Tao Of Backup Wailing Wall Story

Ensure that you have a backup copy of your web.

This incident didn't affect me; I just saw it in the newspaper and thought I'd add it to the wailing wall. The story provides motivation for everyone with a web to ensure that they have a backup copy. My estimate of 573 days of work lost for this incident is a minimum estimate of damage based on the calculation that at the very least, each of the 4586 web customers will have to reload their web by FTP. If this is an hour's work, and we assume 8 hours in a working day, that's 573 days, or about one and a half years of work! The damage may be many times this though, as many customers will not have had backups themselves, and will have to recreate their webs.

An article from "The Australian" newspaper (an Australian national newspaper), 1 December 1998, page 47 by Garth Montgomery.


More than 4500 Web sites vanished into cyberspace in what has been described as the Asia-Pacific region's worst hacker attack.

Switchboards at New Zealand ISP The Internet Group (TIG) were jammed as users demanded to know why their sites had suddenly been reduced to digital debris.


The hacker broke into TIG's home-page server, hosted in the United States, through a CGI script.

He attacked the master boot drive with the operating system on it, as well as the 17Gb RAID system that contains all the Web pages.


"When basic services were restored, we found we'd lost a large proportion of customers' directories - 4586 were unrecoverable."

"We've rebuilt most of the basic directory structure, but the contents and directory tree behind this has been lost permanently."

TIG had not backed up this data, citing the time involved and the load this would have put on the system.


     Ross Williams
    Adelaide, Australia, Wed 02-Dec-1998 6:03am

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