Top data disasters in 2009


11 Dec 2009

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Stolen laptops may be the most common reason data is lost or compromised, but what about the more bizarre cases, including vomiting pets and deep-sea misadventures?

Data recovery and computer forensics specialist firm Kroll Ontrack has found that some of the more disastrous data-loss cases they have prevented this year have turned out to be the most bizarre.

Near catastrophe

Not surprisingly, two potential data disasters in the home involved the family cat. In one case, the curious kitty pulled cables and brought an external USB hard drive smashing to the ground while the next family didn’t get off so lightly.

After finding and eating vast quantities of defrosting meat, this cat chose the laptop to get sick on with the result that it seeped through to the hard drive underneath.

Kroll Ontrack managed to recover the data from these two drives as well as one that has sunk 200 feet to the bottom of the ocean. After six months it was discovered and brought to the surface and surprisingly 99pc of the data was extracted safely and soundly.

Of course, not all hard drives fall prey to domestic animals and the ocean. Human error can play a part. In one company, two employees managed to come to fisticuffs in a server room, knocking an entire server off a rack and potentially destroying business-critical information that was recovered completely.

Oops …

Another businessman did a Bill Gates on it. He left his laptop on the roof of his car and drove off without noticing. The result? A completely smashed up piece of hardware from which Kroll Ontrack was able to retrieve all data.

The data-recovery firm also explained how it was able to save several memory cards from digital cameras after accidents involving both motor bikes and horses resulted in damaged SD cards and data.

"Ontrack Data Recovery engineers see more than 50,000 data recoveries annually,” said Ciaran Farrell, business development manager at Kroll Ontrack Ireland.

“While some are extreme, it is important to note that advances in technology and expertise make no situation impossible.”

By Marie Boran

Photo: Hard drives lost to the sea had data recovered by Kroll Ontrack.

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