Yeah........ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294421)

I think they just managed to hire twitter for their disaster analysis team, he can find a way to blame anything on microsoft.

Oh please! (1, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294447)

Somehow, I don't think thats the real story.

Everyone knows that the Slashdot editors only post informed, unbiased article summaries with accurate titles!

And they are ESPECIALLY thorough when the article even tangentially mentions Microsoft.

Re:Oh please! (5, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294637)

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.

Cry much, noobs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Yeah........ (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294801)

Actually the problem was all the Macs that were left online by themselves...

Is it just me (2, Insightful)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294247)

or is that a pretty lame reason for a 2 day downtime?

it's just you (2, Informative)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294355)

I've had much longer downtimes for much lamer reasons. Of course, I'm a pretty bad programmer.

Informative?!?!? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294817)

hopefully not to my employer

Skype did not blame Microsoft (5, Informative)

wompa (656355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294253)

I am not a MS fanboy but it needs to be pointed out that Skype blamed a flaw in their self-healing algorithm that was highlighted by patch Tuesday. They took responsibility.

Re:Skype did not blame Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294387)

Right on, very lame excuse. Skype better starts an eBay Patch Monday to be ready for the login flood of the next day ...

Re:Skype did not blame Microsoft (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294927)

Please join me in tagging this 'badjournalism'. Skype does not blame Microsoft. They blame their own code.

I'm sorry.. (0)

Themer (994454) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294257)

I hate MS just as much as the next guy but that is one of the lamest excuses I have ever heard...

If this were true... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294261)

Why hadn't it happened every other month the same thing happens?

Skype Blames Skype for Outage (5, Informative)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294273)

The minute I saw the headlines on some of the blogs about this, I KNEW it'd be on Slashdot with the same misleading headline.

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 issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype.


That's what Skype says. Doesn't sound like they're blaming anyone but themselves.

wait... lemme get this right.... (-1, Redundant)

MSFanBoi2 (930319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294275)

They say in the press release "revealed a problem with the network allocation algorithm resulting in a couple days of downtime"...

And then blame it on Microsoft's Patch Tuesday? Um, Microsoft has been doing Patch Tuesdays for quite a while now. Why didn't the same issue occur a few months ago when Microsoft relased almost double the number of patches as this month?

In other words, Skype has no one to blame but themselves and need to shift it off elsewhere.

Blaming Microsoft? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294277)

From the Article:

The issue has now been identified explicitly within Skype.

Yup! Skype sure is "blaming" Microsoft for the outage!

Assuming this is true... (1, Insightful)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#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$.

Re:Assuming this is true... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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

Re:Assuming this is true... (0, Redundant)

ucla74 (1093323) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294773)

Except Skype didn't "sort of blame" Microsoft. If your car has a flat tire, and I point out that fact to you, do you "sort of blame" me for the flat tire? Yes, I know...another weak automobile analogy. The internal combustion engine really needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Re:Assuming this is true... (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294785)

methinks you didn't rtfa because they didn't blame microsoft

Re:Assuming this is true... (4, Interesting)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294809)

Hey look, if I'm a skilled corporate comms officer -- and I have no doubt Skype has one of those --, and I have to lie about an outage, I'd do it so that it would be believable. All they had to say was:
We recently upgraded our login server authentification routines, and in spite of our testing, we missed something.

The underlying problem with Skype has always been the auth server: everything has to go through it. Worse, when a supernode goes down (e.g., reboots due to a planned install), everything connected to that supernode has to go through it. Now, Skype has been growing pretty fast, pretty much every week their auth servers handle more traffic than the previous week. Your average user might not reboot all computers at the same moment, but what about big enterprises?

And how does Skype pick its supernodes? We know one of the criteria is bandwidth. So let's say in some part of the world where a bunch of little skype clients are wired to a few big bandwidth providers, patch Tuesday hits, and a bunch of those supernodes reset at the same time. The Auth server is hit with the traffic, not from the rebooting supernode, but from all the clients connected to it. That's "peak load" for your auth server, and it increases every patch Tuesday.

Re:Assuming this is true... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294847)

Bingo. Patch Tuesday happens once a month and has for at least as long as Skype has been around.

Also, I would think that if a bunch of computers rebooting at the same time brings down Skype's network, Patch Tuesday would be the least of their problems.

