The worst computer bugs that cost millions of dollars! | by FadinGeek | Sep 2022


A great time to say situations describe your problems. Not your mistake

If you made a mistake, people won’t care until your mistake affects them. In short, it all depends on your surroundings and your situation, whether or not you would be “punished” for this. And sometimes, a very small mistake… let’s say a program bug can cause a lot of damage. In this article, we’ll look at these mistakes made when building/managing software that cost millions of dollars in damage.

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash
The person on the right isn’t some random guy, he’s THE Morris bug guy. Photo by (https://www.hypr.com/security-encyclopedia/morris-worm)

A computer worm is a self-contained malicious computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers.

This was a very short but dangerous program bug originally written by a graduate student named Morris, who actually had no bad intentions but was just experimenting with stuff. I caused so much damage in the United States and many other major countries, that it was the first software to catch the attention of most media groups. It became popular because it inspired the introduction of a new layer of computer security – internet security. It was the first worm to break through the Internet and harm another computer without a cable or physical medium. This worm has been programmed to exploit weak passwords and phrases.

What’s the bug here?

Morris wanted to program this for experimentation purposes only. It was supposed to stop after some time once it got the result of the experiment, but the bug persisted and in a very short time it affected the world’s computers.

It’s a bug that didn’t waste millions directly, but cost a lot of money because of the fear of it. Yes… People have spent millions simply out of fear that it might harm their lives.

As the year 2000 approached, all mankind feared a mistake they had made decades before. To understand this, you need to understand the metric system we have now and what we used to have for calculating everything related to time, including research, statistics, etc.

Currently, the entire system is replaced by a constant year number (date). The year number you live in is of course 2022 (at the time of this writing), and the computer considers it to be 2022. If computers existed before Christ (BC), years were taken negatively. But that wasn’t how dialing worked before. Before inventing the computers we have now, people didn’t have a long-term thought process about how the date could be numbered. Therefore, they only used the first 2 digits of the date of the year in which they lived. So if you lived in 1998, the computer would only consider 98 as the important part and discard the other 2 digits. You probably see where I’m coming from now.

From 2000 the numbers started to overlap with the last century’s number which means the computers were literally giving you the wrong information…or at least people thought it would happen and made a LOT of costly changes. Many materials have been sold and purchased by many people around the world. Some people have become anxious and made life-changing decisions to overcome this digital time overlap. But, in reality, nothing happened. Yes… In the very early days, most companies changed their date system and the way it deals with them, and everything was back to normal. The estimated loss of what people did just out of fear of it was over 1.2 million. But I think it was worth it, because if this bug actually existed and time overlapped, then the estimated loss the world would face at that time, disregarding inflation, would be more 200 billion dollars!

It could literally end the world. The computer would shut down, the money you have on your credit card wouldn’t work, everything could have stopped. It was such a huge problem that the United States appointed a group of “crisis experts” to solve it.

Mt. Gox was the largest bitcoin exchange in the world in the 2010s, until they were hit by a software bug that ultimately proved fatal.

This became a problem when a money transaction happened at that time and the request was sent to the servers, although due to a bug/error, in the program, the transaction n has not been completely sent. This caused a huge loss of $1.5 million for the senders and receivers of the money.

In 2014, they again lost over 850,000 bitcoins, due to a bug/error following a gray hat hacking incident. After that, about 20,000 Bit coins were recovered, but the rest were not. Considering the real value of the Bit coin right now, the money they could have made and the money lost in the transfer was too high. By one estimate, they lost over $10 million without accounting for inflation.

So what lesson are we learning today? Nothing to be honest. Just pay attention to small bugs you might have in your computer. It might even end humanity. But being real, bugs are something we could avoid but not eliminate. The more complex your program becomes, the more flaws you might find. Bugs are normal and are the predictable cause of the end of humanity if AI gets the better of us.

And indeed, even though the bugs are small and could easily be fixed before it’s too late, the problem they cause the world is so big, that it changes the developer’s life too drastically…

Let me know if you’re interested in more of this in the answer section, I’d love more! That said, I do more like that anyway on my YouTube channel, so stay tuned for that too. In addition, I will also tweet stuff that I find interesting in my Twitter account. I hope you really enjoyed reading this, and it was helpful to you in some way, and I’ll see you in the next one.

You are awesome 🙂

FadinGeek

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