Print 22 comment(s) - last by tech329.. on Jun 23 at 5:05 AM

Web host says sites are unrecoverable

It's every web administrator's worst nightmare -- your online presence is totally destroyed in a service outage.  That's precisely what happened when Australian domain registrar and web host Distribute.IT was attacked.

Over 4,800 websites were reportedly lost when the hackers struck last Saturday, as four servers were reportedly left unrecoverable.  The company comments:

The overall magnitude of the tragedy and the loss of our information and yours is simply incalculable; and we are distressed by the actions of the parties responsible for this reprehensible act.

At this time, We regret to inform that the data, sites and emails that were hosted on Drought, Hurricane, Blizzard and Cyclone can be considered by all the experts to be unrecoverable," it said.

While every effort will be made to continue to gain access to the lost information from those hosting servers, it seems unlikely that any usable data will can be salvaged from these platforms.

In assessing the situation, our greatest fears have been confirmed that not only was the production data erased during the attack, but also key backups, snapshots and other information that would allow us to reconstruct these servers from the remaining data.

The company promises to help customers "transfer your hosting and email needs to other hosting providers."

For large site owners that likely won't be a problem as they likely have save backup copies of their homepage.  For smaller operators, though, this could be very bad news, as many of them don't have the resources to save backup copies. 

Writes one customer in a local forum, "[The hack] has probably killed my business."

The question remains why Distribute.IT was penetrated so easily and thoroughly.  It is also baffling why they chose not to back up their data off-site as most hosting firms do.

As the potential for abuse of the stolen private information of website owners is great, these factors may play a key role in possible future legal proceedings by site owners against the company.

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Sorry, but it's ridiculous nowadays.
By greylica on 6/22/2011 10:05:23 AM , Rating: 4
As I read the entire article, the statement ''key backups are lost'' seems to me as very incompetent. A good administrator will never leave i'ts backup online, a good administrator will leave a ''copy'' of the backup online, only to save time, and another 2 or 3 offline, either inside optical media ( Blue Ray ), or even in external hdds, Tapes or anything else, and when those disaster occurs, will work on the copy of the backup to restablish the systems. Also, some key systems using SAS, SATA or SCSI Raid controllers could be marked as write protected, also some systems as linux and unix, and also some HDDS.
Sorry, but as an good IT admin, I recovered my enterprise twice, one from a strike that took our equipment, and another from a power fluctuation that kills nobreak, power supply and 2 HDDs that where in raid. It took me only 4 hours to restablish those systems. No online backups, no chance for errors of this magnitude. Sorry, this is unnaceptable.

Guys, learn here:
There are plenty of offline backup medias out there, there is no excuse for leaving backups online.
Same for giant enterprises, no matter how you're big.

Ivan Paulos Tomé.
T.I. admin.

By Ben on 6/22/2011 12:23:50 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. This applies to the hosting company as well as all of it's customers.

It's unfortunate, but it takes a big data loss to make people proactive about data backup.

By BugblatterIII on 6/22/2011 2:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
The backups may not have been online. It could be that the web servers were part of the network, and once the hackers had compromised the web servers they gained access to the entire network.

Where I work we've made sure our web servers aren't on the network at all. It was one of the first decisions we made.

But even if the backups weren't online they should have been off-site.

For years companies have been getting away with cutting corners on security. Hackers are obviously accountable, but the companies that get hacked should be too.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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