CloudNews & AnalysisSecurity

The Biggest Enterprise Tech Failures of 2021

CXOToday highlights some of these catastrophic moments in enterprise tech in 2021.

The year 2021 was a mixed bag of challenges and optimism. Even though Covid-19 vaccines became more widely available, the pandemic dragged on for another year. And while technology continued to keep us connected, entertained and productive during the pandemic, it also made our lives difficult. There were quite a few instances this year when technology failed miserably, creating havoc for individuals and organizations.

CXOToday highlights some of these catastrophic moments in enterprise tech in 2021.

Facebook and LinkedIn face massive data leaks

facebookIn April, the personal information of half a billion Facebook users, including phone numbers, birthdays and email addresses, had been posted to a website used by hackers. Facebook said at the time that the same data had previously been reported as scraped from peoples’ profiles by “malicious actors” in 2019 — and the issue that made it possible was fixed the same year. The incident showed yet again how vulnerable companies collecting massive amounts of personal data can be for cyber criminals.

LinkedIn data of over 700 million users has reportedly been exposed in a new breach. LinkedIn has a total of 756 million users, which means that the data of more than 92 percent of its users has been compromised in this new breach.

Ransomware gets bigger and more troublesome

ransomwareThis year, Ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS Foods, and other major organizations made headlines in 2021. Across the world, hackers are exploiting security weaknesses and holding the data of companies, governments and healthcare organizations hostage, sometimes demanding tens of millions of dollars in payment. In June, US investigators with the Justice Department said they recovered $2.3 million in cryptocurrency paid to hackers who were behind the Colonial Pipeline attack.  It was reported that six ransomware groups are responsible for breaching the cybersecurity defenses of 292 organizations. These criminal organizations have so far taken more than $45 million in ransom money from their attacks.

Internet outages create havoc globally

In a span of less than two weeks, large swaths of the internet went down, felled by outages at tech companies that most people have never even heard of. First, on June 8, countless websites including Amazon, eBay, Reddit, Spotify, The Guardian, The New York Times, and even the UK government’s websites to be unreachable, among others went dark due to an outage at content delivery network Fastly. Then, on June 17, an issue at a similar company, Akamai Technologies, broke websites including those belonging to Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In October again, some parts of the world experienced for approximately six hours following a network outage on Facebook together with its associated services WhatsApp and Instagram, which blamed on “configuration changes. Later in December, Amazon’s cloud computing service suffered three outages that led to issues for Disney+, Slack, Netflix, Hulu, and many others. It also disrupted Amazon’s logistics operations during the all-important holiday season. The outages were quickly detected and short-lived, but underscore how reliant we are on the internet, and how precarious it can be.

Facebook under fire

facebookThere seems to be no woes for Facebook in 2021. The social media giant’s official rebranding of its brand called Meta (derived from the word ‘Metaverse’) met with a lot of criticism, with the rebranding taking place in the shadow of The Facebook Papers. Whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel had provided redacted versions of damning internal documentation from Facebook that revealed our worst views of the social media giant were right. The company knew its Instagram app was terrible for the mental health of teen girls, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Apple’s overpriced cleaning cloth

Bigtechs in 2021 faced criticisms for several reasons, one such being Apple’s launch of its $19 polishing and cleaning cloth. Though Apple products are generally more expensive than their PC and Android equivalents, it has a huge fan base as users are willing to pay the ‘extra’ for its product design and user experience. But $19 for a polishing cloth seemed a tad too high! The gray nano-fiber cloth has a subtle embossed Apple logo, but when you can buy a pack of 30 microfiber cloths on Amazon for the same price, Apple’s premium cloth seems ridiculously overpriced.

Log4j server vulnerabilities

Log4j vulnerability, a tiny server-software component nearly brought down the internet in early December, is still giving sleepless nights to system administrators and IT security experts. It was found to have security flaws that could let hackers take over computers with a single line of text. Reportedly, millions of web servers worldwide are still at severe risk of getting hacked — and countless amounts of personal information, bank and credit-card details and account passwords could be stolen.

Tesla fails to keep its promises

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long claimed the electric-vehicle company’s “full self-driving” software. By late 2021, however, it’s still not fully autonomous. Instead, it offers driver-assist features that require users to agree that they must remain alert at the steering wheel in case they need to take over. Additionally, only a small number of Tesla drivers have been able to try it out thus far, including a group of customers who’ve paid $10,000 apiece for access to the “beta” version of the feature.

The NFT bubble to burst

NFTsIt seemed like the internet collectively lost its mind and decided to endorse buying JPEGs and Tweets for millions of dollars. While reasons are still unclear, from Jack Dorsey selling the first tweet on twitter for $2.9 million to a Nyan Cat GIF being sold at auction for nearly $600,000, NFT just feels like a bubble about to burst. But all that can change in 2022. We need to sit back and watch this space!

Leave a Response