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Top 10 data loss disasters of 2008

Antony Savvas

Data recovery firm Kroll Ontrack has announced its fifth annual data disaster league, featuring the top 10 worst data mishaps from 2008.

A video of the top five data disasters has also been produced by the firm.

The annual global list consists of real data loss situations compiled by engineers from the firm's 32 offices worldwide, who have helped users to recover data.

"No matter how stringently you protect your data with encryption and back-ups, there's little you can do when your laptop goes for a swim," said Phil Bridge, managing director of Kroll Ontrack UK.

"Previous list-topping incidents include ant and cockroach invasions, a dirty sock encasing a hard drive, and the weight of an aeroplane driving over a laptop."

 

Kroll Ontrack's Data Disaster League 2008

10. Overboard - An around-the-world sailing trip ended badly when the traveller's boat capsized on the last day of her trip with a laptop on board. Thankfully, Ontrack Data Recovery engineers were able to recover 100% of the data, which documented her once-in-a-lifetime experience.

9. All cooped up - When Hurricane Katrina hit the US in 2005, a newlywed couple caught in the hurricane thought both their engagement and wedding photos would never be recovered. Their fears were confirmed when a local data recovery provider deemed the drive "corroded beyond repair".

8. Gone fishing - A lawyer on holiday thought she could fish with her father and do some business at the same time. Furious that she had brought a laptop into the fishing boat, her father's friend threw the laptop bag (containing the laptop and backup media) overboard. The fully clothed lawyer jumped in after the laptop. She was relieved when her valuable business and tax information was retrieved.

7. That's a wrap - An independent filmmaker was putting the final touches to his latest Western using his MacBook Pro when it started making odd noises and crashed. Without a backup copy, he worried that his year of hard work would go to waste. The film was recovered, completed and sold. It is now available internationally on DVD.

6. Stolen goods - A laptop was stolen from a family house, along with a purse, car keys and the family car. The car was found the following day by the riverside, but with no sign of the laptop or handbag. Days later, a good samaritan arrived at the burgled home with a dripping-wet laptop bag, and the laptop inside. His children had found it washed up on the beach. How were they able to find the owner? The thief had stuffed the handbag into the laptop bag before throwing it into the river.

5. Dog gone wild - A rowdy dog knocked a portable USB drive off a coffee table, rendering it unreadable by the family's computer. At stake were five years of family photos.

4. Baby teeth - Kroll Ontrack received an SD card from a camera with lots of teeth marks on it. The customer indicated a "wild animal" had got hold of it and chewed it. The wild animal he was referring to was his two-year-old son.

3. Swept away - A routine house cleaning went awry when a flash drive was sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. It was so powerful that tracks from the drive were pulled from the circuit board and the connector was torn loose.

2. It's a jungle out there - A wildlife research institute project came to a sudden halt when one of the flash tracking chips from a Florida panther's collar was damaged in the wild. The critical panther preservation data was successfully recovered.

1. Roast laptop - A man put his laptop into the oven, prior to going on holiday, in order to protect it from burglars if the house was by chance broken into. His wife came home and used the oven to cook a roast chicken before his return. The oven cooked not only the chicken, but the laptop too. Despite this, the man's data was recovered.


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