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Yikes! Don't do this - Web host accidentally deletes 1,500 sites with one keystroke

Yikes! Don't do this - Web host accidentally deletes 1,500 sites with one keystroke
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

It often seems like computers have a mind of their own, but that's just an illusion. In reality, and unless there's a hardware problem, computers can only do what they're told to do, whether that's by you, a programmer or a hacker.

That means if you tell a computer to do something stupid, such as deleting an important file, it's going to do it. This author found that out two decades ago when carelessly running a "del *.bat" command in the DOS root directly and wiping out every batch file on the system. Unfortunately, a man who runs a Webhosting company just did something much, much worse.

User "bleemboy" recently posted to a server forum in a panic. He runs a Webhosting company with 1,535 customers. That means he's responsible for their websites and online data.

However, it all came crashing down when he ran a script that had a major error in. The centerpiece of the script was the "rm -rf" command, which is an infamous Linux command used to delete every file in a specific area of a computer.

However, he made a mistake when specifying the area, and the command wiped out every file ... on every server he owns. That works out to more than 1,500 hard drives.

What about his backups? Before the "rm -rf" command line, the script established a connection to the backup servers, which were on-site, so those got wiped too.

The server administrators on the forum were understandably harsh on "bleemboy" for making several critical errors in coding and judgement. However, some suggestions that he try a data-recovery service seemed to work out.

The "rm -rf" command doesn't overwrite data, which means every file can be recovered, eventually. It's just going to take a lot of time and a lot of money. Assuming he doesn't go out of business, he'll have definitely learned a few lessons.

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Source: Engadget
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