2013 Top 10 Data Disasters

We gathered the Top 10 list of Data Disasters of 2013 from around the globe. Our engineers recover data daily from the most incredible situations. Our Top 10 Data Disasters is only a sample of the recoveries completed in 2013. Don’t forget to visit our Data Disaster Hall of Fame after reading this year’s list.

10. Long journey, broken drive (Hong Kong)

When a world cyclist and photographer arrived in Hong Kong in May 2013, they discovered that the hard drive with two years of photos and video of his 40,000 km cycle fundraiser around the world was broken. The Hong Kong team quickly got to work on this case, but it proved to be a very challenging recovery as the drive had major media damage in multiple locations on multiple surfaces. Trying every imaginable recovery technique possible, the Ontrack Data Recovery engineers were able to recover most of the images.

9. Movie mayhem (Poland)

While producing a movie for a film festival, a team of filmmakers encountered an on-set disaster. They were backing up their laptop to an external drive during production one day, when one of the crew members accidentally kicked the table over. Both the laptop and external drive crashed to the floor making the data inaccessible.  Eighteen months of production and investments gone with only two months until the festival. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover over 80 percent of the data, enabling the filmmakers to make the festival’s deadline. Kroll Ontrack is listed in the credits as their technology partner.

8. Data gone wild (United Kingdom)

A university student called looking for emergency service on her laptop.  She had lost her year-end term paper, and needed it back to pass her class.  When the Ontrack Data Recovery engineers asked what happened to the laptop, she explained that the year-end party from the night before was the culprit. Her laptop was found drowning in spilled drinks.

7. Gamer’s rage (France)

One day, the mother of three children tried to start the family computer without success. Error message. She asked the children if something strange happened because they were the last to use it. No answer. She suspected something and asked again. The oldest sibling said her brother was so angry he lost a video game that he slammed his fists on the keyboard!

6. Foiled robbery (Italy)

A thief took a laptop among other items from a home, but must have gotten scared off during the robbery.  While fleeing, the thief abandoned the laptop in the garden.  It was found by the owner after being out in the rain all night.  Kroll Ontrack was able to recover the data from the SSD inside.

5. Use caution while under the influence (United States)

After a night of partying, a man woke up in the middle of the night and used what he thought to be a restroom. In the morning, he discovered that it was not a restroom, and his laptop was a poor substitute for a toilet. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover 100% of the data.

4. Sabotage (United Kingdom)

Kroll Ontrack received a package of hard drive pieces. When Ontrack Data Recovery engineers called the company to find out what had happened, the company explained that the drive had been hit repeatedly with a hammer. The company insisted Kroll Ontrack try to recover the drive data. One file was recovered. What the company learned from that one file was that an employee had tried to wipe a file and destroy evidence. The one file recovered was enough to prosecute the employee.

3. Natural disasters (United States)

Unfortunately, some of the biggest data disasters stem from natural disasters. When one customer learned about looming Hurricane Sandy, they sprang into action and made a backup of all of their servers. However, they couldn't have predicted that the river half a mile from their office would have flooded to the extent it did, leaving all of their servers and backup tapes submerged in 28 inches of water. Kroll Ontrack was able to recover 100 percent of the office space design company’s data, which had been in business since 1957. The company said that without data recovery, they would have had to rebuild their business from scratch.

2. Spiders! (Italy)

Kroll Ontrack was called to work on a five-year-old server where the hard drive had crashed. When the data recovery engineer opened up the drive, he found the nest and spiders inside. They also had a vacation home in the drive of the server right next to the parking area of the heads. One hundred percent of the data was recovered.

1. A cell phone is not bullet-proof (United States)

Enough said.  Full recovery, 10GB of data total.

cell phone is not bullet-proof 

We have been announcing our Top 10 Data Disasters since 2003. This year we have created a Data Disaster Hall of Fame compiling the top stories for the last 10 years. View our hall of fame and vote for the Top Data Disaster of All Time.


2013 Top 10 Data Disasters