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Did you know it is possible to effectively delete your entire company with one wrong command? While the story of what happened to a man in the UK, named Marco Marsala, may or may not be partly fabricated--it is possible–and, is a reason to invest and get a Datto for your business.
As initially reported by The Independent, Marco Marsala worked for a company that was responsible for hosting the websites for over 1,500 customers, essentially providing servers for the website owners.
According to the story, Marsala inadvertently ran the Linux command “rm -rf” while running maintenance operations on his servers. The command “rm” means delete and the “-rf” option tells Linux to force remove everything, even if it is open or being used.
Usually, the command would be run with a specified directory. However, because it was allegedly run by accident, no directory was given. It was triggered from a Bash script — a kind of Linux file that contains executable code — that would usually set the location programmatically.
A bug in the file meant this didn’t occur though. The directory to delete from was never added to the “rm” command. It ran from the top of the filesystem, deleting everything on all the company servers.
As if that wasn’t enough, it was said he even deleted his backups. Of course, like every business, he did have offsite backups. However, as is so often the case for one reason or another with traditional backup systems, the backups weren’t able to save the day. According to Marsala’s story, he had just connected to the provider and mounted the drives to his computer for access. This gave the command access to the offsite backup server too, letting it wipe its contents alongside everything else. Yikes.
The story was posted to the ServerFault forum, where Marsala was advised he would be royally screwed.
One user, named Swen, said “I feel sorry to say that your company is now essentially dead.”
“You’re going out of business,” said Michael Hampton, another user. “You don’t need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer.”
“This is not bad luck: it’s astonishingly bad design reinforced by complete carelessness,” wrote forum user Massimo.
Now, this story may have been partly fabricated as part of a PR stunt, but things like this can and do happen. That’s why it is important to make sure you have a business continuity in place that works and works quickly. Don’t be a Marsala–get a Datto for your business before it is too late. Contact us to learn more about intelligent business continuity with Datto.