Sunday, 26 July 2015

I read the news today, oh boy

Earlier this morning, I wanted to catch up a bit on news, and as usual, it took entire seconds to find delightful examples for horrible software defects that should never exist to begin with. The most interesting parts of this (my personal selection, YMMV) mess for today are the following.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)

Ever since our beloved car manufacturers decided to include software in their products, they bless us with wonderful tales of software bugs, almost on a day to day basis. Last week, FCA recalled 1.4 million cars in the US alone, because it turns out that essential functions of these cars can be remotely controlled which includes taking over steering and braking allowing for the possibility of killing the passengers. Mass recalls of so many vehicles is certainly an expensive undertaking, so for us customers, for the sake of transparency, it would be interesting to know how many percent of the price of a new car goes into software incompetence.

ERGO insurance group

One of Europe's largest insurance groups, ERGO, recently admitted that they have been using faulty  life insurance calculation software for decades and now put substantial effort into correcting the calculation for a noticeable number of customers, 350000 so far (German only article, sorry). According to this article, some calculations were off by a 5-digit figure. Peanuts, eh'?


It always saddens me to read of screw-ups committed by Apple, because I am positively biased towards their products, I have to admit. This makes it much more emotional than reading about issues at, say, ERGO, because I would blindly expect them to screw up all their software. In any case, Apple makes it twice into today's list.
  1. A recently published exploit by Stefan Esser allows any user on an OS X 10.10 "Yosemite" to elevate the own permissions to root. The fun part here is that
    1. The exploit is so tiny, it fits in a tweet, and is a mere shell command, and
    2. There is no indication from Apple that they intend to fix it in Yosemite.
  2. After the rant about music streaming I published yesterday, I was secretly hoping for Apple Music to suck less than the other services when it comes to the software. After reading how Apple Music (or rather quitting it) may destroy the rest of a user's library, I should probably bury my hopes six feet under.

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