Data recovery firm gives man happy ending

Technology writer Mat Honan was "epically hacked," in a widely-circulated cautionary tale that should have you changing your passwords and turning on secondary authentication measures. The Novato, California-based firm DriveSavers helped Mat get his data back, and he traveled to the clean room to see how they did it. (


  1. As an archivist, I have to shout this next part:


    Just remember 3-2-1: 3 copies, stored on 2 different kinds of media, in more than 1 place.

      1. …at current disk prices, for me at least, it would probably cost more than $2k to maintain 3 copies of my data.

    1. And another reminder: 1GB is enough space for all the keyboard input you will generate in your entire life. 

      SD cards. Use multiples. 

      1. That’s a strange metric.   I don’t see how any meaningful amount of work could be reconstructed by replaying the keyboard input stream.

        1. That’s usually not how your written work is saved, that is true, but my point stands: all the prose you write, the code you write, the music you write, the CAD you generate, all that will fit in a single GB. 

          1. If you put put that way, yes.  However, it doesn’t work if you consider transformative works.

  2. So, does this mean we shouldn’t trust Apple’s remote wipe?

    (This isn’t meant to be an anti-apple comment, but you can only have things one way.  If the data is recoverable by you, then it is recoverable by someone else.  I also suspect that if filevault (Apple’s encryption) had been switched on then things wouldn’t have been recoverable.)

    1.  It seems like he also powered off the machine part-way through the wipe process, as it apparently happened while he was on the phone with Apple.

      1. If filevault is on, wiping the disc is just erasing the encryption key, which is really quick.  If filevault is off, wiping the disc is actually writing on every sector, which takes a long time.

  3. I’m surprised they needed a clean room? I mean, there was no hadware damage, basically just the file tables were wiped out. It’s a major pain in the ass recovering from that (sorry Imran! :(      ), but you don’t have to physically open the drives…

    1. That’s what I was thinking.  But then again, a story about the wonders of TestDisk probably would not sell as well.

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