Microsoft has acknowledged that its free Skype Internet-calling, video and text service suffered a worldwide outage on September 20, 2015. The paid business users’ service is reportedly not suffering the same outages.
“We have identified the network issue which prevented users from logging in and using Skype today. We’re in the process of reconnecting our users, and focused on restoring full service. The issue did not affect Skype for Business users.”
Complaints about Skype service lit up Twitter and Facebook accounts starting at about 11 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday evening. Users are still not being allowed to sign in to Skype, and those that stay continuously logged in are showing an offline status, which prevents receiving incoming calls or initiating outgoing calls.
Skype’s downdetector.com map showed that the most severe outages were in the EU, Japan, U.S. Hong Kong, Australia and Ukraine.
Luxembourg-based Skype was bought for $8.5 billion by Microsoft in 2011 and has over 300 million active worldwide users. Interestingly, there are no reported outages in Russia.
The Skype worldwide shut down follows Apple’s news release over the weekend that the company was forced to take down about forty iOS apps from its App Store because of a counterfeit version of the company’s Xcode software for developers that first appeared on their Chinese site and then rapidly spread to cause chaos worldwide.
The vicious malware, named XcodeGhost, spread through tens of thousands of apps developers working on Mac, iPhone and iPad platforms. One of widest infections occurred in older versions of the popular WeChat app from Tencent, which has over 600 million users.
The pcworld.com website reported: “XcodeGhost targets compilers, collects information on devices and uploads the data to command and control servers.” It added that with malware attacking iOS or OS X apps, hackers could “fake phishing dialogs, open URLs, and read and write clipboard data, which in some cases can be used to read passwords.”
There are lots of rumors swirling that the Skype outage might also be due to a malware insertion, but Microsoft has not yet explained the reason for the Skype shutdown.