A man accidentally deleted all traces of his company by typing in a single line of code.
Marco Marsala runs a small hosting provider that supplies servers for the websites of about 1,535 customers.
He recently wrote on the forum Server Fault he unintentionally input destructive code on all of his servers.
According to the Independent, Marsala wrote the code “rm-rf,” which deletes everything the coder instructs it to. The “rm” stands for “remove,” while the second “r” deletes whatever is in the coder's directory, and all the usual warning messages that would pop up before the files get deleted are bypassed thanks to the “f.”
This code is typically meant to only delete specific parts of the targeted computer, but Marsala mistakenly left that piece of code out.
Without a specific target, the code deleted everything on his servers, including all of his company's data and his clients' websites.
Marsala had offsite backups in case of a mishap, but these backups were connected to the computer he was using, so the code also deleted the offsite backup server, Business Insider reports.
He reportedly sought Server Fault for help, however users bluntly informed him there was most likely no way to undo his mistake.
User Michael Hampton reportedly wrote,
You're going out of business. You don't need technical advice, you need to call your lawyer.
Other users scolded Marsala for neglecting to implement security precautions that would have made it impossible to delete so much with just one line of code.
If such precautions were in place, “rm-rf” apparently would not have taken effect without a specific directory.
User Massimo reportedly wrote,
This is not bad luck: [It's] astonishingly bad design reinforced by complete carelessness.
Marsala's customers may only be able to salvage their websites if they have backups of their own.