Texas Dept. Of Public Safety Issues Amber Alert For Victim Of Horror Doll Chucky

from the nightmare-fuel dept

There's a rule in IT: don't test on live systems in production. There's debate over this, of course, but the general idea is that testing on live systems is a great way to screw up something with the live system, rather than some test environment. The more important the system is, the more true that mantra becomes.

Which brings us to the Texas Amber Alert system. See, Texans subscribed to get Amber Alerts via email got one last week that seemed a little... off.

First... terrifying. As someone who absolutely hates horror movies because I'm a big scared wimp, getting this alert is pure nightmare fuel. But it's also sort of funny, except that this kind of testing on the live Amber Alert system is pretty dumb. The whole thing apparently happened due to a test being run on the system and it accidentally got sent out to email subscribers. Give the folks responsible for this high marks for going into detail on the joke, though.

The alert, which was sent by email on Friday, warned of a 16-pound suspect wearing “blue denim overalls” and “wielding a huge kitchen knife.” It included an image of Chucky, the killer doll introduced in the 1988 slasher film “Child’s Play,” the first of a series of Chucky films.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has since apologized, saying in a statement that the alert was sent as a “result of a test malfunction.”

“We apologize for the confusion this may have caused and are diligently working to ensure this does not happen again,” the department said.

Meanwhile, with the media asking the agency for more details on how all this happened and why, they aren't talking. Don Mancini, who created the Chucky character, is however.

Look, mistakes happen. But that's why you don't run these sorts of tests on a live system as important as the Amber Alert system.

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Filed Under: amber alert, chucky, texas


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 7 Feb 2021 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re:

    "many places of business dis-allow development access to production"

    ...and many more places don't. In my experience, especially smaller shops where the developers and production admins might be the same team. At the end of the day, someone has to have the ability to push to production, and someone forgetting to switch envs after fixing a production issue can be all it takes.

    "It just does not happen."

    Oh, believe me, it happens. Whether or not it should is another question, but it's certainly an issue in many companies, large and small. They usually only do it once before proper safeguards are put in place, but such things are usually considered optional until a mistake actually happens, and even then lessons are often forgotten once the team members involved leave.

    I'd also say that this is the most preferable explanation. If this wasn't someone having a brain fart while running QA tests, then the next best explanation is that it common for this system to have tests run in the production environment, with the only safeguard in their explained setup being that they turn off alerting before uploading fake data (then presumably have to remember to turn it back on afterwards). That seems to me like an even worse violation of good practices than the above.


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