Quality Assurance

 

Services        

  • Data integrity validation
  • Software Quality Assurance
  • IT Project Management
  • Stress test of electronic devices
                                              Information & Electronic Defects: A Synopsis
                                            By Kendall E. Coleman, BSEE, MBA, PMP, ITIL v3

A defect has been defined as a software flaw, error, a bug, or breach.  The Uniform Commercial Code describes a material breach as the breaking of a promise or obligation that destroys the contract’s value. If a software provider or electronic manufacturer delivers a system with a high severity defect, then they must assume responsibility for operational failure.  When an electronic system fails or a database allows unauthorized access then a flaw has been exposed. 

Software development originates from abstract requirements into an information system through an evolutionary process (Schneidewind, 2008). Subsequent builds, releases, and fixes alter the complexity of the software and may inadvertently introduce new defects into the system. Serious errors may lead to catastrophic consequences.

Information and electronic system failures during military operations may result in casualties or compromise a strategic mission.  The 1986 NASA Challenger disaster resulted from a low-temperature defect in the O-ring (NASA, 1986).  As cited in Bloomberg News, the U.S. Defense Department’s testing office reported that the Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Fighter contained a design flaw (Capaccio, 2011). This defect reduced the life cycle of the wing structure.  Other breaches may be less harmful, yet they raise serious concerns.

A 2011 New York Times article indicated that computer hackers gained access to the Nasdaq Stock Exchange systems  (Bowley, 2011).  The Washington Times reported that 360,000 Citigroup bank accounts had been comprised by hackers (Associated Press, 2011).  In January 2011, hackers infiltrated computer systems of the Canadian government (Noronha, 2011).  As the world becomes more digitized, information and electronic system integrity will continue to remain an important issue. A number of steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of failure.

1.    Testing the boundary conditions of systems

2.    Validating 100% of the requirements

3.    Randomizing test scenarios

4.    Introducing unscripted adhoc scenarios

5.    Extending the required test hours by 30%

6.    Stress testing areas of vulnerability

7.    Identifying the true MTBF in extreme environmental conditions

8.    Regression testing ‘fix releases’

 

Bibliography

Associated Press. (2011, June 16). Citigroup says 360,000 affected by hackers. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from The Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jun/16/citigroup-says-360000-affected-by-hackers/

Bowley, G. (2011, February 5). Hackers Gained Access to Nasdaq Systems, but Not Trades. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/business/06nasdaq.html

Capaccio, T. (2011, September 1). Lockheed F-35 Fighter Has ‘Design Flaw’ in Wing Part, Pentagon Tester Says. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-01/lockheed-martin-f-35-wing-part-has-design-flaw-tester-says.html

NASA. (1986, April 3). Report of the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident . Retrieved December 15, 2011, from NASA: http://history.nasa.gov/rogersrep/v1ch6.htm

Noronha, C. (2011, February 17). Hackers infiltrate Canadian government computers. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from Business Week: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9LENOM81.htm

Schneidewind, N. (2008). Complexity-Driven Reliability Model. International Journal of Reliability, Quality and Saftey Engineering , 15 (5), 479-494.