We all like a good Christmas horror story, so here are some real life examples I have gleaned from the internet with names withheld to protect the innocent!
The world falls silent. All you can hear is the echo of your heart pounding, palpitating as beads of cold sweat trickle down the side of your face. You feel nothing, except for the lump in your throat and nausea quickly creeping in as you realize that something has gone wrong. Very wrong. We’ve all been there — that dreadful moment when a technology mishap became our worst nightmare.
From human error and system failures to bloodsucking hackers and thieves, here are some of the scariest experiences that have sent businesspeople running, crying, and even transmogrifying into expletive-throwing beasts as technology took a turn for the digitally macabre.
The demon in the databases
My company develops some of the top mobile apps for planning and starting a business. We have 250,000 downloads across iOS, Android and Kindle.
Recently, I had a huge disaster. I was cleaning up some old tables in a database and noticed a table with a weird table name. I thought that it was something experimental from a long time ago and deleted it.
Then, literally five minutes later, I started getting emails from my app users that their business plans were deleted. And there are something like 26,000 business plans on my apps.
I was like, “Oh my god, I just deleted the business plans.”
Mind you, these are business planning apps — this is why people use them. So the No. 1 function of the app got totally wiped out.
After a day with my hosting provider, for a fee, they restored my database from the day before. So I am 99 percent OK. But OMG, that was a scare!
The mystery in the server
One business owner we spoke to a few years ago swore that his company didn’t have any IT problems to speak of. Respecting their verdict, we simply asked if they had any IT questions as a courtesy for their time. The business owner himself stated that he had one question. His server was almost to capacity, though he was fairly certain he didn’t have that much data.
He allowed us to do a quick diagnostic. Sure enough, someone had hacked into his system and was using it to spam pornography. We helped move him to a more stable platform
The witchcraft in the operating system
It happened out of the clear blue sky. Once my husband made the mistake of clicking on a fake Microsoft “security alert,” Russian thieves took over our entire operating system. Despite all sorts of “foolproof” anti-whatevers, my computer was being held hostage.
Luckily, we have a friend who has his own computer security company and he drove down both times from near Dallas to Austin. And luckily, we had backed up most of our information. But until he could get things straightened out, we could not use our computer, not even to access our files or anything. The first time, he replaced our entire operating system and updated the security.
Then it happened again. The second time was such a mess that we had to locate the virus first before we could even dump the old program. That was nerve-racking even for our friend. Apparently, the thieves get more sophisticated in their attacks with “root viruses” and other such nightmares. Our friend tells us that these thieves that take over your system and then want you to pay for them to “fix” it are catching up with the drug dealers in making illegal money.
Now I just say screw it and have cheap junk backup computers ready to go. It is cheaper to just fire up a new system than to pay the crooks or to get a technician.
Hope you enjoyed those tales, and Merry Christmas everyone!