The 10 worst tech stories of 2021

Image: Wetzkaz Graphics/Shutterstock
A lot of things has actually happened in the previous year, especially in the tech world. It looked like every time you turned your head in 2021 there was a new digital disaster unfolding: Sensitive information was leaked, ransoms took networks offline and plain old style gender discrimination cases have all rocked the tech world in the previous 12 months.
Sure, theres been excellent things, however it was far easier to come up with this one than the former. Essentially, its been a rough year.

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The group behind the attacks is known as Nobelium, and its just the most current in a string of government-sponsored attacks versus IT infrastructure and companies in foreign countries. What are you buying when you buy an NFT? An NFT could increase in worth, or it might turn out we all choose theyre simply as valuable as beanie children, Troll dolls or Tomagotchi.
Its supposed to be stable, however Amazons AWS hosting service, which accounts for a significant part of the websites on the web, just kept going down in December. Digital change efforts compressed from years to weeks due to the pandemic, and an ever-increasing number of companies going cloud native means were pressing our infrastructure more difficult than ever.

You may have missed a few of these items, however its more likely youve found out about each one. They were difficult to miss, even amongst the other stories that kept us on edge this past year.
The Colonial Pipeline attack
When the Colonial Pipeline Company was forced to shut down its operations due to a ransomware attack in May, an excellent part of the east coast of the U.S. was left fretting about lacking fuel, providing us one of our very first genuine photos of what it looked like when the danger of cybercrime overflowed into the real world.
The attack was an eye opener that not just highlighted how unsafe ransomware might be, however likewise how susceptible vital infrastructure was to attack.
To make matters worse, think of how secure infrastructure should be, and after that think of yours: Are you prepared for an attack like that?
In other ransomware news, its everywhere
As the Colonial Pipeline attack showed us, ransomware is a severe risk to everybody everywhere, even those who do not make much use of innovation: If it can impact facilities, it can impact whatever.
To make matters worse, ransomware represented 69% of all attacks including malware in Q2 2021, a 30% leap from the exact same duration in 2020. Weve gone into the ransomware age.
Governments, industrial and medical business, instructional centers and clinical organizations are at the greatest risk of being assaulted by ransomware, but theyre not the only ones who require to fret.
On a positive note, ransomware actors appear to like leveraging recognized security vulnerabilities, so keeping your systems updated should go a long way toward decreasing your attack footprint.
Bitcoin sets the world on fire
Yeah, Bitcoin is hot this year, but thats not what I mean: Im speaking about the enormous energy and carbon footprint that has flowered up as the Bitcoin network continues to grow. Weve finally started to focus on it in 2021, with Elon Musk calling its energy consumption “crazy,” and calling into concern its effectiveness (neither Tesla nor Musk have divested themselves of Bitcoin holdings).
Its real that Bitcoin utilizes an unreasonable quantity of energy, and 2021 was the year that it really skyrocketed, rising from somewhere around a 77 TWh/year projection in the beginning of the year to more than 200 TWh/year by December 25. At this point, the Bitcoin network is burning through the same amount of power and fuel as some medium-sized countries, and a private deal eats up more power than a typical U.S. home utilizes in 70 days.
Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, require something big, like a shift to proof-of-stake, if theyre going to endure a bigger international transition to greener energy.
SEE: Google Chrome: Security and UI pointers you need to understand (TechRepublic Premium).
SolarWinds assailants keep hacking.
In late 2020, a group of what is now believed to be Russian state-sponsored hackers broke into government systems by making use of defects in SolarWinds Orion network management software application. It was an advanced attack that leveraged deep-level vulnerabilities and it left the cybersecurity world rushing.
The group behind it didnt slow down, and is believed to be responsible for a series of phishing attacks against federal government firms and NGOs in May, and attempts it made to impersonate cloud service resellers in a bid to access to consumer IT systems in October.
The group behind the attacks is called Nobelium, and its just the most recent in a string of government-sponsored attacks versus IT facilities and companies in foreign nations. Its unlikely to be the last group either, so continue to be on guard, especially if you do operate in an affected market. You may not think it, however your company might work as an undetected method for dangerous assaulters.
The chips are really, extremely down.
Its been a rough number of years for anybody who produces items that make usage of semiconductors. That means primarily everybody in the contemporary world.
The chip scarcity that started as an outcome of COVID-19 supply chain disturbances continues unabated, leaving numerous items deprived of essential elements.
The big issue with the semiconductor industry is how rigid it is, and needs to be: Material expenses are high, products are made-to-order and abrupt disturbances in the supply chain can result in years of delays, as were experiencing now.
Predictions as to an ending vary, however expect us to operate in some sort of shortage until at least mid-2023 or early 2024.
