We often hear about troubles and headaches associated with a hacked e-mail account. Typically these inconveniences are relegated to harvested information (passwords, usernames, et al) or a hijacked account used to send out spam. A recent hack of Gmail (Google’s e-mail provider), however, has eviscerated accounts entirely.
On Sunday night, approximately 40,000 people’s e-mail accounts were deleted. What would seem like the work of a masterful hacker was merely a catastrophic hiccup in Google’s system. For some unspecified reason, Google’s cloud server had an error which caused about .03% of its 150 million user accounts to simply disappear.
“Our engineers are working as quickly as possible and we hope to have everything back to normal soon. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers,” said a Google representative.
Even though this error affected only a small percentage of Google’s users, it was still a huge problem for all the people that have come to rely on Google for work or keeping their sensitive information safe. To make matters worse, even though Google is working on restoring the missing accounts, some users have reported that their accounts were returned empty; with no e-mails, or even preset settings remaining intact.
“Dude!!!!!!!!!!!” one panicked Gmail user wrote on Google’s support forum. “Don’t scare me I have 4 years worth of eMail on that!!!!!!!!”
“My contacts are intact, but nothing else,” another aggrieved Gmail user wrote. “The folders have reset to default, my signature line is blank, the ‘theme’ is changed back to the default and — of course — every single email from the last 7 years has vanished completely.”
This unfortunate events is yet another reminder that we should be backing up all of our important data and documents. Even if it’s stored on the web in the database of one of the most prominent and respected companies, the data that is important to the user should still be backed up onto a secondary source or physical memory drive.