16. Dot-Bomb Collapse (2000)
Cost: $5 trillion in market value, thousands of companies failed
Disaster: A speculative bubble from 1995–2001 fueled a rapid increase in venture capital investments and stock market values in the Internet and technology sectors. The “dot-com bubble” began to collapse in early 2000, erasing trillions in stock market value, wiping out thousands of companies and jobs, and launching a global recession.
Cause: Companies and investors dismissed standard business models, and instead focused on increasing market share at the expense of profits. (more)
17. Love Virus (2000)
Cost: $8.75 billion, millions of computers infected, significant data loss
Disaster: The LoveLetter worm infected millions of computers and caused more damage than any other computer virus in history. The worm deleted files, changed home pages and messed with the Registry.
Cause: LoveLetter infected users via e-mail, Internet chat and shared file systems. The email had an executable file attachment and subject line, “ILOVEYOU.” When the user opened the attachment, the virus would infect the user’s computer and send itself to everyone in the address book. (more)
18. Cancer Treatment to Die For (2000)
Cost: Eight people dead, 20 critically injured
Disaster: Radiation therapy software by Multidata Systems International miscalculated the proper dosage, exposing patients to harmful and in some cases fatal levels of radiation. The physicians, who were legally required to double-check the software’s calculations, were indicted for murder.
Cause: The software calculated radiation dosage based on the order in which data was entered, sometimes delivering a double dose of radiation. (more)
19. EDS Drops Child Support (2004)
Cost: £539 million and counting
Disaster: Business services giant EDS developed a computer system for U.K.’s Child Support Agency (CSA) that accidentally overpaid 1.9 million people, underpaid another 700,000, had £3.5 billion in uncollected child support payments, a backlog of 239,000 cases, 36,000 new cases “stuck” in the system, and still over 500 documented bugs.
Cause: EDS introduced a large, complex IT system to the CSA while trying to simultaneously restructure the agency. (more)
20. FBI’s Trilogy Terminated (2005)
Cost: $105 million, still no effective case file solution
Disaster: The FBI scrapped its computer systems overhaul after four years of effort. The Virtual Case File project was a massive, integrated software system for agents to share case files and other information.
Cause: Mismanagement, and an attempt to build a long-term project on technology that was outdated before the project completed, resulted in a complex and unusable system. (more)
Here are some more articles about software disasters:
- Software Bugs in the Data Reservoir
- History’s Worst Software Bugs
- Top 10 IT Disasters of All Time
- Risks Digest: Forum on Risks to the Public in Computers and Related Systems
Article published on February 12, 2008
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