Although technology has proven incredibly useful in numerous aspects, there is no doubt 2017 was a year for some big technical failures. The most spectacular of these technological blunders for the year are described below.
Technological failures in the security sector have been responsible for personal information becoming compromised, ransomware earning profits, failures in security utilities, and phones spying on their users. The fake news appeared online, and online harassment reached new levels. These failings were difficult for the security industry to avoid, and many businesses were put at risk.
Equifax handled a data breach so badly, it was the worst reported in history. A hacker breached the security of the consumer credit reporting company, and the data for fifty percent of all American adults became compromised. This affected more than 143 million individuals, and the stolen data included their full names, dates of birth, social security numbers, some drivers license numbers and addresses. Another breach occurred five months prior to Equifax, and some executives managed to find a way to sell stock prior to the breach being revealed. Consumer outrage led to Richard Smith stepping down as the CEO of Equifax due to the security failure, sinister activities, and numerous blunders.
Windows users placed their faith in a utility program called CCleaner. This application was trusted to remove unwanted files, until the discovery was made of malware in the program. This was confirmed by the developer, and information from the systems was collected and sent to a remote server. More than 700,000 machines were affected before the malware was removed. Trade secrets and intellectual property were stolen from numerous companies including Google, Microsoft, Sony, Intel and Samsung. As the developer, Piriform said a full investigation was launched, but no details have ever been mentioned.
2017 was also the year the discovery was made Russia would go to any lengths to spread false news, use social media, and influence the 2016 presidential election voters. This misinformation was not supplied by rouge accounts, but by the platforms through ad networks. According to Facebook, ten million individuals in the United States saw the ads purchased by the Russians. These ads covered everything from the rights of the LGBT community to gun rights. Although Mark Zuckerberg stated how upset he was by the use of our tools, and insisted he would be investing in security, Facebook is showing their users the interactions with the Russian pages with a new tool.
Congress was told by Twitter that Russia Today, a television run network in Russia, spent $274,100 on United States ads in 2017. Only one moth later, all ads from Sputnik International and RT were banned due to the intelligence findings of the United States and Twitter’s internal investigation.
While the controversies regarding Facebook raged on, Mark Zuckerberg was leading the pack. He sued hundreds of individuals on an island in Hawaii called Kauai. They were the beneficiaries of land now owned by Mark Zuckerberg. Despite the land having passed through generations, he tried to force the people to sell their land. A few months later, he was apologizing for his use of Puerto Rico showing severe damage from the hurricane as the background for his promotion for virtual reality.
Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar took a VR tour of the island’s worst flooded areas to raise awareness for a VR demonstration. Most saw this as using a disaster in the promotion of the technological products of Facebook. When he responded to the negativity, he said he was only showing how awareness can be raised through the use of technology.
The year 2017 definitely raised the stakes for what are considered major technological failures. The hope for 2018 is the severe breaches in security have been properly taken care of and eliminated, and the spreading of malware is now under control. Unfortunately, as technology continues to advance, the capabilities can cause as much harm as good. The consensus of opinion is for every individual with enough intelligence to find a solution that cannot be broken, this is another individual smart enough to break it.