It is not unusual for new software to have a few bugs. Writing perfect code is nearly impossible. But there are some occasional glitches that lead to devastating effects for both the administrators and users. Here are some of the most devastating bugs in recent software.
- Apple Maps Misdirection – 2012
Before 2012, iPhones came with the useful Google Maps app pre-installed. In an effort to stop relying on their competitor, Apple decided to make an iOS map app, instead. However, Apple Maps had some major flaws:
- Whole lakes, bridges, and train stations were either missing or mislabelled
- The Washington Monument appeared across the street from its actual location
- Auckland Station, a train station in New Zealand, appeared in the middle of the ocean
- 3D views of dams and bridges produced distorted images as if melting into the water
Creating their map app was a major undertaking, but Apple failed to consider that mapping apps rely on different data for satellite images, infrastructure, points-of-interest, etc., meshed together with a combination of advanced software and countless man-hours of handwork. Google had years to get things done right, and Apple will get there eventually.
- Gotofail – 2014
In February, 2014, Apple clients were hit by a glitch of a different kind, when the administrators announced that users were at risk of having their data intercepted by other people who use the same local network. The bug, termed Gotofail, was due to one misplaced ‘goto’ request in the software that controls how iOS and OSX execute TLS and SSL encryption. The problem escalated when Apple released a patch for their operating system (iOS) before the one for OSX was ready. This not only publicized the bug, but also left desktop users at risk.
- Heartbleed – 2014
Heartbleed refers to the hacker exploit resulting in the failure of encryption software in April, 2014. In many cases of encryption software failure, some data transfer is exposed and left vulnerable, but in this instance, hackers managed to attack more than 60% of Web servers using the open source security software OpenSSL, stripping its encryption and forcing it to reveal various data sets from its memory, including password codes, cryptographic key strings, and other private user data.
A patch was implemented soon after discovery of Heartbleed, but users were uncertain whether their passwords had been stolen. So, Heartbleed led to a massive number of password resets. Moreover, the glitch that led to Heartbleed was not corrected for more than two years.
While users may anticipate bugs in new software, as with Apple Maps, they don’t expect any major hackable flaws in programs that have been in use for years, as with the other two cases. Such flaws result in reduced user confidence in the software.