Top Software Glitches and Growing Significance of Software Testing

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Software glitch, system breakdown and data breach incidents have been threatening the brand value and survival of global enterprises. As a result, today organizations are building a much more proactive outlook towards security of enterprise applications and business-critical data. Gartner estimates that, “By 2020, 40 percent of all managed security service (MSS) contracts will be bundled with other security services and broader IT outsourcing (ITO) projects, up from 20 percent today.”

Security Testing is a critical fragment in the overall application development and testing scenario. While it holds true, organizations are looking beyond it and creating a larger sketch to build a secure ecosystem. How can enterprises outgrow beyond the risks and threats posed by Digital Transformation? They are steadily moving towards Quality Transformation and Digital Assurance to stay competitive and robust in the volatile consumer scenario.

Nevertheless, let’s take a quick scan through some recent glitches and detrimental software failures. It can help predict and build a strong strategy for securing applications and keeping them resilient despite challenges.

Welsh NHS IT failure

In January 2018, the Wales’ Department of Health and Social Services encountered a computer failure that obstructed the staff from accessing patient files. As per the National Cyber Security Centre, the failure occurred due to technical issues that created wide disruption. It caused backlog, as the staff was unable to contact the patients for shuffling the appointments and the systems were not accessible.

Incidents such as these intensify the need for Continuous Testing and Deployment that can help check for flaws constantly and upgrade the software.

Equifax Data breach

It was probably one of the biggest cybersecurity incidents reported in history, when Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency declared in September 2017 that it was hit by a massive data breach. The breach resulted in loss of sensitive data of over 100 million consumers. Personal details such as Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdays, and Driver’s License numbers got stolen by the hackers. Reports suggest that a US website application vulnerability was broken by criminals to gain access to the files.

Digital Transformation has brought tons of data online. While it is important to safeguard this data, it is equally critical to check the software systems and applications for vulnerabilities. Vulnerability Assessment is the first step towards successful Security Testing strategy.


The year 2017 made almost all kinds of organizations sweat fear due to the WannaCry ransomware attack. It was a widespread ransomware attack that hit NHS England and many organizations across the UK and around the world. It was estimated to have occurred due to vulnerabilities found in Microsoft operating systems that were installed on millions of computers across the world. Microsoft responded to this and mentioned that the affected Windows versions were no longer supported by them.

While the statements continued, the incident shocked not only the enterprises, but also the individuals. They feared that the attack was not just on the corporates and institutions, rather on the digital consumer base.

This establishes how Security Testing, Penetration Testing, and Vulnerability Assessment can enable enterprises to build robust systems and stay alert.

Bitcoin Nodes crash

In April 2017, Bitcoin Unlimited nodes crashed due to memory leaks. It was a shocking day for Bitcoin operators and investors when almost 600 Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) nodes plummeted drastically. It came crashing from 720 to 180.

A BU node operator reported that the problem came across as a memory leak, and suggested that it was due to a bug that was being exploited to attack the network.

Security Testing and Network Penetration Testing helps organizations to exploit the network for all kinds of vulnerabilities. Digital Technologies are powerful but scary, and testing for security gaps can really go a long way in ensuring security of the system.

Cairns Hospital software crash

In May 2017, Cairns Hospital in Queensland suffered software ‘catastrophe’ incurring loss of patient data. The glitch affected five Australian hospitals. It occurred during application of security patches that were designed to counter any unforeseen cyber-attacks. It took almost 2 weeks for the hospital facilities to recover from this software disaster.

Testing systems for safeguarding business-critical data and ensuring a robust back-up is essential for all kinds of organizations and institutions.

Glitch with iPhones

In December 2017 iOS 11 suffered a glitch that triggered at 12.15 am local time. A bug caused the phones with third party applications to send recurring notifications such as reminders on work-out apps or health apps, and made the device reboot constantly. After not responding on this for some time, Apple oddly released a software update with iOS 11.2 that fixed the issue with other features as well.

Performance Testing by applying automation helps ensure that the software application elicits the required outcome under any possible circumstances. Digital Transformation is about offering flawless customer experience, and ensuring Performance is imperative.

Recall by Fiat Chrysler

In January 2018, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV declared a recall of over 162,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans released in 2017 due to an unforeseen software glitch. The glitch reportedly caused the vehicles to stall, which had resulted in an accident that connected back to the identified defect. The reported issue caused the vehicle’s engine control module to incorrectly assess the engine’s operating status and resulted in a sudden stop. The Italian-American automaker estimated from the reports that this occurred at low speeds or when the vehicle started.

Continuous Testing and Deployment is important for every sector to ensure that the software is checked and updated in real-time. Automobile sector being highly life-sensitive needs to build strategic QA and Testing capabilities.

South Carolina Lottery glitch

The Christmas of 2017 was definitely a joyous day for the people who gambled on the South Carolina lottery. Thousands of winning lottery tickets got printed due to a computer glitch on a Christmas day, which totalled up to almost 19.6 million dollars. The game was shut down later, but not before seven to eight people won a substantial amount due to this glitch.

Performance and Load Testing are of tremendous value for businesses that are involved in high traffic online transactions. Especially where you can experience sudden peak in traffic during business hours.

Chaos due to crash of check-in systems

In September 2017, major airports across the world experienced a computer glitch that stalled the check-in systems at over 100 airports. The passengers got stranded in long lines at the check-in counters for their flights. It affected over 100 airports and some major ones namely, London’s Heathrow International Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and Ronald Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C. The company that provided the software confirmed this as a network issue resulting in disruption.

Functional Testing of applications and its compatibility with the network and other components in the ecosystem is absolutely critical. High traffic zone such as airports or metro terminals need to enable Continuous Testing and Integration for seamless operations.

In Conclusion

Quality Assurance and Software Testing is not just a by-product in the software development process. Strategies and decisions regarding Software Testing are increasingly becoming a boardroom call. The incidents and glitches mentioned above establish that diverse industries and businesses need various testing capabilities to deliver business value for their end customers.

Cigniti’s Advisory and Transformation Services help organizations understand and improve all QA focus areas – people, tools, and infrastructure across the delivery lifecycle. The Advisory Services help clients understand their QA maturity and identify gaps in their processes & practices. Connect with our Advisory services team to build a relevant test strategy for your business.


  • Cigniti Technologies

    Cigniti is the world’s leading AI & IP-led Digital Assurance and Digital Engineering services company with offices in India, the USA, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Australia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, and Singapore. We help companies accelerate their digital transformation journey across various stages of digital adoption and help them achieve market leadership.

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