Software Failure report 2015 Quarter One

Software failures

Software Failures of 2015: Quarter One

2015 set off to a promising start in Quarter One, with small advances in technology that promise exciting things to come. Amongst the technology causing the biggest buzz is tech “wearables”, such as the long awaited Apple Watch released this spring. No matter how technology advances however, testing will always be a nonnegotiable.Every week new stories emerge of software failing across a myriad of industries; sparking chaos, halting business, or even costing lives. We have collected news stories from around the world from January to April 2015, continuing in our popular “Software Failures” series. So sit back, enjoy the stories, and remember that software testing is always worth your time.

Heated Debate Arises Over the Alleged Software Error

Students applying for the online Masters of Business Administration- Common Entrance Test in Pune, India, complained of a software error after receiving surprisingly low marks on their exams. While the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) has remained adamant that no such software error occurred, disgruntled students have united in complaint of the DTE, stating that the only possible explanation for their test scores was a malfunction in the test software. The students have threatened to bring the DTE to court should their plea for the tests to be re-evaluated be ignored.


Software Glitch in F-35 Fighter Planes Causes Target Detection Problems

This spring a serious software glitch in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter air crafts garnered wide public attention. The plane engineers identified a software bug that causes the planes, when flying in formation, to incorrectly detect targets. As each of the planes within the formation detect a target from varying angles, the software is reportedly unable to decipher whether there is just one or multiple targets. As one news agency put it, the F-35’s are “seeing double”. Go home, F-35, you’re drunk.

Nissan Recalls Vehicles for Airbag Software Malfunction

United States vehicle safety regulators are investigating Nissan Motors for a total of over 1 million vehicles that have been recalled within the past two years. The vehicles were reportedly recalled for an airbag software malfunction that caused a failure in recognizing an adult sitting in the passenger seat. As a result, the airbags would fail to deploy on the occasion of a collision. Several accidents have been reported where the airbags had failed to deploy, with an additional several hundred vehicle owners reporting ongoing airbags problems even after the issue had supposedly been addressed.

Tennessee County Court Kills $1 Million Software System Update

Rutherford County of Tennessee, United States, has killed a court software system update initiative after 2 years and $1 Million in investment. The court, which was reportedly running on a severely outdated system, implemented the initiative with the hopes of uniting the databases across legal departments and instigating digital record keeping. Unfortunately the deal with the software company had large flaws from the beginning – ranging from incorrect dates on the contracts to fee overages. Upon launch of the program in October 2014 software glitches were discovered resulting in problems issuing welfare checks, the creation of “phantom charges” on criminal cases, errors on circuit court dockets, et cetera. As of March 2015 the county is killing the system, reverting back to the 20+ year old technology that, in the end, was more efficient.


Software Security Flaws Revealed in Taxi Aggregator’s Mobile App

Ola, India’s largest taxi aggregator was revealed to have some major security flaws when a software engineer and a security firm discovered not one, but two ways to enjoy unlimited free rides through Ola’s mobile app. The first of the two security flaws expenses Ola for the free ride, while the other flaw allows any hacker with basic programming skills to charge the ride to other user’s accounts. The security flaws were made public after Ola reportedly declined to respond to the persons alerting the company of the weaknesses in their systems. Since the flaws have become public Ola has issued a statement and declared that the issues are patched – though their website now states they are looking to hire within their mobile tech department.

Starbucks In North America Forced to Close By Software Bug

A software bug affecting Starbucks cash registers forced over 8100 stores to close for a day this spring, roughly 60% of the Starbucks locations worldwide. The software malfunction allegedly originated during a daily “system refresh” that affects all company owned Starbucks stores in North America. The resulting bug left thousands of stores unable to process orders, accept payment, or proceed with business.  Starbucks declined to provide any further details regarding the register malfunctions and the glitch that shut them down.

United States Federal Investigation Complicated by Software Bug

Two small communities in Arizona populated by mostly polygamist Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) are being held accountable by the United States government for missing police documents in an ongoing investigation. The government’s lawsuit accuses the communities, of which the local government and police are overwhelmingly FLDS members, of gross discrimination against the community’s non-FLDS members. In the midst of the investigation it became clear that documents handed over to the court had been altered. Upon demanding the original unaltered versions of the marshal’s documents, the local government has claimed that the unaltered versions have been made inaccessible due to a software bug. Though the city has been working the electronic database company to retrieve the “lost” information, the efforts have yet to provide any real results, and the court remains at a standstill. Smells like conspiracy.


30,000 Swiss HSBC Bank Accounts Leaked to Media

This February The Guardian news outlet assisted in leaking 30,000 Swiss HSBC bank details, including notable names ranging from celebrities to politicians to corrupt businessmen. The information, which had been stolen initially in 2007 by a HSBC IT expert, is being made public for the first time this year and airs out quite a bit of HSBC’s dirty laundry. The account information brings to light scores of tax evaders, accusing HSBC of knowingly assisting in hiding roughly $120 billion in assets. While this story doesn’t exactly fall into the category of “software glitch”, it is a software failure of a very serious kind, and makes a strong case for standardizing the practice of Synthetic Test Data.


More on Software Failures

Software Failures of 2014: Finance Edition

Software Failures of 2014: Government Edition

Software Failures of 2014: Transportation Edition

Software Failures of 2014: Entertainment Edition

Software Failures of 2014: Retail Edition

Software Failures of 2014: Service Edition

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