Thousands of Gmail accounts accidentally wiped

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Thousands of Googlemail users have been left with empty inboxes after their accounts were accidentally wiped. As well as all e-mails going missing, many also had their contacts deleted. Google, which operates Gmail, said that only a small percentage of its users had been affected and some accounts have already been restored, thus suggesting the loss of data was not permanent.

Google’s statement : “This is affecting less than 0.08% of our Gmail user base, and we’ve already fixed the problem for some individuals.”

The company said that engineers were working to restore service. Google is beleived to have between 150 million and 200 million Gmail accounts. That would mean that the 0.08% equates to around 150,000 users which were affected by the problem.

In a further update Google has confirmed that a storage software update was responsible for causing the loss of access to data.

Initially Google claimed 0.08% of users complained of losing e-mails, contacts, and folders. They then changed that figure to 0.29 per cent , but has since revised that figure to less than 0.02 per cent, or about 40,000 of the service’s 200 million accounts.

Ben Treynor, Google VP of engineering and site reliability czar, said sorry for the mess and said he expects to have the lost data restored soon. He said that the data was not completely lost and Google had restored most of it already. Writing in Google’s Gmail blog, Treynor said that it was caused by a storage software update that introduced an unexpected bug. “When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version,” he said. Users might be wondering how safe all this cloud computing lark really is if, as Google promises, all the data was backed up in different locations with the keys owned by people who have never  met each other. Treynor said this is because in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. “Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue,” he said



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