Now I haven't used Skype at all, but I'm willing to bet that they have some serious scalability problems and that there have been multiple complaints in the performance department lately.

Website outage also because of Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294299)

Seems like it is slashdotted.

Monoculture and software failures (-1, Offtopic)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294309)

If this really is true reason behind the outage, you can't really blame Skype! How on earth could you anticipate this failure mode?

And that's really the point. This is why a software monoculture sucks. Suddenly the security of each node on the network has the potential to affect the reliability of every other node.

This would be just as true if everyone ran BSD or everyone ran Linux or everyone ran OSX. It's not so much the product (although none of the operating systems available today were designed with security in mind from the start) that's the problem but the fact it forms a monoculture.

A hard-nosed person might say the real solution is to design a secure OS. The problem with that approach is that an OS is very complicated. There's an adage that it takes a certain amount of effort to write some code, it takes the square of that effort to debug it. I want to add to that and say it probably takes the cube of that effort to get security; possibly more. In light of that , designing a secure OS is uneconomical and maybe even impossible.

This is why breaking the monoculture is important was to reduce the damage a defect can cause; it allows us to divide the risk across many separate implementations.

Simon

Re:Monoculture and software failures (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294455)

If it is a flaw in the self-healing mechanism, then I don't know if this is such a good reason. A whole internet rebooting is something to be scared of though. I presume that can be helped by rebooting systems in some sort of time-schedule.

I think the "mono-culture" thing is an interesting argument, but nobody is going to add or change operating systems because of this reason. So the argument is mostly academic. Furthermore, to solve this problem, you would need to replace the Skype mono-culture, not the Windows mono-culture.

Re:Monoculture and software failures (1)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294559)

I think the "mono-culture" thing is an interesting argument, but nobody is going to add or change operating systems because of this reason. So the argument is mostly academic. Furthermore, to solve this problem, you would need to replace the Skype mono-culture, not the Windows mono-culture.

Yes, that's also a good point. My argument isn't specific to an operating system monoculture; it applies equally to an application-level monoculture. This is why I believe in multiple implementations around a central open standard. Not only does the competition between the different implementations drive up the quality of each implementation but also its security too.

Simon

Re:Monoculture and software failures (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294597)

"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:Monoculture and software failures (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294485)

While your point is valid it's not really relevant to this particular situation since it was a single implementation of VOIP that died.


Skype going down had zero impact on my life or my network. If a computer is relying solely on Skye for VOIP then your statements would be relevant to the story. This is why I have both Cisco VOIP and Vertical's VOIP implemented into my network. The Cisco as a backup to my primary PBX. It's not as functional but during a failure mode it will still allow us to call out and to receive calls so it'll work.


Monoculture is indeed bad, Skype runs on multiple platforms though and all platforms for affected. The headline is horridly misleading.

Re:Monoculture and software failures (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294495)

A hard-nosed person might say the real solution is to design a secure OS.

A reasonable one might suggest Slashdot change their misleading headline, and recommend Skype fix their network. It's not like this is the first Patch Tuesday in history, or the last.

It's convenient to blame Microsoft, I think. Skype knows all over the internets today people will be waxing poetic about "software monoculture" and "M$ Windoze is teh suxxorz" instead of questioning why a simple DoS they're supposed to be able to handle also caused a massive two-day outage.

Re:Monoculture and software failures (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294549)

How on earth could you anticipate this failure mode?

You can anticipate this failure mode quite easily. Its happened last month, and the month before, and the month before ...

The parent obviously didn't read the article, or even the summary. The flaw was from computers REBOOTING at the same time, nothing to do with what Microsoft was patching.

Re:Monoculture and software failures (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294627)

"Monoculture". I am not convinced you even know what that means.

Re:Monoculture and software failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294929)

IMHO, yes, you can blame Skype. Should a worldwide telecommunications company be prepared to handle a large number of simultaneous logons? Umm, yea. Do they have system/network monitoring that has pretty little graphs showing utilization that spikes when MS releases patches? Yea, prolly. How can you anticipate it? Because its your job to monitor it and make sure you arent pushing the limits of your network.

BTW - Wouldnt a non-OS related incident, such as a brown/black out, have had the same result?

Anonymous Coward

Hardly the first time (1)

joeld.uk (1145205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294337)

So Skype users everywhere inadvertantly caused a massive DDoS on Skypes Authentication servers? This is hardly the first time that MS has released patches on a single day, the name Patch tuesday implies they always release on the same day. How is this day any different? Maybe that it took Skype so long to determine they were being "attacked".

