Examples of lost data recovery

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A number of unexpected occurrence may happen in life – important and sensitive data may be sometimes lost in a various manner, but specialist laboratories offer the possibility to recover all, or the majority of lost data.

The below examples present positive cases of restoring of lost data. Nevertheless, the fact that we would like to draw attention to is that these examples show that Your sensitive data, which should theoretically be destroyed along with the data carriers upon which they were stored – often in a manner much more effective than the currently believed effective methods of data destruction… yet have been restored.

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Chemical utilisation of data carriers

1. PAN Institute of Technology Problems conducted an experiment, during which about 200 hard drives were collected, from which their owners have removed their data (purchased on internet auctions, second hand computer shops, private donors) and during the period of 2 months their analysis have been executed with the application of generally available software.

During the executed analyses the series of various information have been restored, including:

  • the history of companies,
  • detailed personal data,
  • personal ids,
  • bank account numbers,
  • transaction listings,
  • PIT tax reports,
  • investment stock taking balances and schedules,
  • agreements concluded with other companies,
  • email account passwords,
  • address and contact data,
  • payment slips,
  • databases,
  • internet communicator conversation archives,
  • proofs of marriage infidelity (correspondence, pictures, addresses, telephones).

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2. On the 1st of February 2003 during entering earth’s atmosphere, Columbia space shuttle was destroyed. Its hard drives contained extremely important data with regard a conducted scientific experiment – one of the hard drives was recovered but it was in a very bad condition, with a cracked structure of disks – despite that fast an American company was able to restore about 99% of data contained therein. That fact shows how hard it is to destroy a hard drive even in extremely unfavourable conditions such as high temperature as well as a fall from significant heights... ...

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3. Every year the company of Kroll Ontrack informs about the most interesting cases of lost data restoring.

In 2013 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Recovered 100% (10 GB) of data from your smartphone, which was shot by gun - another example showing that the mechanical destruction does not prevent the recovery of data.
  2. The server and disk server, which found a nest full of spiders, and 100% of the data.
  3. Servers and their backups - flooded as a result of the attack of Hurricane Sandy. Recovered 100% of the data, which allowed the operation of almost 60 years design firm not to start again from the beginning...
  4. (Described above) recovered a single file from the disk specially shattered to smithereens hammer - has allowed it to establish that the staff tried to delete data and cover his tracks.
  5. Recovered 100% of the data from the disk, for which the owner accidentally (the dark and the alcohol) urinated.
  6. Spending the whole rainy night on the lawn of the abandoned by the thief laptop, did not prevent the recovery of all data.
  7. Lost in a computer game caused the child with all his strength struck his fist on the keyboard, which caused a loss of data.
  8. Recovery of data from laptop flooded alcohol during the celebration of the end of the academic year.
  9. Recovered more than 80% of the data from the laptop, which contained the results of the 18-month work 150-person crew - fell off the table when accidentally kicking the table during the copying of material on the external drive.
  10. Recovered most of the data from the laptop, which was documented two-year cycling trip a traveler, during which he have driven nearly 40,000 Miles - data recovered despite the presence of complex lesions, which occurred on many surfaces media (another confirmation that the scratches and mechanical damage do not guarantee effective destruction of data!).

In 2012 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Recovered 100 % of the data collected on the RAID5 array, which has been damaged.
  2. Saved data from more than 30,000 virus-infected computers oil company in the Middle East.
  3. Recovered data from repeatedly run over the wheels of the car camera.
  4. Intentionally deleted data recovered by the dismissed employee in an act of revenge on former employers .
  5. iPad with important data retention crushed by the wheels on the bus - the data was recovered .
  6. Recovery of relevant information from the iPad, which accidentally fell into the sea of oil platform in Nigeria.
  7. Despite the serious damage done to erase the traces of the robbery, was recovered data from deliberately bathed in hydrochloric acid hard drive.
  8. In case of accidental deletion of data and snapshots of VMware virtual system, the data could be recovered remotely via a satellite connection with a mining company in the Gobi Desert .
  9. Complex 3D logo recovered from the computer on which graphics accidentally spilled a drink.
  10. Washed in the full cycle external hard drive that landed unnoticed by family members in the washing machine.

