World Backup Day 2023: the worst data losses in history

World Backup Day 2023: the worst data losses in history

World Backup Day 2023

Today is World Backup Day 2023, i.e. the day in which the importance of securing one's data is celebrated to avoid losing it more or less voluntarily, perhaps due to inexperience or due to a cyber attack or even due to theft or loss . There are those who consider the historic event of the fire in the library of Alexandria in Egypt as the first significant case of massive data loss: certainly in that case we are talking about an archive in paper format, but the parallel with digital is valid given that it perfectly represents how it is possible to lose a huge work of years in a short time. Here are the most disastrous losses in history.

Valuable data

An employee of the US Veterans Department had a laptop and hard drive stolen from his home. Inside the memos were personal information on 26.5 million military already reformed or still active: the laptop was later found when an ad was published with a reward of $ 50,000 and the FBI declared that no one had had access to the data.

In 2009, the British government succeeded in losing confidential information on all prisoners in prisons in the area, with over 40,000 cases of crime, even very serious ones. The mistake was made by a government employee who saved the information on a single USB stick which was later lost and was not even encrypted so it is likely to imagine that someone found it.

Still in the United Kingdom another sensational precedent had taken place with the government the year before, in 2008, with the physical loss of a hard disk sent by post containing data on 25 million citizens with personal data, addresses, health service numbers and bank accounts; this was also not encrypted.

Even the British Navy was the protagonist of a sensational case in 2008 with the theft of a laptop from the car of a government employee: on the memory there were data of 600,000 candidates to be enlisted, a historical that covered the last ten years.

Disastrous portals

Hardly anyone remembers the ma.gnolia portal, which however in 2005 became a widely used online service because it anticipated the concept of sharing favorites and recommendations with a sort of social spirit. It's a pity that in 2009 everything was lost due to a malfunction that corrupted the data on the servers: there was a backup, but it hadn't been performed correctly and also its data was corrupted, forcing the closure of the site.

In 2011, the portal of the Health Net company specialized in providing and managing medical assistance lost nine drives with personal information on almost 2 million patients with financial and health data, personal data, addresses and other sensitive information.

It's not a game(attol)o

Finally, it is worth mentioning a near disaster like the one that had affected Toy Story 2 : a Pixar employee had in fact canceled all the production of the last year by mistake with a simple command that eliminated a package of essential files in bulk. The first attempt to recover the work failed, but fortunately a technical supervisor at that time on maternity leave had a backup two weeks before: a percentage was never recovered, but the field disaster was avoided.