I would assume that the computer rage meter pegged for a lot of people yesterday, and for some, it will likely remain so for the next few days if not longer.
According to news reports like this one at the London Telegraph, millions of customers of the UK bank NatWest and some 100 000 customers of Northern Ireland's Ulster Bank, both of which are owned by RBS Group (and in which the UK government owns an 84 percent stake), have not had their accounts updated since Wednesday evening due to "technical issues" with the banks computer systems. As a result, customers have been having trouble with their accounts, leaving many without any money or the ability to automatically pay their bills.
In addition, a small number of Royal Bank of Scotland customers are said by the Telegraph to have been affected as well. In a story from the BBC, RBS is claiming that the underlying technical problem has been resolved, but it may take until Monday or later before all customer accounts are up to date. However, it took months for account update problems to be resolved for many National Australia Bank (NAB) customers when a similar IT problem happened in late 2010.
NatWest took to Twitter to provide status updates to its customers yesterday, but Twitter had problems of its own, going down twice yesterday. According to this story in ComputerWorld, Twitter engineers said that a “cascading bug” in one of its "infrastructure components" was the culprit. Twitter ended up rolling its software back to a more stable version.
Of course, you may not have noticed that Twitter was having problems if you were in parts of London or Sheffield and a customer of BT’s broadband service. This story at ComputerWeekly said that BT suffered multiple equipment failures that took down BT’s broadband services and Wi-Fi hotspots in different parts of the UK for up to five hours yesterday.
And just to round out yesterday’s gluttony of IT glitches and one that hopefully will be resolved sometime today, most of the 181 stores in the Hannaford Brothers supermarket chain were unable to process debit or credit cards at checkout yesterday due to a software problem stated this story at the Kennebec Journal. Hannaford supermarkets operate across Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. An AP story early this morning says that the company hopes to have the problem resolved later today.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.