Try to imagine the world without computers. It’s pretty difficult right? They are so ingrained in everything we do today that it’s hard to imagine life without them. Back in 1997, only 18% of homes in the USA has access to the internet. In 2012 that number was 75%
Of course, with over 2 billion people worldwide using a computer, it’s only a matter of time before bad things happen. And here, we present five examples of when computers decided that it was time for craziness. Through a combination of human error and computer programming, we’ve seen some crazy things happen…
Google Blocks The Web. All of it.
Google. We all use it. We’ve all marvelled at its amazing ability to find just what we are looking for. One of the great things about Google is that it wants to look after us. If we happen to stray onto a site it deems unsafe, it gives you a warning. Google then sends you back, content in the knowledge that you’ve just avoided a potentially sticky situation.
However, one day, a Google employee was doing some maintenance and forgot to include a backslash somewhere important on a particular URL.
This was bad.
How bad? Well, it seems that for a certain length of time, (around one hour) Google classified websites as unsafe, preventing anyone using Google from accessing them.
How many websites?
All the websites. Every single website indexed by Google was deemed unsafe. Bad times indeed.
US Navy Destroyer Crashes Because of Math.
Computers have the ability to do the things that humans can’t, such as work out complex equations in less time it takes to make a cup of coffee. The US Navy decided to jump on the bandwagon by retrofitting their battleship USS Yorktown with new computer systems. They believed this would cut operation costs by up to £1.7 million pounds.
Unfortunately, they chose to use Windows NT to run the system. This turned out to be a bad idea as Windows NT turned out to be as reliable as a fireman made out of chocolate.
Software glitches, bugs and errors were commonplace.
And then the Navy’s great battleship tried to divide by zero. And things got really bad.
Trying to divide by zero resulted in something called a buffer overflow error. It crashed the entire system and left the USS Yorktown without power. She had to be towed back to port.
Big Brother is watching you. And Big Sister.…In fact, the entire family.
Common sense dictates that any sensitive material online needs to be password protected or encrypted. You don’t want any old person walking away with your information. It’s not such a major security issue when it comes to your neighbours Wi-Fi for example. It’s kind of a big deal when you are talking about the military and their army of flying video surveillance drones.
The US Army discovered that hackers were able to access the live feeds of these drones using software that costs less than a Game of Thrones Blu-ray box set.
How? Well, the Army had simply neglected to encrypt their drone software on any level, giving the public unfettered access to military hardware like they were playing Call of Duty. Anyone with a bit of tech-savvy was able to see what the drones were seeing.