So, their servers got hammered (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294345)

I can imagine that an awful lot of people rebooted and logged back into the service crashing their servers. It seems to me that this type of thing should be built into surge capacity so that if the servers started getting hammered, they would just bounce the users that they could not handle while sending back a message saying the server was busy and to try again later. Other services do this. And it's not like patch Tuesday isn't well known.

It sounds like bad planning on their part. A large scale power outage in a region could do as much damage.

Re:So, their servers got hammered (2, Informative)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294749)

RTFA. It's not bad planning. It's a bug in their networking software.

Re:So, their servers got hammered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20295025)

I thought it was a bug in there application code which started itself up every time the computer reboots, therefore causing a DDoS on itself.

Grow up (4, Insightful)

Organic User (1103717) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

That's the reason the use MS (2, Funny)

stecoop (759508) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294363)

It's realy convient when you have somone else to blame.

Re:That's the reason the use MS (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294825)

i guess it's even more convenient to not rtfa

Calling BS (-1, Flamebait)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294373)

So it's Microsoft's fault for installing patches and rebooting PC's, right? I mean, you are not supposed to handle an extra load of logins, MS should make sure the PC's stay on forever (and boy are they far from that)...
I admit I read only part of the article (didn't think it was worth my time), so please correct my brief analysis on why this makes no sense at all if I missed something further down.
They admit to two days of downtime, so I would assume the reboots where spread over this timeframe. However, every morning, at around 9PM EST, a large percentage of east coast's PC's boot up (with a similar event an hour later moving to central US) etc. Unless bussiness PC's are not skype's usual target. Well, home PC's also routinelly turn off at night and switch on in the morning (not mine or the average /.er's of course), so the extra reboot cycle when there is already at least one reboot cycle per day (for crapware-ladden unstable Windows even more) should not have made any difference.

Headline is factually inaccurate. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294543)

Read the article. They are not blaming MS for the failure, they are blaming their own code. It was just because of the mass reboot that their own flaw became apparent. Headline is factually inaccurate.

-Rick

Re:Headline is factually inaccurate. (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294705)

Well, I guess I still don't need to read it, right? You gave me all the information I would need ;)

In other news . . . (5, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294407)

Skype blames global warming on Colonel Mustard. In the conservatory (greenhouse). With the pipe. Since Colonel Mustard callously smashed all the windows in the greenhouse, it released all sorts of greenhouse gases into the environment thus dooming all the gay, baby polar bears unless the polar bears cooled themselves off by running the AC units of their Hummers at full blast. Why does Colonel Mustard hate the environment?

Re:In other news . . . (3, Funny)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294719)

Next: Everyone flushing a toilet at the same time will cause the east coast to go with out water for a week.

Re:In other news . . . (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295077)

...unless the polar bears cooled themselves off by running the AC units of their Hummers at full blast.

I just had to say, that really made me laugh. Maybe it was imagery of it all.

Cheers,
Fozzy

timezones (4, Interesting)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294443)

Does the reboot occur at, say, 2AM local time? If so then reboots would be spread out by the (at least) 24 timezones.

Put more effort into linux version (-1, Offtopic)

cab15625 (710956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294449)

OK, even if the flaw was on Skype's end, it would be nice if the linux version was reasonably in sync with the windows and mac version. Maybe if more people were able to use all of the features of Skype on alternative OS's, they wouldn't have to worry about getting hammered and taken out due to an event like this. I still don't understand why Linux support is in version 1.4 while windows is up to 3.5 and has "amazing" features like video support. Oh well, until they at least try to get it right I'll stick with something else (Ekiga, Kopete, Pidgin).

Re:Put more effort into linux version (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294587)

OK, even if the flaw was on Skype's end, it would be nice if the linux version was reasonably in sync with the windows and mac version. Maybe if more people were able to use all of the features of Skype on alternative OS's, they wouldn't have to worry about getting hammered and taken out due to an event like this. I still don't understand why Linux support is in version 1.4 while windows is up to 3.5 and has "amazing" features like video support. Oh well, until they at least try to get it right I'll stick with something else (Ekiga, Kopete, Pidgin).
I agree, until then I have to rely on my own `motion` capture and FTP upload script so that people can see me while they talk. This isn't exactly secure, and I have to use htpasswd to ensure that only the person that I am speaking to sees me, otherwise it's a waste of my bandwidth to let the entire world view... Not that there's anything to see, but that's not the point.

