Sanjeev Sabhlok's notes on technology, hardware, gardening

Web backup

 [Complete Word file]

An AMAZING amount of time is used to build websites/ improve them/ add data/ etc. But there is little or no time spent on backing them up. That is find in most cases, but there are instances when webhosting companies collapse. In that case a systematic alternative backup process is of great importance. The only sensible way to backup the website is to use FTP. The automatic backup system of the web hosting company DOES NOT DO A FULL BACKUP
There is an automatic control panel backup that can be used in an emergency. This assumes that (a) this is a full backup (often it is not) and (b) the web hosting company does not collapse. In the case of downtownhost, I've got access to a CDP server (R1 Soft Restore backups) [see the tutorial here] I've used this twice and it has been a saviour. 
But web hosting companies collapse (has happened twice already!), and other errors can occur. So it is crucial to have alternative backups
This is recommended once every often (although it can take a huge amount of time). This will also help when the web hosting company collapses, which is not an infrequent phenomenon (Note that CDP server (R1 Soft Restore backups) [see the tutorial here] IS NOT A FULL BACKUP – as I've found from sad experience).
This can be done for separate main directories, periodically.
Continue Reading

Data, video, and general web backup

 [Complete Word file]

Technology provides benefits but imposes significant costs (in money and time).
PHOTOS: When film rolls were expensive, each camera would take about 20 rolls of film on average. So if a cheap camera cost USD$100 (in those days) and each roll including processing cost $15, then 20 rolls (say 500 shots in all) cost $400 in all, or $1 per shot. In today's terms, each shot is worth at least $5 in current value. Once digital computers came, then photos multiplied. By now I have 14,000 pictures in my personal records. Even if the marginal cost of these pictures is very low, the fact is that at least 10 cameras have been used by now, and plenty of other raw material (rolls, batteries, albums, etc. etc.). Total value is at least $10,000 if not more. 
If I add the cost of videos (on Sony Handycam, and the new one) then the cost of the capital and raw material is at least another $2500 in today's value. Altogether around $12,500 in COST in today's value. 
But what if the house were burnt and these things lost? What would be the value you'd be willing to pay to recover these? At least a quarter of my remaining savings. So the true value of these things is enormous.
And what about one's writings? While books are replaceable, one's unpublished writings are not. The total value of these things is huge. Fortunately much of this material is now available in digital form. 
So far I've been buying spare hard disks (costing each time well over $200 in current value), and these last for about 2-3 years. The problem is that this material is perishable as well. What if a fire takes place? Then everything will be lost. 
What if I could dispense with hard disks almost entirely, and resort entirely to the cloud? What would I be willing to pay for the power to store my valuable data on the cloud? My guess is that I'd be willing to pay QUITE A BIT, at least $100 per year in current dollar value.
Carbonite: ALL PERSONAL BACKUPS [unlimited, trying first year for around $55 or so]. This includes ALL pictures, videos, and data including full FTP backups.
DriveHQ: ALL CRITICAL FILES [ up to 1 GB is free ]  it is genuine FTP and very convenient – better than Cloudberry.
Carbonite is slow, so back up on HDD. S3 might be useful once its prices fall down further. 
Continue Reading

Dealing with a phishing attack

[Complete Word file]

That is when someone is using your website to attack other websites/ extract passwords, etc.
Use HORDE: The path from where these mails are bouncing is usually indicated in these emails.
Once identified first download, zip and backup these suspicious files – and save in E:\WEB-BKUP\WEB-ATTACKS which will be automatically backed up on Carbonite – in case there is need for an audit trail (I don't have backups of whatever was planted on our server prior to 10 April 2011). Apparently some of these files can provide info on the attacker's identity.
Then delete them from the website. Note that this does not mean they won't come in again! They are driven by a process that may source them from somewhere on the internet.
Make sure you delete and empty the Horde folder so that you can monitor if any other emails are bouncing. This is a very useful to detect whether the attack has been stemmed.
From the shell, check all zip files (the phishing attack usually puts in a zip file that expands into the fake website).
Continue Reading