News stories have been coming out of Australia about a computer date problem affecting the Bank of Queensland's electronic point-of-sale (Eftpos) transactions. On January 1st, the Bank's Eftpos terminals across Australia skipped ahead six years to 2016. As a result, many retail businesses were unable to process sales transaction, and had to revert back to manual methods of writing out receipts.
The Bank has created a work around, but the latest news reports imply that it still hasn't figured out the cause of the problem as of yet.
Today's Sydney Morning Herald says that while the Bank of Queensland's Eftpos transactions are now being processed "normally", the transaction date is still being shown as 2016.
In addition, the SMH says other Australian banks have suffered the same problem with their Eftpos terminals. Commonwealth Bank-owned BankWest has had a 2016 date problem, as have merchant customers of Cuscal which supports credit unions in Australia.
Furthermore, cell phones using Windows Mobile seem to have a 2016 date problem as well, according to Wired. Incoming text messages are being date stamped 2016.
Telecoms Korea for instance, says that the, "Seventy-three kinds of LG Electronics mobile phones that [use Windows Mobile] have been sold since June 2005 in the domestic market are showing the wrong date [i.e., 2016] on incoming SMS (short message service) texts, according to the company."
Weird co-incidence, though. It will be interesting to see why the same year - 2016 - popped up in both Eftpos and Windows Mobile software.
There is also a report in ZDNet UK that Symantec is dealing with a date-stamp problem of its own. Apparently, Symantec's automatic security updates that are dated 2010 are being rejected.
Symantec's enterprise Endpoint Protection Manager, Endpoint Protection v11.x and Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition v12.x are affected. A work around has been developed.
A similar data-stamp problem hit Symantec's Norton Internet Security, Norton 360, Norton AntiVirus, Symantec AntiVirus, and Symantec Client Security on the 1st of January, but it was resolved a day later.
Not quite the meltdowns predicted for Y2K, but there do seem to be more than the usual number of end-of-year computer date problems this year.
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.