Computer history - 2021

Updated: 10/01/2023 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 2021

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, security vulnerabilities in computer history was announced on December 9, when notes on an Apache log4j vulnerability were released. The vulnerability could give an attacker full access to a server with minimal effort.

2021 computer and technology top terms

The following are some top computer and technology-related terms in alphabetical order that were introduced or popularized during 2021.

Computer and technology-related events in 2021

Twitter announced on January 8, 2021, that Donald Trump's Twitter account was permanently suspended, making him the first president to be banned from a social network.

The most expensive NFT piece, titled Everydays: the First 5000 Days by Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple), sold at a Christie's auction for $69,346,250 on March 11, 2021.

Microsoft logo

On April 12, 2021, Microsoft announced it was acquiring Nuance in a $16 billion deal.

China announced in May it was cracking down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrency miners and not allowing them to mine cryptocurrencies.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the first country to adopt bitcoin as a legal tender.

Tim Berners-Lee sold the World Wide Web source code for $5.4 million as an NFT (non-fungible token) in June 2021.

In July 2021, the rickroll video, Never Gonna Give You Up, hit 1 billion views.

Microsoft released the Surface Pro 8 on September 22, 2021.

In October 2021, Valve announced its Steam platform would no longer host blockchain games.

MoSys merged with Peraso Technologies to become Peraso Inc. in December 2021.

The emote PogChamp was removed from Twitch in 2021.

New computer products and services introduced in 2021

Apple released the Apple AirTag.

MindTouch was rebranded to NICE CXone Expert in April 2021.

In June 2021, 21st Century Software announced it had licensed the z/VSE source code from IBM with the intention of continuing to develop new operating system versions.

Microsoft announced on July 14, 2021, its new monthly subscription-based service called Windows 365. The service would allow anyone with any device to run Microsoft Windows through the cloud.

YouTube introduced YouTube Shorts in July 2021.

Samsung released the Z Flip3 and Z Fold3 in August 2021.

Apple released iOS 15, which introduced SharePlay.

Apple released its new iPhone 13 models on September 24, 2021.

Tesla, who had previously used NVIDIA chips, unveiled its custom silicon, the Tesla D1 chip, for use in the self-driving Autopilot AI (artificial intelligence) in all Tesla cars.

Android version 12 was released on October 4, 2021.

Microsoft released Microsoft Windows 11 on October 5, 2021.

Apple introduced updates to its custom silicon on October 18, 2021, the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max processors.

In 2021, the CASC (Certificate Authority Security Council) was renamed to the PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) Consortium.

After the popularity of Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces, Facebook introduced many new social audio services in 2021.

The Google Pixel 6 was released on October 28, 2021, and introduced Google's custom silicon, the Google Tensor chip.

The Steam Deck, a handheld gaming computer developed by Valve, was released in the United States in December 2021.

The Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra were released in 2021.

The Neeva search engine was released in the United States in 2021.

The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro smartphones were released in 2021.

Security breaches and leaks in 2021

An API (application programming interface) vulnerability was disclosed in January 2021, allowing anyone to access Twitter users private phone numbers and e-mail addresses that are not meant to be public. Using this vulnerability, attackers scraped over 5.4 million users' data.

The popular Iranian social messaging platform Raychat had its entire database of over 150 million users' leaked online.

In January, it was discovered that the Chinese startup Socialarks exposed over 400 GB of over 214 million users' personal information it had scraped from Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

The PSafe company discovered the largest data breach in Brazilian history of over 223 million people after it announced it found the data being offered for free on a darknet forum.

Pakistani company Bykea leaks more than 400 million records of personal information.

Hackers leaked 70 gigabytes of personal user information (over 4.1 million accounts) on the social media site Gab on March 10, 2021.

On April 3, 2021, over 553 million Facebook users' information was posted online from a 2019 leak. The details included the users' full name, location, birthday, e-mail address, phone number, and relationship status.

On April 8, 2021, LinkedIn announced that a user had scraped its database after discovering a hacker was attempting to sell a database containing 700 million LinkedIn users' information.

