In 2012, two servers run by the U.S. Navy rolled back their clocks 12 years, deciding it was the year 2000.
The servers were very important: they’re part of a worldwide network that helps computers keep the right time using the Network Time Protocol (NTP).
Computers that checked in with the Navy’s servers and adjusted their clocks accordingly had a variety of problems with their phones systems, routers and authentication systems.
The incident underscored the serious problems that can occur when using NTP, one of the oldest Internet protocols, which was published in 1985.
The protocol is fairly robust, but researchers from Boston University said Wednesday they’ve found several flaws in NTP that could undermine encrypted communications and even jam up bitcoin transactions.