Re: Lack of imagination when thinking up things that can go wrong.
In the embedded SW I worked on (only 10 years of experience for me, I'm still young :p), the checksums of all SW and configuration tables were checked during startup (Well, only during cold start : if the equipment was turned off for more than 10 seconds, or forced by exiting the dataloading mode). Such problems would have been caught.
Furthermore, most configuration parameters, especially the critical ones, are retrieved at startup, checked and, if detected as faulty (mostly out of range), either replaced by safe (but unoptimised) default values or prevent the use of the system, and report the issue to the flight computers.
Looks like some "SW architects" forgot those little details...