Posts Tagged ‘data security’

Data Outage Hits Dropbox Users

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Dropbox logoOn the evening of Friday 10th January 2014, Dropbox engineers accidentally deployed a software upgrade to their active data servers, bringing down Dropbox completely. While the service was partially restored within three hours, some users were still experiencing issues more than 24 hours after the initial outage. Dropbox has issued an apology and reassured users that their data is safe following the significant service outage over the weekend.

Following a high profile password hijacking incident in 2012, Dropbox was swift to try and quell anxieties that Friday’s outage had been from a data violation or distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Instead a software bug was to blame and a Dropbox spokesman explained that despite running two copy “slave” machines, the bug resulted in many master machines as well as their slaves going down concurrently, producing a loss of service.

In addition, the company has developed applications to speed up the recovery of substantial MySQL copies, a tool Dropbox said would be published into the open source community so others could profit.

Dropbox had learned from this weekend’s troubles and had taken steps to ensure the bug wouldn’t be replicated. These measures contain an added level of tests that require machines to locally check their state before running incoming commands, which gives machines the right to reject orders when they would create a “harmful” consequence.

As the marketplace for affordable cloud storage grows, the outage once again emphasised the value for cloud storage companies to keep data reachable constantly so that customer belief can be preserved. The outage also demonstrated the brittle nature of cloud storage.

Computer Repair

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Repair, recycling and securityHmm I wonder, is computer repair a thing of the past ?

These days it seems to me that we live in an ever increasing disposable world – items that break are no longer repaired, they are simply replaced. Our TV breaks, and we just get a new one. Your printer breaks – why would you even bother to get it repaired? – just buy a new one – have you seen how little they cost ? I can buy a new printer (ok I admit it might not be a very good one, but it’ll do the job) for less than £50. Do you see what I mean? – we live in a disposable society.

I suggest that the only part of a computer system you would think to have repaired instead of replaced would be the hard disk, and only if you’ve got data on there that you want to recover that you haven’t got saved anywhere else.

Strange to think isn’t it that the funny looking little rectangular box you have holds all your data… If you’re a home user it’ll have your films, music and holiday snaps on. Perhaps it has pictures of the kids too. I’ve noticed that it’s often women who are more protective over family pictures than men. Men will often say that the data isn’t worth £500, but ask a woman if she’s prepared to spend £500 to get the pictures of her children back and the answer will often be a yes!.

If you use your computer for business purposes there may well be some sort of procedure in place to back up your data automatically – often to a central server of some kind or some cloud based system. Personally I have a mistrust of all cloud based systems. There are 2 main issues

The first point is obvious. The second takes a bit more explaining – US law (and with the co-operation of most of the G7 countries too it seems) as now legally entitled to look through your data. To paraphrase Obama – “If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear” sort of misses the point doesn’t it ?

So in today’s world it’s all disposable except the data you value, and then, you need to be careful where you store it and who might be looking at it.