4 Major Software Bugs in Recent History

Owen Savage

Automation Expert

In recent years, software failures have brought some of the world’s largest organizations to their knees. This brief article looks at some significant software outages and their consequences. 

When does a software bug happen? It’s when a component of a system fails. This can involve the invalid administrative or user application actions needed for business-critical transactions. 

Here are some key examples of software bugs in recent history. 


In October 2021 Facebook experienced one of its largest power outages in a decade. 

It resulted in a 5% drop in share price, losing billions from its market cap value. According to the company, it was caused by a bug which was supposed to identify and prevent commands (commands that could take systems offline accidentally) from being issued.

Facebook’s outage made a significant difference to how industry workers perceived risk and the action that needs to be taken to avoid it. 

The majority of CEOs who took part in Leapwork’s 22 study with Censuswide said that the event made them more aware of the need for adequate testing. 





Another example saw Fastly – one of the largest content delivery networks on the internet –  experience an outage which affected major companies using its services. 

Amazon’s reliance on this critical internet infrastructure for its traffic saw it lose $32 million in sales during the outage. This bug was triggered by a customer performing a routine configuration change and triggering a bug that made 85% of the network return errors. 

Amazon Web Services  

As the largest cloud-computing service provider in the world, AWS going down means millions of enterprises feeling the effects. In December 2021, AWS’ EC2 APIs experiencing problems led to Amazon, Disney+ and Netflix’s services being affected. 

An automated computer program ended up causing a surge of activity on Amazon’s networks, making a large number of its systems fail. This caused an activity surge that meant users could not access its cloud services. This was described by Forrester’s analyst Brent Ellis as causing a ‘snowball effect’. 

This outage showed the need to thoroughly test the APIs that contribute to service delivery and customer experience.

British Airways 

In 2017, British Airways experienced an almost total system failure where the switching off of a power supply resulted in critical servers being damaged from a power surge. Hundreds of flights were canceled. Around £80 million was lost… 

The sheer cost of poor quality software should be enough to alert CEOs and QA teams to the need to take action; it continues to cost US organizations over $2 trillion annually. This is partly due to a culture of patch testing software after it has been released. 




If you want to learn more about the risks being taken in QA and the causes of software outages,  download the 2022 Risk Radar Report below.


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