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Advanced backing up


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#1 theonlybuster

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 09:41 AM

The company I work for has started handling what my boss considered "confidential and sensitive" material.  Needless to say, it's not as sensitive as he makes it out to be.  Nonetheless, a security expert / friend of my boss told him he needs to perform daily back-ups of the files on the server (which I agree with and have been doing). 

My boss explains that he doesn't want to use the cloud because he doesn't believe his information will be secure from prying eyes and the security expert recommended that we save locally to portable hard drives BUT every month we destroy the hard drives and replace them with new drives.

His reasoning was to ensure the information was secure (locally), and to keep the back ups safe from dormant viruses. 

 

Literally throwing away hard drives every month seems a bit extreme.  My thought was to buy w or 3 sets of drives, performing multiple wipes and partitioning before putting the drives back into rotation. 

 

In short, I wanted to know if trashing drives every month or so was truly necessary as opposed to being a potential waste of money. 

 

 

Full summary of backing up is as such: Server is set up in a RAID array,  select space of the server storing a simple back up, one external hard drive performing a back up at noon (auto dis/connects), one external hard drive performing a back up at midnight (auto dis/connects), computer at another office performing a single daily back up (connection is ONLY established during back-ups). 



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#2 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 02:06 PM

Can you provide more information? Because I don't see how monthly destroying harddrives helps keeping the information (more) secure.

And what do you mean with dormant viruses?

 

Also, if the data is so important, then why is there no off-site backup? Or is the other office the off-site backup?


Didier Stevens
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#3 theonlybuster

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 02:31 PM

By dormant viruses, I BELIEVE he means threats that imbed themselves on a system but don't do anything for an extended period time or until a specific action is taken.  I assume he means something in the realm of the Y2K bug (which was basically a hoax or sorts). 

The other office is off-site, about 400miles away. 

 

This wasn't a conversation I had first hand with the security expect, so sadly there are a few things I'm a bit questioning of myself.  The two of them had a conversation and my boss came to me to get my 2 cents on what he was told. 

Personally I think it was the guy's way of exploiting my boss's paranoia of data loss and viruses and so on.  But I figured I'd give it some research before deciding that this is a route worth investing in or if it was something not necessarily for us.

 

Word has spread regarding ransom attacks on computers so now everything around here is paranoid and expecting the worse.



#4 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 02:54 PM

That could be one explanation for a dormant virus. But still I don't see how destroying harddisks will help with dormant viruses.

 

Anyways backups are very important, they are indeed a way to mitigate ransomware attacks. But it's even more important to have a restore procedure. Make sure you can restore your backups by testing the restore procedure from time to time. For example once a year.

 

Since your location is South Florida, I'm wondering if 400 miles is enough as an off-site backup location. I've never been to Florida, I live in Belgium, but don't you get extreme weather like hurricanes?

Is 400 miles enough for a disaster like a hurricane? I'm just asking, I don't know, never experienced hurricanes.

In Belgium, 400 miles is enough. Actually, with 400 miles in Belgium you're no longer in Belgium, but in another country :-)


Didier Stevens
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#5 theonlybuster

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 03:22 PM

I personally don't see how destroying hard drives will help either.  Wiping and reformatting should do the job enough to more than suffice. 
When South Florida get heavy hurricanes, generally the northern part of the states gets a much calmer side of the storm.  On top of that, we see the hurricane coming and have adequate time to store an external drive in a hurricane-safe enclosure.

I think I'm going to convince him to alternate the drives between months, totally wiping them before putting them back into the backing-up configuration.

 

The way I see if, if dormant viruses were that much of a problem why don't we hear about governments and intelligent communities destroying hard drives?  I've never even heard a rumor or normal weekly or even monthly server drive destroying or anything of the sort.



#6 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 03:27 PM

I've never even heard a rumor or normal weekly or even monthly server drive destroying or anything of the sort.

 

Neither do I.

 

Destroying hard drives is not that easy. And if something goes wrong (i.e. data not erased) and you throw the drive away, then you have a data leak ...


Didier Stevens
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http://DidierStevensLabs.com

SANS ISC Senior Handler
Microsoft MVP 2011-2016 Consumer Security, Windows Insider MVP 2016-2019
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If you send me messages, per Bleeping Computer's Forum policy, I will not engage in a conversation, but try to answer your question in the relevant forum post. If you don't want this, don't send me messages.

 

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#7 Didier Stevens

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 03:36 PM

For your entertainment: in 2009 I attended a hacker conference where they had a HD shredder:


Didier Stevens
http://blog.DidierStevens.com
http://DidierStevensLabs.com

SANS ISC Senior Handler
Microsoft MVP 2011-2016 Consumer Security, Windows Insider MVP 2016-2019
MVP_Horizontal_BlueOnly.png

 

If you send me messages, per Bleeping Computer's Forum policy, I will not engage in a conversation, but try to answer your question in the relevant forum post. If you don't want this, don't send me messages.

 

Stevens' law: "As an online security discussion grows longer, the probability of a reference to BadUSB approaches 1.0"


#8 dannyboy950

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 07:58 PM

A few minutes in a blast furnace would suffice..  How many thousands of dollars you think that beast probably cost?

 

Lets see 2 to 3 K for a furnace and probably 30 k for that thing. Which would be cheaper?


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#9 RolandJS

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Posted 14 October 2015 - 08:08 PM

If I remember correctly, TX DHS, when they receive a replacement HD, they keep the original and have it destroyed, regardless of its "nonWorkingness."


"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.

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