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IT Horror Stories and Data Center Nightmares


IT Horror Stories and Data Center Nightmares


Slashers, ghosts, zombies ... and unauthorized configuration changes!

As experienced IT professionals, you have more than your share of your very own IT horror stories.

With today's dynamics and complexity, nothing can screw up a well-managed IT environment faster than the people it was built for. Whether it's a missed patch, a developer change, or even user error, IT's job is rarely predictable. So in honor of the scary Halloween season, we'll take a look at the dark side of IT with a list of 91 (yes we've compiled that many) IT nightmares and horror stories.

1. Uninstalled Updates.

They're threats that users are unaware of or ignore entirely, like a ghost wandering around the enterprise.

By Dennis McCafferty, freelance writer for Baseline Magazine
IT Must Deal With Real-Life Horror Shows

2. Chilling stories from penetration testers, database pros, and security consultants in the field.

We pulled down the 'encrypted' CC table for this database and hacked together a Perl script to decrypt all the goodies, explaining how we were able to get bulk credit card decryption using a supposedly one-off button.

By Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading 
Nightmare On Database Street: 5 Database Security Horror Stories

3. PCs had not been patched for quite some time.

After a little sleuthing, I discovered that all 250+ XP PCs had not been patched beyond Service Pack 1.

By Global Knowledge 
IT Horror Stories

4. One wrong decision can ruin your whole implementation.

British ISP PlusNet lost 700GB of customer e-mails forever. An engineer accidentally deleted the e-mails and then tried an old admin trick to retrieve them. The trick backfired, and instead made the mail irretrievable. 

25 Terrifying Information Technology Horror Stories

5. Half a billion down the drain!

And though we make the point with memos and lectures, there always seems to be someone who gives their work PC to the kids at night. 

By InfoWorld
Little mistake at Knight Capital causes a $440 million trading loss

6. Sure why not? Allow access for all to the server room.

The Director of Administration wanted to allow access for all to the server room, so people could help themselves to toner cartridges when their printers ran out, without bothering to tell us so we could order more, with of course, the obvious horror of them having access to the servers and network. 

By Kevin Kline
IT Horror Stories - Managers Run Amuck!

7. Death by patch.

A critical lesson that others have learned so you don't have to is never, ever patch the primary and the backup clusters at the same time. 

By Trevor Pott, The Register
The IT troubles I have Seen

8. The Night of human error.

Despite the best efforts of IT organizations to take steps against failure, with numerous safeguards, a major source of today's failures can be attributed to both complexity and simply human error. 

By Sasha Gilenson, Evolven
IT survival tips for reducing uncertainty and preparing for the worst

9. Bad things can and do happen to data.

Around 5:00pm her husband called. He had arrived home first and found that their home had been broken into – and that the "under the couch" trick didn't work. The thieves had stolen all of their electronics, including her laptop. 

By SpiderHost
IT Horror Stories

10. The case of the disappearing data center.

One network manager gets the scare of his life when the truck containing an entire data center takes a wrong turn. 

By Anonymous | InfoWorld 
Misplaced mainframes, spooky systems, and other tech horror stories

11. The Former Employee From the Deep.

You find out that an employee who was fired 6 months ago is regularly logging into your network for reasons unknown. 

By Thrive Networks
13 IT Nightmares

12. Bad combination: Servers and Hot Water Heaters.

While on a sales meeting with a potential client, one of our engineers made an alarming discovery: The server room also housed the company's hot water heater. On the spot, our engineer insisted on making a tape backup. 

By Paul Mah, IT BusinessEdge
Real-Life IT Horror Stories to Learn From

13. People screw up Networks.

And though we make the point with memos and lectures, there always seems to be someone who gives their work PC to the kids at night. 

By InfoWorld
Nine Real-Life IT Horror Stories

14. Making headlines.

Thought that you were alone. Even the biggest in the business suffer downtime and outages. We've compiled a list showing how ongoing failures and performance problems cost companies both in lost revenues and damaged reputations. 

By Sasha Gilenson, Evolven
10 devastating outages and failures of major brands in 2011

Just for fun.

We couldn't resist sharing this scary version of Gangnam Style.


Your Turn
When it comes to your IT, what is your "horror movie" scenario?

About the Author
Martin Perlin