Millennium Bug, why computers will stop working

Just mark this date: January 19, 2038. The reason? Computers and other computing devices could stop working forever because of a computer bug. Sort of like the new Millennium Bug, the problem that was supposed to send millions of computers into a tailspin on the night of December 31, 1999, to January 1, 2000, but which ultimately ended in nothing.

Why should PCs and Internet of Things devices stop working on January 19, 2038? The blame, if you can call it that, lies with the Unix standard used by many 32bit operating systems and found on so many devices we use every day. When they were programmed, the time when they should stop working was marked: after a good 2,147,483,647 seconds. A number that may seem to be infinite, but instead has a very precise end: 3:14:07 a.m. on January 19, 2038. The day when all devices with a 32-bit operating system could stop working.

How to avoid the new bug affecting computers

Is there a way to solve the problem and prevent the new "Millennium Bug" from knocking out millions of devices worldwide? Sure there is, just update 32-bit systems by moving the date further forward. This action, however, can be done only by those who have developed the Unix standards and who know where to put their hands.

The same problem does not arise for 64bit systems since the time limit has been set in a very distant future (they even talk about billions of years).

Who are the devices affected by the bug

Potentially there are millions of devices that on January 19, 2038 could stop working. The 32bit system affected by the bug is present on many computers and it is also used to realize the network protocols that allow smartphones to communicate with each other. But that's not all.

It is also present in many smart home devices such as security cameras and home automation systems.

Given the magnitude of the bug it is sure that manufacturers will intervene as soon as possible to release an update that will solve the problem. We'll just have to wait and see when it arrives.