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Source: MSFT/Danger's Servers Were Sabotaged

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

There's been quite a lot of toing and froing when it comes to Microsoft/Danger's huge, server-related boo-boo. While customers are sobbing, mourning the loss of all their data, folks are asking the same question over and over, "How did this even happen?"

Previous reports suggested that the good folks at Microsoft-owned Danger failed to back up user data before a SAN (Storage Area Network) upgrade. The company had Hitachi in to do the job for them and for some reason, no one at Danger backed anything up before Hitachi did the deed. Hiptop3 cites several sources that say something went wrong during the upgrade, everything was lost and there was no working backup to save the day. Today there's another, more sinister story doing the rounds: Someone at Danger did this on purpose. AppleInsider cites an anonymous source who says 'all signs point to sabotage.'

"Someone with access to the servers at the datacenter must have inserted a time bomb to wipe out not just all of the data, but also all of the backup tapes," said the source, adding, "Finally, I suspect, reformatting the server hard drives so that the service itself could not be restarted with a simple reboot (and to erase any traces of the time bomb itself)."

Now sabotage is a big jump to make. Sure, no IT professionals in their right mind would start any kind of server maintenance work without backing everything up first but accidents happen, right? Well AppleInsider's source seems to think that it's definitely plausible, explaining that this outage just didn't fit in with what ordinarily happens.

"If this was an ordinary sort of failure, the service would have come back within a day, so once again, all signs point to sabotage."

Man, I don't mean to rub it in, but Sidekick users must be getting more mad with each passing day.

Read the full scoop on AI.

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  • 17 Hide
    davidhbrown , October 14, 2009 3:59 PM
    A program that wiped all their off-site tapes (presuming they had any)? That's some program.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    jcknouse , October 14, 2009 3:43 PM
    Um...if for some reason the scheduled system backup failed and no one checked it to make sure, they could have assumed there was a good backup and just told Hitachi they had one. Then when they went to restore...OOPS!

    So much for QA, huh? lol
  • 7 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , October 14, 2009 3:49 PM
    Sounds like someone is in a mad rush to find a scapegoat matter how convoluted it sounds. I'm surprised they have not blamed this on terrorism.

    Just accept the blame and bend over.
  • 17 Hide
    davidhbrown , October 14, 2009 3:59 PM
    A program that wiped all their off-site tapes (presuming they had any)? That's some program.
  • 2 Hide
    darkknight22 , October 14, 2009 4:00 PM
    I read the full article on Apple Insider, interesting read. The real problem is that Danger was running Linux/Oracle due to contractual obligations with T-Mobile. Apparently Microsoft's Forensic Team has 0 experience in that department and can't track down what really happened.

    Overall the management setup between Danger/Microsoft/T-Mobile was just a mess waiting to happen.
  • 0 Hide
    legierk , October 14, 2009 4:01 PM
    Seemed to work to my my wife out of the TMobile contract she was in WITHOUT PENALTIES and got her on my plan (different carrier) due to this snafu.
  • 6 Hide
    jrsdav , October 14, 2009 4:01 PM
    AppleInsider cites a anonymous source that is saying "Sabotage!"?

    Attacks made towards one of the iPhone's biggest competitors, the Sidekick?

    Sounds like this is one for the Jobs Mob conspiracy buffs.
  • 2 Hide
    magicandy , October 14, 2009 4:13 PM
    I smell a created scapegoat to take the fall for Danger's/MS's upgrade screw-up.
  • 2 Hide
    terr281 , October 14, 2009 4:15 PM
    (I am not saying the story is true, but...)

    I work in IT dealing with the daily backups (and restores) of data for a mid-sized company. The story could be true if the following were true in their enterprise:

    1. Their backup software resides on the same SAN as the actual data. (Very plausible.) This would erase the "catalog of backups" and the actual backup program at the same time as the data. (Formating an entire corporate SAN is NEVER done.) If backups of the backup software's catalog were not done correctly, or if paper/other records of these backups were not kept, then trial-and-error of "which tape to use" would be the only solution to get the data back.

    2. Same situation as above, with the data and backup catalog being deleted/corrupted at the same time, but this time the "former employee" at Danger was the Backup Administrator. Due to his/her position, he could easily have destroyed/corrupted all records of the backups. (This could have been done manually... OR... as the suggestion states, with a time bomb program.) Again, paper (or other electronic records, such as emails to multiple parties), are the only solution to correct this one.

    In short, if Danger's corporate policy did not require more than one person to be involved in the backup process (even X years ago prior to the merger), and "other forms" of records were not the norm now, then this is plausible.
  • 4 Hide
    tayb , October 14, 2009 4:48 PM
    The fact that this story is coming from Apple Insider makes it more believable. Apple Insider isn't exactly known for unbiased articles why in the world would they write an article shifting the blame AWAY from Microsoft?
  • 2 Hide
    Honis , October 14, 2009 4:49 PM
    People actually read Apple Insider? It is the Fox News of technology!

    Sidekick users should jump ship while T-Mobile is letting them break contract with no penalties and get a phone with local storage of user data.
  • 6 Hide
    squirtle , October 14, 2009 4:51 PM
    incompetence of great enough scale is the same thing as sabotage
  • 3 Hide
    wildwell , October 14, 2009 5:04 PM
    Uh oh, sabotage, must be the North Koreans again!
  • 2 Hide
    sslazio77 , October 14, 2009 5:12 PM
    Undercover Apple "Genius" is definitely behind this...
  • 1 Hide
    tester24 , October 14, 2009 6:00 PM
    I would believe this over them neglecting on doing a backup. I work for a hospital and before any type of system migration or upgrade backups are done and checked a few times before we go ahead with maintenance.
  • 3 Hide
    nirvanabah , October 14, 2009 6:06 PM
    Ohhhh I can't stand it, I know you planned it!

    ...Beastie Boys know whats up
  • 1 Hide
    pug_s , October 14, 2009 6:34 PM
    It could've been some rogue backup admin messed up with the backups. Microsoft should've tested the backups for validation.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2009 6:54 PM
    maby their server is running Os X and they upgraded to Snow Leopard?
  • 0 Hide
    Uncle Meat , October 14, 2009 7:01 PM
    Listen all of y'all it's a sabotage.
  • -2 Hide
    asjflask , October 14, 2009 7:21 PM
    "Man, I don't mean to rub it in, but Sidekick users must be getting more mad with each passing day."

    More mad... Lol..
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2009 7:29 PM
    I call BS. It would be virtually impossible to destroy backup tapes with a worm unless they resided in a tape library and in that case incompetence is more to blame than sabotage. If they resided elsewhere, then they COULD be restored from, it might just take awhile. And if there were indeed no backups, then incompetence is almost completely at fault.

    In any case, at least partial blame falls to the admins and their management.
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