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Skype’s VoIP Service Collapsed following Download of Microsoft Update

Skype, the provider of Voice over IP services, said on August 20, 2007 that the failure of its two systems in the third week of August 2007 occurred when a large number of users, after downloading the monthly patch updates from Microsoft, tried to resume connection to the Skype service.

A massive number of computer restarts by Skype users around the world in a short time triggered the service disruption. The users had rebooted their systems after obtaining the regular batch of patches from Microsoft update, said Villu Arak on Skype's Heartbeat blog on August 20, 2007. The large number of computer rebooting made a critical impact on the network resources of Skype. This resulted in overwhelming login requests, which, together with the shortage of peer-to-peer network facility, caused a chain of reactions that affected the systems.

Skype's service collapsed on August 16, 2007 when users all through the world all of a sudden get disconnected from the service to send e-mails or chat on it. There are about 220 Million users of Skype. The instant messaging feature is free of cost while there is a nominal charge of 3 cents a minute for talking to non-Skype users. Skype operates as a part of eBay, the company for online auction.

Rumors spread in the third week of August 2007 that some Russian hackers were behind the outage following an anonymous posting of an exploit code that could allow a buffer overflow in Skype's server. However, Arak dispelled this as a likely occurrence.

Denial-of-service (DoS) situations often occur not because of hackers' activities but due to weak infrastructures and networks that can't take heavy traffic, according to Babak Pasdar, founder and CTO of igxglobal, Clifton, N.J. ChannelWeb NETWORK reported this on August 20, 2007.

According to Pasdar, the situation that Skype experienced could also happen with organizations using VPN (Virtual Private Network). For instance, when Internet connection comes back after a certain gap and all VPN users try to reconnect simultaneously.

Niklas Zennstroem, co-founder of Skype, said in a message on August 20, 2007 that the company's VoIP service resumed functioning on August 18, 2007.

Related article: Skype Plugs Critical Security Hole

» SPAMfighter News - 9/6/2007

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