Data lost in fire can be retrieved, claims cyber expert

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In a ray of hope for the Maharashtra secretariat where a large number of computers were damaged in fire, the data from the damaged hard disks can be retrieved through Magnetic Ferrous Microscope (MFM), a cyber forensic expert has claimed.

Even if the hard disk is submerged in water, the data can still be recovered.

The hard disk should be carefully picked up from the spot, properly packaged into anti-static bags and then forensically examined, the chief executive officer of Intelligent Quotient Security System, Dr Harold D'Costa told the media.

If the Maharashtra secretariat had established a disaster recovery plan, all the data lost could have been stored on secondary and parallel devices.

This would have saved critical data, even if the hard disk were totally burnt, D'Costa, who is a trainer and senior consultant for Maharashtra and Goa government in cyber crime, said.

The secretariat should have initiated steps to avoid such type of disaster by establishing a cold site wherein the data stored in the main server could be stored at another end in real time, may be 100 kms away or in other city.

If the cold site is placed at far off place, the data is still intact at the other location, the expert, who has worked on over 2,000 cases of cyber crime, said.

The government should set up an Incident Response Team to develop risk assessment plan and contingency steps for fast recovery of the data, besides setting up a fire proof system and a strong lock room where critical servers are placed.

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