Six years older in a day

After the much-hyped millennium bug failed to do much damage, nobody was really expecting a ‘Decennium’ ‘Y2K16’ or ‘Decade-change’ bug. At the beginning of January, there were some embarrassing failures. The most publicized failure occurred in Germany where 25 million German bank cards were rejected. Not to be outdone, the card-reading system provided by the Bank of Queensland mistakenly switched to Jan. 1, 2016 rather than 2010. This meant that almost every customer’s debit card was read as having expired and was therefore rejected.  The mis-reading of 2010 as 2016 affected a variety of mobile phone users who have found that texts have been received dated 2016 rather than 2010. Some owners of older PalmOs mobile phones would have other things on their minds since their calendar applications stopped working entirely! The prize for the most embarrassing failure goes to the Spam Assassin e-mail filtering service. Evidently, this was due to an automated rule put in some time ago that marked any e-mail which appeared to come from after 2009 as being Spam! Runner up is Symantec’s network access control software’ Symantec Endpoint Protection Management Server’ (SEPM) which got itself confused and refused to send out updates, thinking that anything later than December 31, 2009 were out of date .

There are reports of problems with Cisco’s CSM load balancer, and with SAP’s spooling of print and email requests.  Users of Invision Power Board were, evidently, unable to create new blog entries; some of Arcsight perpetual license keys stuck at January 1st, 2010, and Palm Pre WebOS started having problems with its Exchange calendar sync. Yes, not everyone had a restful new-year holiday.

These are just the instances that have come to light so far. There are probably other, far more insidious ones around which don’t show such obvious symptoms; so it is worth checking your systems just to see if anything quirky started happening in the New Year. Could you be suffering from Y2K16?


Michael Francis