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The Bug Blog: Recent recalls

In the previous few blog posts I highlighted major software errors that occurred in the 80’s and 90’s. These errors ended up costing billion of dollars and in some cases, precious lives. Software bugs are not a thing of the past, they still occur on a daily basis. Let's take a look at a few major incidents that have occurred in the past decade.

1. 2004 - The U.K’s Child Support Agency Disaster

While the U.K.'s Child Support Agency (CSA) was trying to restructure, they hired EDS to develop a complex IT computer system to help them. The original contract for this new computer system was £539 million. Due to the over 500 errors and bugs found in the EDS software, the system was halted, costing taxpayers over a billion pounds to date. These software bugs also resulted in the CSA overpaying 1.9 million people and underpaying another 700,000.

Source: [wikipedia](

2. 2007 - The Los Angeles Airport Grounding

An error on a embedded piece of software, on a network card, brought an entire system to a halt. 17,000 planes were grounded at Los Angeles International Airport due to a software problem. The United States Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) agency’s network was sending out faulty data, which should have shut down, but instead persisted to send incorrect data. For eight hours, no one was permitted to enter or leave the Los Angeles International Airport, until the situation was corrected.


3. 2009 - The AXA Scandal

A coding error that was written in an quantitative investment software model, caused over $217 million dollars in losses for clients. The Axa Rosenberg Group operated this software and presumably knew about this error and concealed it. They were later charged $25 million in penalties for fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the presumably concealing the error.

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

4. 2010 - The Toyota Recall

2010 was not a good year for Toyota with recalls due to faulty window switches, seatbelt and exhaust system problems, and the well known braking system error. The breaking recall was due to a software error in the anti-lock-braking system. Over 400,000 care were recalled. These recalls cost Toyota over $3 billion dollars that year alone.

Source: wikipedia

Source: The Guardian

5. 2012 - The Knight's $440 Million Mistake

The software error was said to have cost $10 million a minute. Knight Capital Group Inc., one of the biggest traders of technology stocks lost over $440 million dollars in one day when accidentally deployed test software code to a production environment. The firm sold all the stocks it accidentally bought the previous morning because a computer error from a new computer software program that had been installed. The firm lost 75% of it’s shares in two days leaving them struggling to stay afloat.

Source: [wikipedia](


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