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3 of the Worst IT Disasters in History

3 of the worst IT disasters in history

Have you thought about what events you would consider the 3 worst IT disasters in history? No? Well, any list is subjective but we have a few facts that just may jog your memory.

AT&T Lines Crash.

  • On January 5, 1990, AT&T’s network went down due to a software problem that followed a new software installation. During the “phone-out”, 75 million phone calls went unanswered. The software glitch lasted 9 hours during which no one could make long-distance phone calls because the software had disabled switches throughout the network. It’s not hard to imagine the havoc this caused to businesses worldwide as well as the effect on residential customers. AT&T reduced the load on their CCS7 network which then allowed the switches to cool off and the system reset. AT&T had to research the error and then reinstall an old version of the software until they could fix the software problem.

USS Vincennes control system.

  • The USS Vincennes was on duty in the Strait of Hormuz on July 3, 1988. The Vincennes was an Aegis class cruiser that carried advanced radar. On the morning of July 3, the Vincennes engaged Iranian gunboats while the IA655 appeared on the radar screen. The computer software identified the IA655 only as an “unknown-assumed enemy” approaching the Vincennes. The Vincennes warned the plane it would be shot down unless it changed course but received no response. The Vincennes fired two rockets at the IA655, a civilian airliner carrying 290 passengers and crew. Vincennes shot down the plane over Iranian airspace. Several problems with the interface between the Aegis computer system and the crew led to the aircraft’s identification as an F-14 even though previously identified as a commercial airliner.

EDS Child Support System.

  • Britain’s child support system initiated a computer-based program in 2004. Wildly unpopular ever since its inception, a study revealed in 2009 that, over a five-year period, the software failed 1.9 million people who had overpaid into the system; the system had overpaid 700,000 people; there were $7 billion in uncollected child support payments and a huge backlog of cases.

While your organization’s computer failures may not reach the size of a disaster like the Vincennes, downtime can cause significant delays. Errors can cost your company hard-earned dollars and cost you in terms of customer dissatisfaction.

Luckily, there are things you can do to protect your network. Backup battery power, available in products such as the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) by Cyber Power, offers several minutes of backup battery power should you experience a blackout.

Blackouts happen to everybody eventually so backing up your data and files is also important. Thumb drive backup has been around for years but now you can safely backup your data in the cloud. Vendors offer packages that collect your data, encrypt it, make a copy, and send it offsite. Cloud backup offers a way to protect your network in case of system failure, natural disasters, staff errors, and accidental deletion. You can also find hosted backup solutions that will help protect your data in times of system failure.

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