JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Perhaps you’ve experienced that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally destroys hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disk drive containing an account worth $38 billion.
That’s what happened to a computer technician reformatting a disk drive at the Alaska Department of Revenue. While doing routine maintenance work, the technician accidentally deleted applicant information for an oil-funded account — one of Alaska residents’ biggest perks — and mistakenly reformatted the backup drive, as well.
There was still hope, until the department discovered its third line of defense had failed: backup tapes were unreadable.
“Nobody panicked, but we instantly went into planning for the worst-case scenario,” said Permanent Fund Dividend Division Director Amy Skow. The computer foul-up last July would end up costing the department more than $200,000.
Er, damn. I’m glad I wasn’t in that technician’s shoes… I’d be panicking and updating my resume if that ever happened to me. :-)