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Horror stories from computer crashes

Halloween approaches. There is more to scary than monsters, ghouls, goblins, and stale candy. Computer crashes are the scariest, in part because they can occur any time of the year. How scary is the thought of losing important files? Consider the following horror stories from computer crashes.

Lost photos—and lost memories

Jill L. spent years building an album of family photos, sorted by individual family members, on her computer. She moved pictures from her phone and camera, labelled them, and wrote captions for each. When lightning struck nearby, her surge protector couldn’t handle it the power bump when it came back on. He computer was literally fried. A friend tried replacing the power supply, but it didn’t revive the computer. Jill lost years of hard work—and a lot of memories.

Executive forgets to implement automatic backups

Bill F. is one of the most organized executives you’ll ever meet. He’s the kind of guy that saves and sorts his emails, and puts each into its own folder so that he can find them easily. Bill lost years of emails when his hard drive failed. He thought he would be OK since he had a portable drive attached and an automatic backup program installed. Unfortunately for Bill, he had somehow turned off the automatic backups over two years ago, and never noticed.

Forgotten laptop means lost files

When a driver that was texting and driving banged into Elizabeth W.’s friend’s car, she thought it would make a good senior project to document the accident and produce a video talking about the dangers of texting and driving. She worked on the project for months, editing interviews and clips on her laptop. Her friend created a series of graphics helping tell the story. The project was coming together nicely, until she left her laptop at a restaurant and it was never recovered.

Virus destroys files and game highlights

Ron C. was a bit surprised when his oldest son told him this would be his last season playing soccer. Ron appointed himself the team photographer to document the season and took hundreds of photos, which he dumped onto his hard drive. He never thought to back them up and it cost him in the end. With just one game left, he got hit with a virus which wiped his hard drive. Thousands of precious memories for not just Ron, but the entire team family, were gone.

In each of these cases, secure, off-site backups could have allowed for recovery. Pictures, emails, data, videos, and projects would have been saved.

Reasons to back up data are many

There are lots of reasons to back up your data, including:

   •     Viruses and ransomware attacks
   •     Computer crashes
   •     Dying hard drives
   •     Lost and stolen devices
   •     Natural disasters
   •     Lightning and power surges
   •     Accidental deletion
   •     Corrupted files

Mozy by Dell is the world’s most trusted backup service with more than six million people using its cloud-based, secure backup service. For more information, visit Mozy.com.

The Top 6 Reasons Why You Need to Back Up Your Data

No matter how careful you are, there are so many ways you can lose your valuable data—whether it’s the assignment you’ve been working on for weeks or those precious family photos you’ve saved on your computer.

Here are the top six ways data loss happens:

1. Human error

Malware and ransomware get the headlines, but human mistakes take the top prize when it comes to data loss. You edit and delete things just about any time you’re on the computer. It just takes a second to delete something or overwrite it.

2. Hardware failure

Stuff breaks. Hard drives wear out. Computers crash. Without a backup system in place, it’s easy to lose important files. Recovering data from a failed hard drive is difficult and expensive. As many as 13% of hard drives may fail, according to a study done by Carnegie Mellon University. How old is your computer? The study shows the failure rate increases with each year of age and showed marked increases after years 3 and 5.

3. Corrupted software or files

A simple power outage can cause corrupted files. Hardware failure can also lead to corrupted files and make them unrecoverable.

4. Natural disasters

Fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and flooding can lead to catastrophic loss. Even the most robust computer equipment won’t stand up to disasters. Even if your company provides on-site backup, it won’t be safe in a natural disaster.

5. Virus, malware, hackers, ransomware

With more portable devices being used at home and at work, there are more opportunities for malware and viruses to find you. Open the wrong email and you may get infected. Reports of hackers taking control of your computer and holding it for ransom are increasing. The FBI estimates that ransomware payments are estimated to hit a billion dollars annually.

6. Theft

It’s way too easy to leave your laptop behind when you leave the local coffee shop or library, or have someone passing through your business grab it and go. In addition to your physical device, signing on to public Wi-Fi hotspots can open you up to mischief by troublemakers looking to dig through your computer without your knowledge.

Time is money

When it’s work related, losing important data amounts to lost productivity. Whether you need to re-create the work you’ve already done—if that’s even possible—or you need to start from scratch, it takes time. And as they say, time is money.

When it’s your personal data, you can’t afford to lose your precious memories. Just as important is your financial and personal data that can allow thieves to steal your identity.

The best way to protect yourself is through secure, off-site, automatic backups. Mozy by Dell can help. Mozy is the world’s most trusted cloud backup service for consumers and businesses.

