Microsoft Exchange users have reported similar issues with email access 22 years later, dubbed “the Millennium bug” for its infected 2000 computers. 

Exchange servers all over the globe were downed when midnight struck on New Years Eve.  

Microsoft administrators have dubbed glitch Y2K22 the same as similar Y2K bug which affected some computers during the 22-year anniversary of the beginning of the new millennium. 

At the time, the public and companies feared the worse, with fears energy shortages resulting in failures in hospitals, schools and businesses, oil shortages, manufacturing issues and even planes falling from the skies.

Economists foresaw a world recession, and in masse flyers warning about the coming disaster were printed in late 1990s. 

Although the computer apocalypse didn’t come true, it is still a problem with today’s exchange servers.  

The issue taking down exchange servers worldwide began as the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve

Exchange servers were down all over the globe when midnight struck on New Years Eve.

This issue is due to the way Microsoft names updates in its malware scanning engine. Microsoft uses the date, year and month before another number known as an update number.

In this example, the update number is 220101 and 0001 respectively. 

This is used to track updates, with the assumption that the latest update will be the highest. 

The field containing the update number appears to be limited to 31 bits. That means that you cannot input more than two times the power of 31, or 2,147.483,648.

The naming system failed when the clock struck 2022. 

Microsoft’s anti-malware software scans for malware and queues emails before they arrive at the intended recipient.   

Microsoft has not yet confirmed the details, but said engineers were ‘working round the clock’ to fix the issue so customers won’t have to make changes to their own servers. 

Microsoft is yet to confirm the technical details of the failure, but has said that engineers are 'working around the clock on a fix' which will 'require several days to develop and deploy'

Microsoft has not yet confirmed the details, but said engineers are working around the clock to fix the issue. The solution will require several days of development and deployment. 

Don Cruickshank, Chairman of the Action 2000 Group, with his 'Last chance guide 'responsible for anticipating YK2 problems

Don Cruickshank is Chairman of Action 2000 Group with his Last Chance guide’ responsible for anticipating YK2 issues

The UK Government published flyers about the bug in the late 1990s

In the latter 1990s, flyers were published by the UK Government about this bug.

At the time, the public and companies feared the worse, with fears energy shortages resulting in failures in hospitals, schools and businesses, oil shortages, manufacturing issues and even planes falling from the skies

The public and corporations feared for the worst. They feared that energy shortages would lead to failures at hospitals, schools, and businesses. Oil shortages could also result in manufacturing problems and planes plummeting from the sky.

Microsoft stated that the fix would take ‘a few days to develop, deploy and test’. Engineers are currently working on an update to this release which requires customer action but also offers ‘the fastest time to resolve’.  

According to the company, “The malware engine crashes due to version checks against signature files” 

Social media has been used by system administrators to communicate workarounds. This includes disabling anti malware scanning to make systems vulnerable to attacks.  

‘Don’t wait for the Microsoft patch if you are not sure your Exchange Server storage has the capacity to hold all queued messages without filling up disks and crashing,” they wrote.

“Apply the workaround to the problem now, so that the message can be released sooner than expected.”

Microsoft has warned that the workarounds can only be used “if there is an email scanner capable of scanning for malware other than Exchange Server”.

System administrators have taken to social media to share workarounds, which involves disabling anti-malware scanning, leaving systems open to attack

Administrators have used social media to discuss workarounds. These include disabling antimalware scanning and leaving systems susceptible to attack.

Microsoft Exchange Team added, “We expect to have the update to you soon along with any actions you require. We regret any inconvenience caused by this problem.

People who are familiar with the Millennium bug, also known as the Y2K Scare in 2000, will recognize the issue.  

Numerous programs were represented by four-digit year (1999), and only the two last digits. Thus, 2000 was not easily distinguished from 1900. 

Individual businesses predicted that the damage caused by the bug could be global and would cost between $400m to $600b. This led to panic selling among the general public. 

To prepare for a computer-generated disaster, many people bought generators and stockpiled water. 

Contrary to popular belief, very few errors were made, mainly due to the proactive actions of tech professionals and computer programmers. Most companies worldwide had already fixed or upgraded their systems by 2000 to resolve the problem. 

It was feared the Y2K bug could cause computer shutdowns at the turn of the millennium

It was feared that the Y2K virus could lead to computer crashes at the beginning of the next millennium. 

People across the world stocked up on food and water, withdrew large sums of money and purchased backup generators in anticipation of the potential issues caused by Y2K

Around the world, many people stockpiled water and food. They also borrowed large sums to purchase backup generators for the possibility of problems caused by Y2K. 

Nevertheless, there were still some problems on January 1, 2000. 

The bug in Sheffield caused miscalculations of mother’s ages and incorrect Down Syndrome risk assessments to 154 pregnancies. 

This resulted in two abortions and the birth of four infants with the syndrome to mother who previously had been informed they were at low risk.   

Japan’s Ishikawa saw radiation monitoring equipment fail at midnight. Officials however insisted that there was no danger to the public. At 00:02, Onagawa, a radio alarm was raised at the nuclear power station. 

Computers in the US stopped processing information from an unknown number of spy satellites at midnight. However, normal function was restored within days.