40 IT failures caused by software bugs

Rick Hower, who runs the Software QA Test Resource Center has compiled a lengthy listing of "major computer system failures caused by software bugs" Here are several entries from that list:A September 2006 news report indicated problems with software utilized in a state government's primary election, resulting in periodic unexpected rebooting of voter check-in machines, which were separate from the electronic voting machines, and resulted in confusion and delays at voting sites.

Rick Hower, who runs the Software QA Test Resource Center has compiled a lengthy listing of "major computer system failures caused by software bugs" Here are several entries from that list:

  1. A September 2006 news report indicated problems with software utilized in a state government's primary election, resulting in periodic unexpected rebooting of voter check-in machines, which were separate from the electronic voting machines, and resulted in confusion and delays at voting sites. The problem was reportedly due to insufficient testing.
  2. In August of 2006 a U.S. government student loan service erroneously made public the personal data of as many as 21,000 borrowers on it's web site, due to a software error. The bug was fixed and the government department subsequently offered to arrange for free credit monitoring services for those affected.
  3. A software error reportedly resulted in over-billing of up to several thousand dollars to each of 11,000 customers of a major telecommunications company in June of 2006. It was reported that the software bug was fixed within days, but that correcting the billing errors would take much longer.
  4. News reports in May of 2006 described a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement paid by a healthcare software vendor to one of its customers. It was reported that the customer claimed there were problems with the software they had contracted for, including poor integration of software modules, and problems that resulted in missing or incorrect data used by medical personnel.
  5. In early 2006 problems in a government's financial monitoring software resulted in incorrect election candidate financial reports being made available to the public. The government's election finance reporting web site had to be shut down until the software was repaired.
  6. Trading on a major Asian stock exchange was brought to a halt in November of 2005, reportedly due to an error in a system software upgrade. The problem was rectified and trading resumed later the same day.
  7. A May 2005 newspaper article reported that a major hybrid car manufacturer had to install a software fix on 20,000 vehicles due to problems with invalid engine warning lights and occasional stalling. In the article, an automotive software specialist indicated that the automobile industry spends $2 billion to $3 billion per year fixing software problems.
  8. Media reports in January of 2005 detailed severe problems with a $170 million high-profile U.S. government IT systems project. Software testing was one of the five major problem areas according to a report of the commission reviewing the project. In March of 2005 it was decided to scrap the entire project.

While the list doesn't have links or references out to original sources, it does look well-researched. Here's a link to the entire list.

Update 10/2/07: I had taken this list from another website, which had incorporated it without attribution to the Software QA Test Resource Center. The reference and links have now been updated to reflect the true source of the list. My apologies to Rick Hower for the incorrect source attribution in the original posting.

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