Skype “forgets” (?) to inform users of critical security patch

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Skype burningI love the Skype service, in part because I believe it is far more secure than other IM services. Skype is an eBay company.

This week, Secunia released a “highly critical” advisory on the Skype service, recommending that users upgrade to the latest patch version.

Skype was silent on the matter. They did not inform their customers. Why?

This and other recent events suggest either a policy of non-communication to users, or management ineptitude along the same lines.

Skype does not communicate with its users when there is bad news to communicate. Instead, they go dark. In a world where quality includes good customer service, it is simply amazing to me that they have established such a strong track record of turning their back on their customers. Company spokesman Villu Arak apologized for the most recent blunder. “We strive to inform the public of vulnerabilities and malware that may affect Skype software,” Villu Arak on Skype’s security blog on December 10, 2007 (really??). “While this particular vulnerability was fixed, there was an unintentional communication oversight and we failed to bring the case to the public’s attention. All we can do now is to apologize.”

Skype needs to do more than apologize. This has happened too many times. While we can forgive companies for a single mis-step, this is just another example of Skype choosing silence over giving bad news. Earlier incidents:

Skype service restored but executives still in hiding

Skype: not one disaster, but two

I have no personal vendetta against Skype. As I’ve stated, I love the service and regularly recruit colleagues away from MSN, Yahoo, and AIM. And I don’t know anyone who works at Skype: I don’t know their names, their nationalities, or what they believe in. But I am disappointed in their corporate behavior when it comes to communicating with their customers. Are they pretending that difficult problems will just go away if they don’t communicate news to their customers?

My level of trust in Skype’s corporate integrity has fallen significantly. What other bad news are they choosing to keep to themselves?

On the contrary, things will get worse for them. Is anyone at eBay paying attention?

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