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News Roundup: 3 Examples of Recent Software Testing Bugs

Since part of my job is to blog about ISEB and ISTQB software testing certifications, as well as software testing bugs and issues in general, I like to keep my eye on the pulse of the industry by monitoring a variety of software related news feeds.  In doing this I became aware of 3 major bug problems that were publicized recently.  Here is the roundup.

On April 21st, Amazon’s cloud services platform in one of its data centers essentially crashed.  This resulted in multi-day outages for several dozen online businesses that use Amazon to host their sites. The root cause of the issue was that one element of its data network was incorrectly coded, which resulted in a bunch of redundant processes triggering all at once and crashing the entire system.  If you are interested in the intricate details of the root cause, or if you simply have insomnia, you can read the full root cause analysis here.  

The second recent bug I read about relates to the Apple iPhone.  Apparently every iPhone stores the user’s location data in a permanent file that can be accessed by manipulating the user’s laptop.  Obviously this is a major privacy issue.  Apple released some information on the root cause, specifically that the location data file failed to ever get deleted, that the data should not have been backed up to iTunes, and that the data file process failed to disable itself after users turned off the functionality.  The company is in the process of fixing all 3 defects and also will start protecting the location data files via encryption. 

The third and final recent defect I read about is another one related to Amazon, but this one is the fault of the company’s affiliates, not the company itself.  Two affiliate book sellers used a software application to compete in a price war with each other, and the software got caught in an endless loop that eventually listed one of the books for over $23 million!  The root cause was that the software itself was buggy, and the users did not bother to set price caps or any other control mechanism to keep the software in check. 

So there you have it; these software testing bugs provide more proof of the necessity of good software testing practices.  I will continue to monitor news events like these, and I will blog about them periodically, so check back often!


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