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Author Topic: Flight simulator site avsim.com loses 13 years of community data to hacker  (Read 5861 times)
mouser
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« on: May 15, 2009, 07:43:19 AM »

News like this makes my stomach turn over..

Avsim.com was a large community-driven flight simulator site -- and a hacker apparently destroyed 13 years worth of data on the main server, and wiped out a secondary server where they kept all the backups*.

*[It still seems hard for me to believe they don't have some backups offline].

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nosh
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 10:03:35 AM »

That's really sad - and what a cruel wake up call!  undecided


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gexecuter
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Move over and give us some room...

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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2009, 10:48:08 AM »

Hopefully now people realize that only having online backups is a security risk.
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Gothi[c]
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2009, 12:46:26 PM »

It's not a security risk, it's a data loss risk.
Relying on one single backup strategy is what gets most people screwed.
Single point of failure.

That said, I can't blame them. The site was 100% run by hobbyists for fun. None of them were professional server administrators...

Avsim had thousands of custom user-made aircraft, repaints, and other addons for the ms flight simulator series. Only ONE such addon takes the typical user MONTHS of work. This is 13 years of user contributed HARD work down the drain. The loss of work here is very tragic to say the least...

Personally I would have never felt comfortable just relying on server to server backups, when 13 years of user contributed work is at stake. However, not being professional admins, they probably thought their server-to-server backup system was pretty clever.
Server-to-server backup is a good layer to have in a backup system. But it shouldn't be the only one. Not if you have that much at stake...

That said, unfortunately, even with multiple redundant strategies in place, something can and will always go wrong, that you haven't thought of before.

In their defense, backing up such a huge set of data is not that easy. You can't just go download 13 years of flightsim mod development. One simple plane model with textures, effects, etc... can go upto 40MB or more... I can't even begin to imagine the amount of data they had on there... I don't know if it was dedicated or colocated servers, but it seems to me that the only way to do this in full (non/incremental) without killing your bandwidth or waiting for the transfer to finish into eternity is by sneakernet, and if it was a dedicated server, they wouldn't have had access to the datacenter to make a copy of the hard drive(s). The difficulties in making a full backup of such vast amounts of data is probably what made them put it off...

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f0dder
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[Well, THAT escalated quickly!]

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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2009, 01:32:25 PM »

That's just atrocious Sad
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2009, 01:39:06 PM »

this is truly awful.. 13 years is an eternity in the internet. Sick
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40hz
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2009, 01:40:30 PM »

Backup strategies aside, I think it's still important to remember that this loss was not caused by technical problems or lack of offline backups. It was caused by a malicious individual (or individuals) who consciously decided to destroy something of value for no justifiable reason.

This was not a hack or an exploit. This was an act of criminal vandalism.

It's especially sad because this site was probably a "soft target" from a hacker's perspective, and therefor won't garner much by way of "bragging rights" in those circles where crashing a server is viewed as a form of entertainment.

Very sad story.

I would be nice if all the real hackers out there got together and hunted down the parties responsible.



« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 01:44:33 PM by 40hz » Logged

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rgdot
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2009, 02:37:02 PM »

A few weeks ago webhostingtalk was affected where, as far as I know, all backups were deleted as well. There aren't that many bigger collection of web pros than webhostingtalk. So if they can be victims then who knows who is safe. Offline backups must be part of the strategy for any data that is remotely important.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 02:39:39 PM by rgdot » Logged
nosh
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2009, 02:41:09 PM »

Not to make light of stuff but by some bizarre coincidence...
*fade in twilight zone music*
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phitsc
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2009, 02:55:36 AM »

Makes me wonder how you guys back up your private projects (or data in general). I've got some of my projects on a public source hosting server. So if that server was hacked (or burned down or whatever) all I would have left is my local copy of the source files on my laptop. I've got some other projects on my NAS only, which I backup onto a second NAS sitting right next to the first. The local copy is on a notebook right next to the two NASes. So if all of the three got stolen, I would have nothing. Although the backup strategy could be better I feel reasonably secure.

I wonder how other people ensure the safety of their private data.
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nosh
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2009, 04:55:43 AM »

Backup strategies have been covered in-depth in other threads.

I have multiple backups - across HDDs on the same PC + a networked PC. A weekly backup goes to an external drive. Very important stuff also gets backed up to an online backup site or just encrypted and gmailed to myself.
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phitsc
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2009, 05:12:10 AM »

Backup strategies have been covered in-depth in other threads.
Hmm, yep sorry, you're certainly right about that. Well, thanks for sharing yours anyway smiley
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Shades
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 08:30:52 PM »

@phitsc:
Actually, you shouldn't keep the two NAS systems literally next to each other...different parts of the house would be a lot better. What if the room that contains both NAS systems suddenly thinks it has to become an aquarium? No backup and mouser coming to visit and checking all those nice little 'fishies'.... Wink 
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2009, 06:02:10 AM »

Looks like they may have caught the guys...http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8244028.stm

Ehtyar.
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40hz
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2009, 02:34:13 PM »

Looks like they may have caught the guys...http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8244028.stm

Ehtyar.



 Thmbsup Thmbsup
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Ehtyar
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« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2009, 03:12:52 PM »

Eeep! *runs from crazed old people*

Ehtyar.
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