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Not quite bug free new year

Sixty-seven significant Y2K failures, affecting nuclear plants, stock exchanges

It may at first sight seem to have been a bug-free transition to the 21st century, but according to research there have been 67 significant failures in the weeks following the date change.

Figures compiled by financial institution KPMG and the British Bankers' Association reveal that the picture is not as rosy as first seemed. Two nuclear plants in Japan and seven in the US experienced year-2000 problems. The US bank payment system and the Canadian stock exchange were also affected. In Pakistan, brokers were forced to take orders manually.

An estimated 30,000 cash registers in Greece were at risk of Y2K problems after some machines printed receipts showing the year as 1900 rather than 2000. In Italy, criminals were rejoicing after the prison sentencing system was affected by the bug. In Jamaica, motorists were affected as the traffic lights went out of service and in Brazil four motorway toll booths were unable to process receipts.

Information risk management partner at KPMG Malcolm Marshall believes the glitches prove the money spent on the bug was worth it. "There were still some worrying failures, particularly on safety control systems such as those used in nuclear power stations. Such failures demonstrate that there were real problems," he said.

Marshall warns that we are not out of the Y2K woods yet. "The most difficult to detect problems could prove a greater threat than dramatic failures such as complete system shutdowns," he said. Organisations need to watch out for other significant date changes such as February 29th, and month and year ends and should not rely on temporary patches for millennium bug problems according to Marshall.

Also see ZDNet UK News' report on how the world handled the date change.

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