Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kroll Ontrack announces the worst data disasters from 2015

MINNEAPOLIS – November 18, 2015 – What’s stronger than a speeding locomotive and can survive the heat of a fire? Data.

The device that contains that data is a different story, but the 2015 edition of Kroll Ontrack’s annual Top Data Disasters again proves just how hard it is for data to be destroyed. An iPad accidentally dropped on train tracks, a smartphone covered in chemicals, and a laptop that gave new meaning to the term “fried hard drive” are some of the highlights from this year’s list.

Each year, Kroll Ontrack – which performs over 40,000 data recovery jobs each year around the world – collects and publishes a list of the toughest physical and logical data losses from its global offices. 

“It takes a lot to make data truly disappear,” said Todd Johnson, vice president of data & storage technologies, Kroll Ontrack. That’s good news for anyone who has seen their device crushed, set on fire, plunged into water, thrown at a wall or simply dropped on the floor.  There is always hope that the data you think is missing can be retrieved.

View digital Top 10 Data Disasters

2015 Top Ten List of Data Disasters Compiled by Kroll Ontrack

#10: Summertime blues (Germany)
A small company was undergoing construction work throughout its offices, including its server room, when the company’s system administrator discovered one Friday that the plastic sheets used to protect the server room were not keeping the dust out. He decided to move the server to a different room away from the construction work for the weekend. After a very hot and sunny weekend, he discovered Monday morning that his co-workers could not log on. The administrator soon realized another co-worker had switched off the air conditioning to the room where he had moved the server on Friday to prevent dust from getting in there, and the server severely overheated as a result. Fortunately, although the server was smoking hot, Kroll Ontrack managed to recover 99 percent of the data.

#9: Vintage computer (Poland)
A customer was still using his Amiga 600 (introduced to the market in 1992!) when one day it (finally!) stopped working. No accidents, no human error – simply an old device reaching its end of life. Fortunately, Kroll Ontrack was at hand to support the customer, who viewed the Amiga 600 as more than just a machine – it was also a childhood gift full of lifelong memories.

#8: Professional bad luck (Norway)
A home user experienced data loss and turned to a local IT shop to get the problem fixed. In the process of copying the data onto a backup overnight – a process that can take several hours – the IT shop’s cleaner accidently dropped the disk onto the floor. Immediately the drive started making a very loud clicking sound. The IT shop did not take a second chance with the data and sent the disk straight over to Kroll Ontrack, where we managed to recover 98.8 percent of the data in the cleanroom.

#7: Déjà vu (Poland)
We received a RAID server with 22 drives, which had already undergone data recovery by Kroll Ontrack from a previous data loss. The customer had re-used the “good” drives, replaced the bad drives and continued to use the server. The customer did not have a backup (again!), the server crashed (again!) and the drives were sent (again!) to Kroll Ontrack for the recovery of the data. The lesson? Never reuse a broken system without putting the necessary protections in place.

#6: Dissolved Data (Poland)
“I poured the solvent on my laptop. I’m on my way to your office,” said the voice on the phone. We soon learned that while preparing a custom paint color for his wife, which required mixing different paints with solvent to achieve the proper shade – our customer accidentally kicked the open solvent container straight onto a laptop on the floor, which was playing background music. It was a sad day for the laptop, but fortunately not for the data. Thanks to his quick reaction and really fast delivery to Kroll Ontrack, the home decoration story ended well – all the data was recovered.

#5: Temper, temper (US)
In a fit of frustration, a customer took her laptop and threw it with all her strength against a wall. The drive bounced off the wall and fell to the ground. Despite the 10-foot toss, the crack against the wall and the crashing decent to the floor, Kroll Ontrack experts were able to recover all of the customer’s data.

#4: Gardening gone wrong (UK)
A customer was mowing the lawn when his smartphone inadvertently fell to the ground. He was initially unaware until he mowed over his mobile, completely destroying the device. A few minutes and a crumpled phone later, he called Kroll Ontrack to ask if we could help recover his data.

#3: iPad goes on a trip (UK)
In a play of very bad luck, a customer accidentally dropped his iPad from a train in the middle of remote woodland. Though amazingly recovered, the iPad was severely damaged and access to the data was compromised. The digitiser was destroyed so the iPad did not respond to touch, while the second screen layer, comprised of the LCD (which displays all the content), the chassis, the battery and the lightning connector, were all damaged.  The electronics were also playing up, so that the iPad was rebooting itself every two minutes, giving the engineer only a few-seconds window to perform the recovery between the reboots.  Despite these obstacles, our specialist engineers found that the motherboard was actually in a fairly good condition, facilitating the recovery of 100 percent of the data.

#2: Beautified iPhone (Italy)
A customer was busy removing her make-up at the end of the day when she knocked over her cleanser lotion and liquid spread all over her iPhone. As a result, her iPhone would not boot up, so she asked Kroll Ontrack for help. Her priority on the call was to stress the fact that the lotion was from a very well-known brand.  Thanks to our engineers (and the good quality of her lotion?) we were able to recover all the data, including precious photos and contacts.

#1: Fire + water = solution or problem? (UK)
When you store all of your data on your laptop in your flat (without a backup!), and your building catches on fire triggering the water sprinklers to go off, you’re having a pretty bad day. This is the scenario that brought a customer to Kroll Ontrack with his laptop that had severe fire and water damage. Even under these conditions, our specialist engineers managed to recover 100 percent of the data!

For more information about Kroll Ontrack data recovery services, visit

About Kroll Ontrack LLC
Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and solutions to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyze, produce and present data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery, consulting and document review. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: or follow @KrollOntrack on Twitter.

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Media Contact: Kristin Husom, 952-516-3781,