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Fireproof Your Data

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by CoyoteAssassin, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    I need a way to fireproof a database. Since I am constantly using it and the size is huge, uploading changes to the cloud is impossible (as it is a single database file).

    I want my solution to also be cumbersome to anyone that would try to steal my computer.

    Here is my thought.

    Run a USB extension cord from the computer into a fireproof box.
    Mount the box to the wall.
    If someone tries to steal the computer, they will pull out the cords and leave the drive.
    If there is a fire, the box should be able to resist a lot of internal heat.

    I'm not looking for a $100+ NAS.

    Will electronics survive if i cast a mold of concrete around the drive? How long can a drive survive in fire?

    Think about it - what would you do?

    Thanks

    -CA
     
  2. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I just use a safe deposit box and two USB drives. I back up locally to the USB drive and every couple of weeks I swap the two drives. Current drive goes to the safe deposit box, old drive starts doing my local backups.

    Your only cost is a safe deposit box, mine is like $70/year. You'll need two hard drives if you don't have that.

    You're fireproof, theft proof, hurricane proof, tornado proof and even idiot proof if you do something accidentally.

    For me, I add one more layer. I have two backups at home, one for hourly backups and one every day or two.
     
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  3. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    What about getting a place that is theft and fire proof? So everything is protected rather than just your harddrives.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  4. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    A safe deposit box is not a bad idea. The only problem is that I literally haven't been to the bank in over 18-months so I can't imagine that it would be easy for me to start making frequent trips. Besides that, the closest bank is 30-minutes away.

    Since I already have the materials for a concrete box, I'm going to give that a try. Once finished, I'm going to put it in a fire pit for a few hours with a drive and and see how things go.

    But even with this method, that only gives me one backup copy. I need two (for a total of three). So the next one will need to be offsite. Maybe another concrete block stacked under some rocks in my garden.

    As for the storage, I would like to find a SATA thumb drive (that does not require power) but I'm not sure they exist. The computer I am using has an eSATA port and the transfer will be much faster than USB2. I do not have any slots on this PC for a USB3 PCI card. But that part can come later.

    This sounds like a lot of work but the one-hour it will take me to build it is nothing compared to the 2+ years its taken me to get my database put together. Besides that, it will be a good hobby and challenge.

    Anyone else willing to give it a try?

    +16 rep provided if you post pictures.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  5. tacopalypse

    tacopalypse Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    wellp, the goal of a fireproof box would be to slow down heat transfer by as much as possible so that the interior of the box stays cool while the rest of your house is on fire.

    the problem is the heat insulation goes both ways.

    so when your house isn't on fire, the box will just prevent any heat from escaping the interior while your hard drive is running, and you'll end up with a cooked hard drive.

    if you added vents to let the heat out, then the box would no longer be fireproof. :p

    a better solution would probably be routinely create backups of your main drive, and then disconnect the backup drive and store it inside the fireproof box.

    and to prevent data theft, you can just encrypt your drives.

    Edit:

    it can be done, but you'd need a sophisticated venting system that transfers heat out while the drive is operating, but is also capable of detecting a fire and closing the vents to completely seal off the interior.

    like this for example:
    Code:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fireproof-Waterproof-External-Recovery-SL1000GBUSB20/dp/B001TNR8EI
    
    probably better to just buy a professionally made one, rather than trying to d-i-y it. ;)
     
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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2013
  6. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I have a USB extension cable that goes all the way to my local bank, where I have it plugged in to a harddrive inside a safety deposit box that can only be opened with a key that I swallowed.

    Jk. What sort of file/database is it? Have you looked at backup assist - its a backup program you can run and it will contact to amazon AWS as well as other cloud services and it operates using Rsync which is a bit level backup program, so regardless of what you are backing up, it can back up cahnges at the bit level, even in single file storage programs.

    I would be happy to help you set up (no cost) if you are interested just PM me.
     
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  7. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    I am not using a hard drive - I'm using a USB drive. While I guess it is possible that it could over heat, the only read/write that will take place will be during the file backup process. Encrypting the USB drive is not a bad idea. I'm more concerned with physical theft. But in the right hands, both can be a bad deal.

    You most likely picked up on it earlier, but I live in the mountains so my upload speed is super slow and internet outages are common. So an online solution is not ideal at this point. The database is a Filemaker database. I will look into Rsync and see if it may work. Thanks for the offer to help.

    I plan to have two concrete block halfs which are joined together with a hinge that is set in place when casting. There will be an inset to allow space for the average size USB drive and a return cable. A plate on the front will also be placed when casting with 2-3 screws on the top and the bottom. Removing these screws allow the block to be opened to access the drive. Or I may cast a chain link on the top and bottom and secure it with a lock for quicker access. But I do not want a handle (aka something to make it easier for someone to carry away). I'll run the USB cable somewhere away from the computer (or to my bank - haha).