Surely, it's easy enough to hook their system in with /dev/video... It's not like it's *that* hard, and as if the code doesn't exist already.

Note absence of word "Microsoft" (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294451)

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:Note absence of word "Microsoft" (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294721)

I'd push the power button?

Re:Note absence of word "Microsoft" (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294761)

That's because this isn't a vulnerability. Furthermore, MS only has the power to reboot machines when explicitly granted that power. But the rest of your post makes sense. Oh, wait, that nonsense comprises the entirety of your post. Nevermind.

Re:Note absence of word "Microsoft" (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294781)

"What if, one day, they didn't come back up?"

Well that's an easy one. We'd format them and install Linux instead, so it can't happen to our friends again.

Of course, we'd put Windows right back on for our customers, since 2 hours sitting on your ass and getting paid for it is always good, and Windows virtually assures you'll get to do it again in the future, too.

But, the question is... (1)

swanky (23477) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294467)

Why hasn't this happened before? There have been many Patch Tuesdays.

(Well, after typing this, I just realized--maybe they incorporated new code, but they should have mentioned that too)

P2P dumbness (5, Interesting)

Kludge (13653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294501)

I think this demonstrates the goofiness of a p2p telephone system. If I use Skype, I depend upon my data flowing through other users' computers because I am too dumb to allow incoming VOIP connections to my computer.
VOIP connections should be direct encrypted connections from my computer to the computer of the person whom I wish to contact. Period.

NAT dumbness (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294759)

VOIP connections should be direct encrypted connections from my computer to the computer of the person whom I wish to contact. Period.

Hello.... NAT, anyone?

Re:P2P dumbness (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294867)

<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

Passing the Buck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294545)

Just one group of Code monkeys blaming yet another group of Code Monkeys for not coding properly, ad nauseum.

My favorite quote in the Globe and Mail regarding this story goes "One Can not expect the same level of reliability...". It figures, they are just simple coders, they don't care about reliability.

Now a real engineer, who maintains the telephone network, DOES care about reliability, it's their job. The typical 9-5 Code monkey on the other hand, knows they can just issue a patch when it pleases them, or Marketing commands them to.

Unlikely story! (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294567)

"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."

This has been going on for years now. You will note that the outage occurred on *Thursday* August 16th. Microsoft's patching schedule is every Tuesday. Typically computers reboot on Wednesday morning early in the AM. So it would seem unlikely that all of the computers that run Skype were rebooted Thursday morning. Also, not everyone leaves their computers on to download updates and reboot automatically. I would say that this explanation is suspect, at best.

"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."

Right - it had nothing to do with patches MS or otherwise it had everything to do with Skype not being able to service their supposed large number of logon requests.

Further though this DOES NOT explain *at all* why they were not able to service logon requests for *3* days. This level of outage is almost unheard of.

My only guess is something went terribly wrong and they don't want to own up to it.

Like I needed another reason not to use VoIP (2, Interesting)

AudioEfex (637163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294631)

Gee, I hope no one tried to call 911 during the outage. That "enhanced" (insert guffaw, it's like calling a hamburger without the meat and just a bun "enhanced") 911 didn't do a tinkers damn worth of good for anyone who's service was out.

This is why I won't even consider VoIP. Why in the world would I want to take risks like this? I live in a house my family has lived in for over 60 years, with the same old phone line and it's NEVER GONE DOWN IN SIXTY YEARS! A couple of times a month my Internet craps out, though, though usually for less than an hour. And sometimes the router needs to be reset, like many people find they have to do periodically. What happens if I need 911 during one of those times, and I can't get around it?

"Internet phone", "digital phone" whatever they want to call it, anything but a REAL land-line from the local phone company is a substandard service by definition. They can throw whatever words out there to make it sound super-dooper, but it's a substandard service just like anyone who experienced this outage can tell you.

AE

Re:Like I needed another reason not to use VoIP (1)

ItsLenny (1132387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294791)

I've got vonage... $24 a month unlimited nation wide calling... no complaints here...

and if I was in that situation (no phone and need to call 911) I've got a cell phone

Re:Like I needed another reason not to use VoIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20294879)

Our region's cable ISP came out with local IP phone service a year or so back. When they called trying to sell it to me, I just laughed. Why on earth would I trust my phone service to a connection that goes down several times a *week*?