In May, security researchers discovered more than 100 million Android users' information was exposed because of a cloud service misconfiguration used by 23 different apps.

In May 2021, the U.S. Colonial Pipeline company was a victim of ransomware, attacked by the DarkSide hacker group. The attack caused Colonial Pipeline to temporarily shut down its main oil pipeline, which supplies 45% of the fuel for U.S. East Coast states. DarkSide demanded a ransom of $4.4 million, which the company paid. However, the U.S. Department of Justice recovered $2.3 million of that ransom payment.

Comparitech security researchers discovered an unprotected database maintained by Cognyte, a cybersecurity firm, with over 5 billion records aggregated from previous breaches.

Starting in June 2021, Western Digital's My Book Live devices began getting hit with a data deletion exploit that allowed malicious users to erase all the drives' data remotely.

The biggest global ransomware attack infected MSPs (Management Service Providers) using Kaseya on July 2, 2021. The attack infected thousands of companies in at least 17 different countries.

The DeFi protocol Poly Network lost $611 million in August due to a blockchain bridge exploit.

A hacker announced in August that he had 40 to 50 million T-Mobile customers' information. Information stolen included customer names, addresses, social security numbers, and driver's license information.

A security researcher discovered a Thailand database of over 106 million Thailand visitors had been unsecured and accessible to anyone for over 10 years in August 2021.

On November 5, 2021, Volodymyr Diachenko, a security researcher, discovered a Stripchat database consisting of nearly 200 million records of users and model information.

GoDaddy announced on November 17, 2021, that up to 1.2 million of its customers' information was exposed to hackers after they gained access to the company's managed WordPress hosting.

Discontinued products and services in 2021

On January 12, 2021, Adobe pushed an update to its Flash players to block it from being able to play all Flash content (e.g., SWF (Small Web Format)).

Microsoft announced that on March 31, 2021, Cortana would no longer work on Android, iOS, and smart speakers.

On April 9, 2021, Logitech announced it was discontinuing the Logitech Harmony universal remote controls.

Microsoft replaced the original version of Microsoft Edge with a new Chromium-based one as part of a security update on April 13, 2021.

PUBG Lite was discontinued on April 29, 2021.

LG announced in April that it was closing its mobile phone and smartphone business.

Yahoo! announced that Yahoo! Answers was shutting down on May 4, 2021.

BitMinter's website was shut down on July 2, 2021.

Google announced Google Hangouts would be shut down in 2021.

Houseparty was shut down by Epic Games in October 2021 after the app came under scrutiny because of alleged security vulnerabilities.

Abode discontinued Adobe Photoshop Sketch in 2021, a drawing app replaced by Adobe Fresco.

FactHound website was shut down in 2021.

In 2021, the Galaxy Note series of phones was discontinued.

Computer company events in 2021

Hewlett-Packard announced it was buying the gaming accessory brand HyperX for $425 million from Kingston on February 24, 2021.

The once popular West coast chain Fry's Electronics announced it was going out of business on February 24, 2021.

BullGuard was purchased by Avira (part of NortonLifeLock) in February 2021.

Epic Games announced it had bought Tonic Games, the developer of Fall Guys, for an undisclosed price on March 2, 2021.

NortonLifeLock announced in August it was merging with Avast for $8 billion to create a larger cybersecurity firm.

On September 7, 2021, Microsoft announced it had acquired the online video editor Clipchamp.

Facebook announced it would rebrand its company name to Meta on October 28, 2021.

Intuit completed its acquisition of Mailchimp on November 1, 2021 for approximately $6.3 billion.

Skillsoft announced on December 22, 2021, that it would acquire Codecademy for approximately $525 million.

Computer pioneer deaths in 2021

Charles Geschke

Charles Geschke passed away on April 16, 2021 (Age: 81).

Dan Kaminsky passed away on April 23, 2021 (Age: 42).

John McAfee passed away on June 23, 2021 (Age: 75).

Clive Sinclair passed away on September 16, 2021 (Age: 81).

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