Cancer researcher has laptop stolen with no data backed up
A cancer researcher at Oklahoma University has had her laptop stolen, with several years’ worth of research lost.
According to Softpedia, Sook Shin left the laptop in her car and returned to find a smashed window and the 13-inch white Macbook and bag missing. Shin said that the research was for a prostate cancer cure and as it was never backed up, it cannot be replicated
She also confirmed that the nature of the data means that most of it can never be replaced, some parts can be reconstructed by redoing tests but this could take up to two years.
Speaking to Oklahoma’s News 9, Shin said: “I cannot eat and sleep since last Sunday. I’m devastated and I feel so guilty.”
Ralf Jankecht, a professor of cell biology at the university, said: “Please return the computer with the data saved. This would tremendously help us and you would do something for society.” It is understood that a $1000 reward and immunity from prosecution has been offered for the laptop’s safe return although the chances are it’s been wiped and sold on already.
If there is a stronger case for backing up data I have not yet come across it.
But who is to blame?
I would have to question the policies and procedures of Oklahoma University, firstly for not enforcing regular backups of critical data, and secondly for allowing such irreplaceable data to leave the University in the first place. This is a sad and very painful lesson that everyone should heed, and if you don’t backup your data you may have to face the consequences.
If you do backup your data, when was the last time you tried to restore it?