They threw a teeny tiny UPS into the deal too, as evidence of their commitment to 'reliability'. Except that I already run a business-class UPS on my entire home network, which never seemed to prevent outages before.

Re:Like I needed another reason not to use VoIP (1)

David Jao (2759) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295003)

I live in a house my family has lived in for over 60 years, with the same old phone line and it's NEVER GONE DOWN IN SIXTY YEARS!

It's not as simple as you describe. For example, in the United States at least, a large number of landlines were unable to initiate any phone calls on September 11, 2001, whereas internet based services such as e-mail had no problems on that day.

Even for people who need a landline for 911, VoIP is still a useful complement for a landline. You can use VoIP for calling overseas, and the landline for local calls. In fact, you don't even need to subscribe to a VoIP service -- any calls that you place overseas through your "old phone line" are probably already being relayed by your long distance carrier over VoIP, without you knowing it.

Yeah, but for how long? (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295017)

There are already stories that when Verizon installs FIOS, they conveniently remove the copper wire connection that has served you so faithfully for sixty years. If you ask them to leave it in place they are supposed to honor the request, but other stories suggest that if you aren't physically present when they install the service that request is apt to get overlooked.

The ultrareliable telephone service the U. S. has known for about a century is going away. It just doesn't make much money for the carriers, and they seem to be systematically trying to nibble away at it within the limits of what regulation allows them.

You might as well decide that it's a good bargain to swap the ability to get help in an emergency for the ability to buy thousands of cable channels and overpriced locked-down video downloads, because the FCC has already accepted that bargain on your behalf.

Reminds me of AOL crashing mail servers (4, Interesting)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294663)

Reminds me of the late 90s where AOL's crashing mail servers ended up bringing down my universities server (and many other organizations) because of the surge of load when AOL came back online and started sending backlogged mail.

Re:Reminds me of AOL crashing mail servers (4, Funny)

IchBinEinPenguin (589252) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295033)

Reminds me of the late 90s where AOL's crashing mail servers ...
me2!!

monoculture (1)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294711)

do we need any further proof that a OS monoculture sucks?

Anyone know... (3, Funny)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294751)

Does anyone know what OS those Skype servers are running? If the OS is Linux, then I blame Skype administrators. If it is any flavour of Windows, then I blame Microsoft. Now, some of you might say I am biased.

Proof. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294795)

This is proof that you should believe everything you read in the news. Especially on Slashdot, where the is NO bias towards anything, especially Microsoft. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

hmm (3, Insightful)

el_coyotexdk (1045108) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Not MSs Fault (1, Redundant)

ViceClown (39698) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294859)

I think this story is badly titled. My understanding is that the outage happened because of patch Tuesday but Skype isn't blaming Microsoft for it. In fact it helped reveal a flaw in their p2p healing networking stack. I'm as much a /. fanboy as the next guy but this title is inflammatory and misleading.

More info: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070820-gian t-synchronized-reboot-windows-update-smokes-skype. html [arstechnica.com]

If this is true... (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294921)

or if enough sheeple buy it...

Wouldn't this be a huge blow against Windows on the workstation? I can't see it making much difference to Windows as a gaming or multimedia platform, mainly because you wouldn't typically see Skype on a machine with such as its primary use. This could still take a chunk out of MS if it's true though.

What kind of fookin' idiots.... (0, Troll)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 7 years ago | (#20294975)

...build OSes that have to be rebooted to make changes effective.

Re:What kind of fookin' idiots.... (1)

FlatLine84 (1084689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295045)

Depending on what changes are made, all of them....

Read TFA (3, Funny)

fatcat1111 (158945) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295027)

Skype didn't blame Microsoft for the outage, they attributed it to a bug in their software. Did the subby even read TFA?

I blame Linus for my outages over the weekend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20295029)

You see, I was upgrading from CentOS 4.5 to CentOS 5. Because of an issue with Python (specifically, the switch from 2.3 to 2.4), yum wouldn't work properly for some time until I figured out how to fix it.

Damn you, Linus Torvalds, for giving me downtime!

Two day lag? (1)

zenwarrior (81710) | more than 7 years ago | (#20295071)

What about the time gap between Windows Update and the collapse of Skype? Should not the problem have occurred sooner last week than it did?
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