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Skype Bug Triggered by 'Patch Tuesday'

Internet telephony provider Skype today placed at least part of the blame for a two-day outage last week on Microsoft's monthly patch update, which was rolled out last Tuesday.

In the latest update on the situation, Skype's Villu Arak said 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."

Early on in the outage, some observers had speculated that Skype was under attack by criminals targeting a recently described denial-of-service weakness in the software that powers the network. Skype responded emphatically that the outage was related to a glitch in its software and was not the result of an attack.

Skype officials said the flood of reboot-prompted logins focused attention on a previously unseen software bug within the system component that tries to deal with unpredictable spikes in network usage, and that the problem has since been fixed.

A Microsoft spokesperson said last week's patch release -- fixing at least 14 vulnerabilities in its software -- was hardly out of the ordinary.

"Windows Update is a routine service Microsoft provides to its users to receive software updates, including last Tuesday's security updates, which were not unique," the spokesperson said. "As indicated in Skype's blog, their specific disruption was caused by a bug in their software."

By Brian Krebs  |  August 20, 2007; 4:49 PM ET
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