5 DREADFUL DATA LOSS STORIES
MICROSOFT / SIDEKICK
In 2009, over 800,000 sidekick owners (remember those?) suffered a massive loss of photos, files, contacts and more due to a server failure on Microsoft’s behalf. Microsoft took over the data maintenance after purchasing the sidekick from it’s previous developer, Danger. After that purchase, Sidekicks experienced notoriously slow network speeds. Many wondered what had changed to slow a once elite phone to the speed of molasses. Eventually, Microsoft realized their technology was incompatible with the software at the Danger data center, and soon after the data was completely compromised. Microsoft eventually recovered most of the data, but it was an early black eye on the reputation of cloud computing.
Web Hoster Dreamhost lost data for over 700 sites and 3,500 FTP accounts on their servers. What was an IOS bug issue on their core 2 router turned into a full fledged disaster where customers’ sites were lost en masse. What commenced from there resembled trying to cover holes on a hose: one fix just uncovered more leakage elsewhere. The problem was eventually solved, but a lot of data is permanently in the internetherwold.
You remember when we said that DSAT machinery had recovered data for the government? That was no lie. The only thing as certain as death and taxes is eventual hard drive failure, but the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA) didn’t seem to notice the depleting function of one of their hard drives until it was too late.
This wasn’t just any hard drive though, it held the personal information of 75 million government employees! FBI agents, army personnel and secret service operatives all had their financial info and social security numbers in the hands of a data recovery specialist. Luckily, the service did recover the data from the hard drive, but one has to wonder how it even got to that point.
BANK OF AMERICA
BRITISH HOME OFFICE
That said, government data loss isn’t strictly a United States thing. The British Home office lost personal information from over 80,000 prisoners because an employee simply lost the storage media that was holding the data!
The private info was on a secure server, the safest space for sensitive data, then placed onto a USB, a significantly more vulnerable venue. The employee was warned of the dangers of his action, but decided to go through with it anyway. Once he lost the data, he also presumably lost his job.