Exchange gets pwned.
The 4 zero-day Microsoft Exchange server vulnerabilities discovered in March are absolutely a competitor if there are a few stories duking it out for the title of worst of the year.
The quartet of exploits emerged when attacks by a Chinese state-sponsored actor understood as Hafnium were found targeting on-premise Exchange servers with the primary goal of exhilarating sensitive or otherwise important information.
Patches for this exploit have been released, so anybody accountable for a device running Exchange Server 2013, 2016 or 2019 ought to make certain those patches are used. , if you dont install them and get hit youll only have yourself to blame.
NFTs: Youre buying absolutely nothing, but someones getting.
If you read my previous article on the very best tech of 2021, you may be confused to see NFTs here, because theyre in there, too.
The principle of the NFT is terrific: Theyre unique tokens that live on a blockchain and can be tied to anything, which offers them a lot of possible applications. Up until now, the only application to gain steam has actually been yet another speculative market akin to the one surrounding Bitcoin.
NFTs have mainly been utilized to offer digital artwork and other collectible products by seemingly calling the NFT the “original” digital item. In the majority of cases, purchasers dont get any form of copyright control or reproduction rights– that normally stays with the creator or seller.
What are you buying when you purchase an NFT? Absolutely nothing. How much are you spending? Potentially millions. An NFT could increase in value, or it could turn out we all choose theyre simply as important as beanie infants, Troll dolls or Tomagotchi.
SEE: Password breach: Why pop culture and passwords dont blend (free PDF) (TechRepublic).
AWS crashes … and crashes … and crashes.
Weve come to depend on the cloud in a fairly brief amount of time, and we ended up being even more based on it thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its supposed to be steady, but Amazons AWS hosting service, which accounts for a substantial part of the sites on the internet, simply kept decreasing in December. Since publication, AWS has actually had 3 interruptions in December, bringing service to a halt for its consumers at an incredibly important time.
Digital change efforts compressed from years to weeks due to the pandemic, and an ever-increasing variety of business going cloud native means were pushing our facilities harder than ever. AWS, probably the leader in all things cloud, isnt scoring any points with its consumers with ongoing failures. , if it doesnt step up its game in 2022 others will surely attempt to take its location.
Facebook has actually had a YEAR.
Its been a rough year for Facebook, whichs putting it lightly. 2020 was bad, too, and a lot of the general public ire that Facebook incurred in 2021 was stitched in a currently fertile bed fertilized with in 2015s information privacy scandal.
Do not get me incorrect: Facebooks rough year has been entirely of its own making. The most significant story, Facebook item manager Frances Haugens whistleblowing, opened up some deep closets full of unclean laundry that Mark Zuckerberg would likely rather stayed closed.
Haugen concerned the public equipped with a trove of over 1,000 pages of internal documents that exposed Facebooks awareness of the issues it stoked by allowing misinformation to spread out and stopping working to cops content.
A month later on, information stolen from over 1.5 billion Facebook users appeared on the dark web. Surely unrelated to its mounting scandals, Facebook chose to rebrand itself to Meta quickly afterwards.
Metas brand-new goal appears to be everything about creating a digital “metaverse” where it sees humans working and playing in a digital world of Facebook-based, er … “Meta”- based virtual truth.
If Facebook/Meta has sufficient brand name capital to prosper in the face of so much current negative publicity, it remains to be seen.
We discovered how far we still need to go on equality.
Its not precisely a secret that the tech market has long had a problem with gender equality. Women in tech regularly say theyve experienced sexism first hand, and studies have found for a long time that women continue to make less than guys doing the exact same work.
To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has actually hit ladies in the tech sector especially hard, with numerous stating it has actually triggered a regression of gender roles that has actually set ladiess improvement in the industry back by decades.
To cover everything up with a not-so-pretty bow was the revelations that came out of World of Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard that revealed a pervasive culture of sexism and gender discrimination, which is putting it lightly.
There are a lot of methods that the tech market has actually been made to assess itself in the previous couple of years, and this concern is no various.
Shareholders are now suing Activision Blizzard for economic damage incurred as a result of withheld info, all while 4 Blizzard workers have installed a lawsuit declaring discrimination and hostility at work. Oh, toss an SEC investigation into the accusations onto the stack, too, and players unhappy over both the business circumstance and what they view as poor storytelling in World of Warcraft leaving in droves.
All of the blowback Activision Blizzard is getting seems like the first example of a mega corporation being driven to alarming straits as a result of the bad habits of its management team. Those who enable, commit or overlook bad habits at major corporations must keep a careful eye on these procedures and their outcome.

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