In 2011 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Data on computer servers recovered 100%, despite the devastation caused by lightning, caused by the fire, the water , which it was quenched and corrosion.
  2. Several thousands of photos archived on an external drive , which as a result of the collapse was severely damaged .
  3. Footage and photos from intentionally wrecked during the riots in London by criminals camera - recovered 100% .
  4. With special technologies recovered 100% of the files with poorly secured tape backups, which as a result of strong earthquakes and floods has been almost completely destroyed on contact with water , mud and sand.
  5. Flooded by the carelessness of a new employee 44 desktops and 2 servers - lit his cigarette triggered the sprinklers.
  6. Computer flooded with beer during a business meeting at the pub.
  7. Full documentation monthly accounting department, lost as a result of the power of the UPS espresso machine instead of the server during a power outage.
  8. Damage to the disk in the computer due to the interaction with rare Earth magnets from the collections of the collection owner.
  9. Data recovery partition overwritten during consolidation due to the same convention on them the names of current virtual drives.
  10. Recovered to a known actress all the important files that accidentally removed from the USB memory using data cleansing.

In 2010 these were constituted by (source: http://www.computerworld.pl/ ):

  1. A laptop inserted into (insufficiently waterproof) plastic bag and then immersed into the sea.
  2. A computer, which for 2 days was at the bottom of a river and an ant has got into the hard drive.
  3. Partially burnt laptop containing a few thousand of important pictures, which fell to the ground during emergency fireman activity. 100% of pictures have been recovered.
  4. Mac, which served the function of the cat dish.
  5. Business woman laptop which fell from the roof of the car and was overridden by the car.
  6. An exploded laptop by antiterrorist by mistake left at the airport.
  7. Shredded butcher’s shop hard drive by its owner. All of the data were recovered.
  8. Restored in 90% from amongst the sole pictures of a certain person, remaining at the disposal of the given family, after they have been erased by the thief.
  9. Retaining of data from old archive tapes and their further retaining from the data recovery laboratory when it turned out that one of the employees have mistakenly erased the data and the back up was also empty.
  10. The laptop which burned when connected to a too strong source of electricity.

In 2009 these were constituted by (source: http://pclab.pl/ ):

  1. A laptop thrown out of the 12th floor, which contained incriminatory proofs. Upon restoration the proofs have been passed over onto the hands of the court.
  2. A hard drive which fell out of a ship and floated down onto the dept of 60 metres onto the bottom of the ocean, has been found after 6 months. Despite the fact that the carrier was already inhabited by the number of crabs and algae as many as 99% data stored upon the disk have been recovered.
  3. A memory card containing the recording of the horse race from the point of view of the jockey was shattered into pieces during his fall. The recording of the race has been restored – upon the third attempt but finally the recording has been restored.
  4. Hard drive of the home PC, upon which a dog has vomited and the contents have destroyed the disk thus making it impossible to obtain access to valuable home archives.
  5. A paparazzi camera, which contained valuable pictures and which was broken during his fall from a scooter, were recovered so quickly that the pictures were published in the latest edition of a magazine.
  6. One of the servers from a company server room fell to the ground and was crushed into pieces during a fight which broke out. All of the data were restored.
  7. A laptop owned by a businessman which was left upon a roof of a car, which fell to the ground upon a sudden breaking. The computer was almost completely destroyed, but the hard drive was put together by specialists and all of the business data were recovered.
  8. A laptop, which fell from the second floor. Data were recovered in the second from the chosen specialist laboratories.
  9. External hard drive, damages by a playing cat, which contained all of the digital memories and family documents. All of the lost files were recovered.
  10. What has also been restored were all accidentally erased by a renowned traveller, pictures stored upon a SD card.

In 2008 these were constituted by (source: http://media.krollontrack.pl/ ):

  1. A laptop which was hidden in an oven in order to be protected against burglars during one’s leave – it was cooked along with the chicken.
  2. A Chip containing data, fitted into the neck of a wild panther, was damaged in the bush.
  3. Pendrive containing 1 GB of data which was ‘swallowed’ by a washing vacuum cleaner. All of the data have been recovered from the soaked device.
  4. SD memory card from a camera, which was bitten by a two year old.
  5. Pendrive containing all of the family pictures from the period of about 5 years, which was bitten into pieces by a dog. All of the photographs were successfully restored.
  6. A Laptop which was thrown by a thief into the river.
  7. A broken MacBook Pro, which contained the only copy of year’s long effects of a film crew and a director. The film was restored.
  8. Another laptop which was fished out of the river – this time lawyer owned. Lost materials were recovered.
  9. Engagement and wedding pictures of a certain couple, upon a data carrier destroyed by hurricane Katrina, recovered after 2,5 year long remaining in the basement – the first attempt at the restoration of data has not been successful.
  10. Pictures from a trip around the world, lost when the ship sunk, 100% of data from the trip “of a lifetime” were successfully restored.

