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Top software failures of 2015/2016

Christina Mercer | June 28, 2016
Missing payments, double-charged customers and delayed stealth fighter jets all resulted from software glitches this year

This year technology has seen great advances but has also witnessed some pretty major failures! Let's take a look back at the worst software failures of 2015.

We look at the most disastrous failures of the past year.

1. Nest thermostat leaves users in the cold

Top software failures 2016: Nest thermostat leaves users in the cold
© Nest

In mid-January 2016 the Nest 'smart' thermostat (owned by Google) was hit with a software glitch which left users, literally, out in the cold.

A software update went wrong, forcing the device's batteries to drain and leaving it unable to control temperature - so customers were unable to heat their homes or get hot water on one of the coldest weekends of the year so far.

Nest said the fault had been caused by a December 4.0 firmware update, plus issues such as old air filters or incompatible boilers. It has since rolled out a 4.0.1 software update which it says has solved the issue for 99.5 percent of affected customers.

2. HSBC suffers major outage

Top software failures 2016: HSBC suffers major outage
© iStock/mikeinlondon

Less than a week into 2016, HSBC became the first bank to suffer a major IT outage. Millions of the bank's customers were unable to access online accounts. Services only returned to normal after a two-day outage. 

The bank's chief operating officer Jack Hackett blamed a "complex technical issue" with its internal systems.

3. Glitch releases US prisoners early

Top software failures 2015: Glitch releases US prisoners early
© iStock/C_For

In December 2015 a glitch caused more than 3,200 US prisoners to be released early. The software calculates a prisoner's sentence depending on good/bad behaviour and was introduced in 2002.

According to reports, the problem has been ongoing for 13 years until a new IT boss was appointed and informed the governor's office. It is estimated that on average prisoners were released 49 days early. 

4. HSBC business banking glitch

Top software failures 2015: HSBC business banking glitch
© iStock/Whitemay

HSBC again! In August 2015 a reported 275,000 individual payments failed to be processed by HSBC, which left many potentially without pay before the Bank Holiday weekend. The cause of this major failure was a problem with its electronic payment system for its business banking users which affected salary payments. 

Bacs is the payment system that is used for payment processes across the UK is reported to have picked up on the issue but noted that it was an 'isolated issue'.

5. Government divorce software failure

Top software failures 2015: Government divorce software failure
© iStock/DNY59


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