    I know most of this is overkill but I might as well have fun with it.

    Thanks guys.
     
  8. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Mate, please don't do this, its the most insane thing I have ever heard. Most likely outcome will be the day you come to restore data, you'll find out the drive is broken.

    How big is the database?
     
  9. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    Wow - if this is "the most insane thing you have ever heard." I need to move where you are. I here crazy stuff all the time. But if I do take the 1st place, I should be rewarded with a +Rep from you.

    haha

    The DB is 10GB.

    How will the drive break? I'm using a USB drive that I will rotate out.
     
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  10. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    In computing terms its the most insane thing, and in real world terms it comes near to the top:)

    How much data to you input on an average day? I would suggest backup assist, and if you have money, a small linux based rsync server, will only cost $30-$40 per month I would have thought.

    Then take a one time manual copy of the data - this could be encrypted, saved on USB drive and posted to the backup location.

    Once thats done, backup assist/rsync should take care of the rest.

    The only variable is the amount that the data changes per day I guess, and the actual speed of your Internet.

    Your idea, is innovative, but there are so many things that can go wrong - I work with other peoples important data regularly, and there are a few things I have learnt:

    1.USB drives, harddrives and NAS drives ALWAYS fail when you are relying on them.

    2.The most unlikely things ALWAYS happen.

    There are so many things that could go wrong with your idea; if you really dont have any other option fine, but if there is another option that is viable, you should explore it:)
     
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  11. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    How likely are harddrives to fail?

    Should I go out and get 1 set of hard drives that i never use as back up or 2 sets of backups, for every main harddrive?
     
  12. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    Thanks David for your input - I appreciate it a lot.

    The $30-$40 fee is not a problem. It's relying on an internet connection (which just went down a few minutes ago). I have a home server that also has a copy but since it is a PC, someone would most likely take it if they are stealing electronics.

    My hesitation with rsync is that I've always been told to only do full clones of the Filemaker backup and not incremental as it could cause the data to become corrupt over a long time.

    Most of the changes that take place day-to-day are data entry changes. I may spend the full day revising all first-names or fixing addresses, or any other field of data. It's never fun the first time so having to do it again is a real pain.

    I'll talk to the Filemaker guys and see what they say about rsync.
     
  13. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    I get your point but I could not imagine only having one copy of your data. That is asking for trouble. If you've never had hard drive issues, count yourself fortunate.

    I'm moving into SSD drives which also have known issues.

    Currently, I have my computers which backup to my home server.
    My documents files then backup to the cloud.

    The database I am referring to already backs up to the server but not the cloud due to size, low bandwidth and frequent changes. So right now, I only have one backup which is why I need to get another. offsite will be best which means literally taking it off site.
     
  14. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    I also heard that cd's burned at low speed are some of the most reliable in form of keeping backup, but you need a crazy amount to store large amounts of data. I would personally need to go out and buy 2,000 for backup needs in addition to several harddrives.
     
  15. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    If you're in the mountains, just dig a deep hole (~3 feet) with a post hole digger, put the drive in a couple of plastic bags and attach a string.

    Drop the bag down into the hole and leave the string hanging out. Cover the hole with a rock. When you swap it out, just pull up the string, open the bags and replace it.

    This is fireproof and the ground temperature is naturally regulated, the moisture is kept out by the 2-3 plastic zip-lock baggies.
     
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  16. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Also, CD's and DVD's are a horrible backup strategy. They degrade, they're fragile and quickly becoming antiquated.
     
  17. rotwic

    rotwic Registered Member

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    Apple's Time Capsule is a wireless external storage. You can keep that in a safe place and access your files wirelessly. In the case of theft also, you wouldn't have to worry about data theft. Plus, it offers i think upto 2 or 4 TB of space.
     
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  18. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    That's a good idea too. I set up something similar for my dad. Instead of using a Time capsule which are a lot more money, I set up two airports and plugged a USB drive into one of them and set that up as his Time Machine backup.

    The Time Machine router is semi-hidden.
     
  19. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    This seems ineresting if you have the money and the data is worth more than $30,000.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/07/a-million-year-hard-disk.html?ref=hp
     
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  20. CoyoteAssassin

    CoyoteAssassin Elite Member

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    A wireless USB drive connected to an access point stored in a closet (hidden from view) is another idea of an in-home backup.

    But I do like the idea of just digging a hole and keeping a copy in a few ziplock bags. Sounds simple and super cheap. Would require manually swapping but it sounds like the best off-site solution for the data.

    Great ideas.