In 2007 these were constituted by (source: http://media.krollontrack.pl/ ):

  1. Data from an external hard drive within which ants have nested – restored upon the sprinkling of the insides of the device with the application of an anti-insect agent.
  2. A memory card of a camera which, has fallen into pieces when after the executed tests of new parachutes, the camera was attached to the load of the parachute thrown out of the plane, The parachute failed but the experts have been able to assemble the memory card together and restore the recording.
  3. A hard drive owned by a certain scientist, which stopped squeaking (and working) after drilling a hole inside it and pouring oil.
  4. A totally burnt camera within a fire, from which pictures have been restored.
  5. A matrix containing more than 100 hard drives, partially flooded during an accident which occurred in the process of reloading of a transport ship.
  6. A scientist has spilled acid onto the external hard drive, The acid burn a significant portion of the carrier. Yet the data were successfully recovered.
  7. Coca-cola immersed laptop.
  8. Fisherman’s laptop pulled out of the bottom of the lake after a boat capsized.
  9. A portable memory which fell into the plate containing a liquid apple puree, fed by a certain father to his daughter.
  10. A portable USB memory stick washed within a washing machine throughout the whole cycle including rinsing.

In 2006 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Despite the bad disk protection during transport (wrap in dirty socks) for which he has further damaged, the data could be recovered .
  2. Liroy lost the recording of the new album two weeks before the official release, the data could be recovered in two days.
  3. Recovered data from hard flooded with liquid WD-40.
  4. Waterproof camera was not as tight as it was advertised, but it recovered all the underwater pictures from the expedition diving in Barbados.
  5. For the first attempt was recovered data after formatting a hard disk tenfold.
  6. Recovered data from your laptop run over by a bus carrying passengers at the airport and several external hard drives were in smashed by retreating truck backpack.
  7. The external drive has been flooded by decomposing banana, but the data was saved.
  8. Recovered data from 30 wet and scorched computers that have suffered as a result of a fire in one of the British universities
  9. Eleven of thousands of photos and songs, half of the books, articles and all other data were recovered from a damaged as a result of the collapse of the laptop -known comedian.
  10. Laptop has been flooded niedokręconym shampoo on an airplane flight, but the data recovered
  11. In one day, recovered the key data from damaged laptop during a fall from a helicopter and sent them FTPem to use the next day at the conference on the other side of the globe.

In 2005 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Saved data from the laptop, which threw the girl after a hearty meal.
  2. The housing unused for 10 years laptop found dozens of dead and decaying cockroaches , also recovered from him all the very important business data.
  3. Recovered data from a memory stick inadvertently scoured centrifugation and drying.
  4. Despite the damage to the laptop containing statistics and observations on the club professional American football league, the data could be recovered .
  5. Recovered all the data from the memory stick bitten by the dog, who took her as his new toy .
  6. Recovered almost all of the data from the damaged drive RAID, not counting the disk drilled through and thrown into the hopper by employees.
  7. Error system would prevent the appearance of a well-known artist within the book, but the data could be recovered.
  8. Data lost after dropping to an open laptop kilkukilogramowego decorative earthen vessel.
  9. Recovery of data from the stripe in the house on the components of the hard drive.
  10. The man removed under the orders of a gallery of all the pictures of their children, when after some time she learned about his wife, it threatened to divorce him if they are not recovered. So it was recovered.

In 2004 these were (source: http://www.krollontrack.pl/top10/)

  1. Rescued most of the photos of photobanku , which was wrecked by a porter at a standstill, and which belonged to the climber Krzysztof Wielicki.
  2. In 2002 rescued nearly 100% of the data from the disk flooded during the floods in Prague, Czech Republic, and had brought to the laboratory in an aquarium.
  3. 16% of the data recovered from the crashed computer, zrzuconego by the offender from the roof of a three-storey building. It was enough to use them as evidence in the case.
  4. Recovered lost due to computer crashes regulations with unique recipes for the bakery.
  5. Data from swallowed by the offender and damaged by the gastric fluids SIM card.
  6. Overwritten by TV series computer data stored on tape VIDEO.
  7. Recover data lost due to accidental self increase voltage in power sockets by the employee.
  8. Matching 17,000 names to the appropriate X-rays in one of the large hospitals, the database failure.
  9. Recreate the original recording machine control program for the production of cheese homogenized.
  10. Recreate deleted archive IM conversations.

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