What Happens to Businesses that Don’t Back Up Their Data

Statistics can be startling. But perhaps even more important, statistics can help us to reconsider how we do things and then motivate us to make changes. Consider the following:

More than 90% of companies that lose their data storage for more than 10 days during a disaster are forced to file for bankruptcy within one year, according to the National Archives, Records Administration. 

Want more to consider?

More than 90% of business computers aren’t being backed up, per the Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation, and you can see the potential for catastrophic problems.

Is your data protected? Are you backing it up on a scheduled basis? If your business loses its data for whatever reason, you are putting it in significant danger.

Losing data is nothing to trifle with

If you’ve never lost your data, you might be wondering about causes and costs. Consider these ominous statistics:
   •     95% of companies reported a data outage within the last year. (Poneman Institute)
   •     The global average cost of a data breach is $3.62 million dollars. (IBM Security)
   •     The average cost for each lost or stolen record is $158 dollars. (IBM Security)
   •     About half of the data breaches are caused by hackers and crooks. The other half are user mistakes, glitches, or          disasters. (Fortune.com)
   •     2 in 5 businesses will be the victim of a major disaster that causes critical data loss within 5 years. (Richmond House          Group)

Data loss—or data theft—can happen in so many ways these day. It could be an attack from hackers trying to hold your data for ransom or just trolling through your records to find banking information or identities to steal. If you think attacks only happen to the largest companies and government agencies, consider that about 4,000 cyberattacks occur daily and the clear majority of them (62%) are aimed a small and mid-sized business, according to IBM.

What could possibly happen to your data?

How would your business respond if the following occurred:

   •     Human error or accident: It could be a simple human error where someone accidentally deletes a single file or wipes out          a large batch of important records.
   •     Failure: Power failures, hardware failures, and corrupted files are common. Twenty-five percent of computers will fail at          some point this year, according to a study done by Gartner.
   •     Disaster: You already heard about Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Natural disasters can be catastrophic not just          for the physical damage it can do, but for the business records it can destroy.
   •     Theft: Theft, whether by crooks or employees, can also cause lost data.

Searching online can tell you all sorts of horror stories about data loss and its impact on your business. Even if you take the most conservative numbers you can find, though, it still adds up to bad news. More than half the companies that have a massive data loss because of some calamity eventually close—and that’s the most optimistic number you’ll find.

Protect your data, protect your business

The best way to protect your business-critical data—the files you depend on to remain competitive, profitable, and relevant—is to use a secure, off-site backup service. Consider Mozy by Dell; it’s the world’s most trusted cloud backup service for consumers and business.

Viruses, Ransomware Can Wipe Out Precious Memories

You store your precious photos on your computer, but what happens if a virus—or a hacker—wipes out your family photos or even holds them for ransom? It sounds like the start to a bad movie, but it happens more often than you think.

Sixteen million homes had a serious problem with a virus in the last couple of years. The conflicker virus infected nearly nine million computers. Even auto tech systems have been hacked.

Then, there’s ransomware. Hackers gain access to your computer and lock it up until you pay them a ransom. Just days before the U.S. Presidential inauguration, more than 130 of Washington D.C.’s police cameras got hit with ransomware—when security was at its highest. Hackers hit the Presbyterian Medical Center and demanded $17,000 to let the hospital gain access back to its own medical records. The library system in St. Louis had a ransomware attack on its 700 computers.

In May, some 200,000 computers spread more than 150 programs were hit with the WannaCry ransom outbreak, including the British healthcare system. The Petya virus took control of banks, power plant, and public transportation systems in the Ukraine.

One million new threats every day

How big is the threat? CNN reports that more than one million new malware threats are released every day. In the past two years, ransomware has increased by a factor of 15! Experts predict costs to deal with ransomware will exceed $5 billion this year.

Hackers hit both business and home computers. Anti-virus programs can help, but with so many new viruses being developed every day, they can’t protect against everything.

Paying the ransom may not work

Even if the ransom is paid, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your data back. “Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back,” said FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor. “We’ve seen cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom.”

In fact, the FBI recommends you don’t pay the ransom. Doing so encourages the crooks to keep going and the money paid is sometimes used for other illicit activities, including terrorism.

FBI recommends two steps to protect your data

The FBI suggests two steps to best secure your data and keep it safe from hackers and ransomware:
   •     Back up your data regularly
   •     Secure your backups by making sure it isn’t connected to a physical device the hackers can access.

It’s not as simple just syncing your computer to a hard drive or an online service. Syncing can move the virus or ransomware onto your backup.

The best way to protect your data is with isolated, offsite data storage for secure backup. Mozy by Dell is the world’s most trusted cloud backup service. More than 6 million people and 100,000 businesses use it worldwide.

See how Mozy by Dell can protect your important files from ransomware. Mozy provides services for home users, SMBs, and enterprises.