Skype makes wobbly return, offers compo to paying punters
It wasn't malicious, just a total FAIL
Skype is slowly coming back to life after suffering a major outage over the past few days and, in an effort to say sorry, the firm is offering to compensate its paying customers.
Users of the VoIP service were unable to log into Skype on Wednesday, and the trouble has continued for many over the past 48 hours.
The company's boss Tony Bates, who only joined Skype in October, apologised for the site going titsup and said the service was now "at roughly 90 per cent of normal user volumes".
Many computers that act as supernodes - the systems that provide directory information on Skype - were taken offline "by a problem affecting some versions" of the service on Wednesday, which led to call volumes dropping by half.
Skype normally services about 20 million calls a day. But its outage hit users of mobile and desktop versions of Skype in the US, Europe and Asia.
"Audio, video and IM are running normally. But, a couple of our offerings, including offline IM and Group Video Calling, are not available yet, and we are working hard to restore them in due course," said Bates in a blog post yesterday.
"We now understand the cause of the problem and we believe it was not caused by a malicious attack. But, we are still doing a full analysis and we will provide an in-depth post-mortem."
Bates said that Pay As You Go and Pre-Pay punters would get a Skype voucher via email that can be used to make a free call to landlines around the world.
"For our active subscribers, we will credit you with a week's extra subscription service. It may take a few days, but once implemented, it will be applied from your next renewal date," he added. ®
Because it isn't peer to peer?
Most Skype users are behind firewalls or NAT routers. The software CANNOT connect directly to another node because there is nothing to connect with. How does it even know the IP of the other person or if they're on/offline unless its registered on a central place? Instead both endpoints connect to a server which will play matchmaker and route messages from one to the other, or if possible provide a direct P2P path.
I expect traffic is encrypted to and fro, but if you were worried about backdoors then double encrypt your traffic or don't use Skype at all. For example use Jabber. Jabber also requires you connect to a server (for much the same reasons as Skype) but you may if you wish set up your own private Jabber server and even encrypt the traffic if you like. Wikileaks uses Jabber for example although I expect they far more reason to be paranoid than you do.
As for NSA helping secure windows, why wouldn't they help with that. If you haven't noticed Chinese, Russian, North Korean, Iranian hackers have a very strong motive to attack US systems. It's in the US governments national interest to make its computing infrastructure as secure as possible.
Given the usual reliability of Skype and it's reasonable cost ...
few people can criticise a failure particularly since it occurred on a major business break. Mind you, if you were travelling and needed to contact your travel agent you might be a little excised.
A tip of the hat for a great service, Skype.
It's also in their interest to ensure they can see what is going on in China, Russia, North Korea and Iran....