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Skype and Microsoft - What Happened?

After rumours and speculation that the recent outage experienced by the Skype VoIP network was caused by Russian hackers or Microsoft's monthly Security Patch release, Skype have provided analysis of what it was that caused the outage.

Whenever gaps appear in the available Skype network and routes between systems the Skype software applies certain code to try and work around the sudden loss of coverage in those areas. It was this code that had a vulnerability which was triggered by the mass reboot cycle associated with this month's Security Patch release from Microsoft. As systems came back online they tried to connect to nodes around the network, only to find that they weren't there. As the code went into action, the way that the nodes were selected led to them rapidly becoming overloaded, failing, and shedding the load to other nodes. Spreading across the network this cascading failure quickly resulted in an effective self-Denial of Service.

Microsoft's Security Response Center, responsible for the monthly Security Patch releases from the company, have even weighed in with the results of their own investigation into what happened - finding that the patch release cycle was not a direct cause for the Skype network failure.

22 August 2007

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