Sneak attack from feline friend wipes US government server with cat-astrophic impact — human technician cat-egorically denies involvement
Working from home comes with risks, but consider a technician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, whose cat reportedly deleted an entire server cluster — leading to a four-hour outage last month.
The outage apparently occurred while the technician was assessing how a server cluster was configured the register.
What they assumed was that their feline friend became an enemy, jumping on the keyboard — unprompted — and accidentally wiping out the server, the agency’s CIO Kurt DelBene told participants on a video conference call.
Shroedinger’s cat astrophe
“This is why I have a dog,” DelBene, who is also assistant secretary for information and technology, is quoted as saying.
There is no official confirmation yet that a cat did indeed cause the disruption, but the government has confirmed that a disruption has occurred.
“On September 13, 2023, the Kansas City VAMC (Veterans Affairs Medical Center) experienced an image transfer issue within Vista due to the inadvertent deletion of server profiles,” the agency said, according to the release.
“The problem was quickly identified and the system recovered within four hours. There are no further issues or immediate impacts to veterans from this incident.”
When the Register pushed back and asked the Department of Veteran Affairs press secretary to confirm whether or not the cat was involved, they declined to comment.
While this is certainly a bizarre glitch, hopefully the technician in question will get some reprieve knowing he’s not alone.
After all, this isn’t the first cat-related IT incident, just the latest in a series of bizarre outages recorded over the years. For example, Level 3 Communications once attributed 17% of its fiber cuts to squirrels.