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When coding goes wrong: Man wipes entire company with one command

The proprietor of a web hosting company appears to have deleted his entire company and the sites of his clients by inserting a single line of bad code.

The Independent reports that Marco Marsala used the infamous “rm -rf” line and inadvertently wiped the servers, which also housed his 1535 customers’ data.

The command is used to delete items on a specific part of the computer. However, as one was not specified, Marsala just nuked everything.

Related: 5 tech blunders to rival the guy who deleted his entire company

Unfortunately, the hard-drives on which the data was backed up were mounted to the server. So they’re gone too.

After asking for help on the ServerFault forum, Mr Marsala was given bleak news from a number of posters.  

One user, known only as Sven, wrote: “I feel sorry to say that your company is now essentially dead.

“You might have an extremely slim chance to recover from this if you turn off everything right now and hand your disks over to a reputable data recovery company.

This will be extremely expensive and still extremely unlikely to really rescue you, and it will take a lot of time.”

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Another, named André Borie had little in the way of comfort, adding: “If you really don’t have any backups I am sorry to say but you just nuked your entire company.”

Others were less sympathetic. Massimo wrote: “Well, you should have been thinking about how to protect your customers’ data before nuking them. I won’t even begin enumerating how many errors are simultaneously required in order to be able to completely erase all your servers and all your backups in a single strike. This is not bad luck: it’s astonishingly bad design reinforced by complete carelessness.”

Michael Hampton added: “You’re going out of business. You don’t need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer.”

None of Mr Marsala’s customers appear to have commented publicly yet.

His misfortune or incompetence, however you want to frame it, is a cautionary tale to all. Next time you’re messing around with a Raspberry Pi make sure your backups aren’t connected to the server!

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