From the National Post:
Systems crash inevitable report: Networks for banks, hospitals, power lines at risk within the next five years
June 8, 2004
Computer networks that support Canada’s critical services — from hospitals to banks to power lines — will undoubtedly crash in the next five years, warns a government-commissioned report that says even immediate action cannot stop the inevitable.
Shoddy software has left the Internet and other parts of our telecommunications systems vulnerable to a massive meltdown, the report concludes. No corrective action can avert “a major failure,” but the authors say both the government and the private sector must act quickly if they are to prevent subsequent collapses.
With respect to software that has evolved to a high level of complexity, there may exist no single individual who grasps the entire program, let alone one who can keep track of all those who have contributed to its various components,” the report reads. ” [emphasis added]
I’m reminded of Ralph Johnson speaking on security last week. He noted that secure systems are usually known by one person; they have a simple enough design to be understood by one person (usually the designer). To be secure, a system must be reliable.