Posts Tagged Under: Bugs

Easter Eggs in Software: Our Fun Selection

It’s that chocolatey time of the year again! Bunnies are hopping, people are shopping, and the Easter egg hall of fame just keeps getting better and better.

If you’ve hung around this blog for longer than five seconds, though, you probably know we’re not talking about this classic display or even this other luxurious spectacle.

No, ever since Software Designer Warren Robinett cheekily credited himself in a room concealed within Atari’s Adventure game, the popular tradition of Easter egg hunting has grown to denote another favourite pastime — particularly among tech gurus and aficionados.

So to mark the start of our paschal festivities, let’s take a look at some of the best hidden surprises you can find skulking in your devices right now!

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Who Should Pay for Bug Fixes?

In a perfect world, every application would sit comfortably atop wholly stable, never-changing systems.

Unfortunately for utopians everywhere, however, the foundation upon which modern software is built is much more akin to a ticking time bomb.

While software solutions should always be delivered in working order, all it takes is a single Windows or Linux update failing to play well with a program for something somewhere to snap.

And just to make matters worse, these things are completely unavoidable!

But they also beg the inevitable, oft-awkward question: when so-called bugs eventually do make an appearance, who should be responsible for paying for them?

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Meltdown and Spectre: How Everyone Is Affected

Although it may have been dubbed the “worst bug ever,” for many years, the mechanism behind security vulnerabilities Meltdown and Spectre was widely regarded as a cornerstone of modern processor design.

It was only at the turn of the year that talk of a serious threat to cybersecurity began making the online rounds. Without any substantial evidence, the subject was cautiously treated as a rumour, but after days of intensifying speculation, Intel were forced to finally come clean.

And so, in an astounding January 3 statement, the chip giant finally admitted that critical security flaws are indeed present in most modern-day processors, including ARM and AMD. Essentially, this conceded that no one is immune to the danger, as it affects virtually all personal computers, cloud servers, and mobile phones as well.

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Plan & Prevent: The Secret to Overcoming a Ransomware Attack

Last May, we watched in bewilderment as our already crippled NHS was dealt yet another blow — an unprecedented cyber attack was causing chaos and disruption in one in five NHS trusts across England, and we had barely heard the half of it. As the story continued to unfold, newscasters relayed that the attack had been a global phenomenon, quickly spreading to 150 countries and infecting over 230,000 computers.

The guilty party was a malicious program known as WannaCry, ransomware designed specifically to exploit an old Windows vulnerability in order to lock systems, encrypt files and demand $300 (£232) in exchange for a decryption key. While many were warned not to pay the ransom, as there was no guarantee of ever recovering one’s data, the cybercrooks reportedly earned £55,000 in more than 260 Bitcoin transactions.

With such alarming figures, it is not difficult to see why so many hackers have turned to ransomware as a convenient and lucrative form of criminal behaviour. Ironically, however, standard security procedures are also responsible for the increasing danger. Because IT specialists keep open databases listing all known recent threats, cybercriminals are able to use this information to target system weaknesses. To make matters worse, most companies fail to install security patches as soon as they become available, leaving the door wide open for further attacks.

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