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Ultimate Backups | TechSNAP 26

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We’ll tell you about AT&T leaving Android open to a hack so easy, my two year old son could pull it off. Plus FireFox goes to battle with McAfee and is Bank of America Under attack?

Then – We delve into backups, from the fundamentals to the very best tools!

All that and more, in this week’s TechSNAP!


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Show Notes:

Security hole in AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II

  • Bug allows someone to bypass the security lockout screen, accessing the phone without the password
  • The flaw does not exist on the Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy S , or the Epic Touch 4G
  • By pressing the lock button to wake the phone, and you will be prompted with the unlock screen. Allow the phone to go back to sleep, and immediately tap the lock button again, and you will have access to the phone
  • This feature is likely designed for the situation where you are waiting for some interaction on the phone and it falls asleep, if you press a button to wake it within a few seconds, it doesn’t prompt you to reunlock the phone. This is a useful feature, however, it should be predicated on the fact that you just recently unlocked the phone (don’t make me unlock the phone twice within 90 seconds, or something similar)
  • The flaw only effects phones that have been unlocked once since boot
  • Since the flaw only effects the AT&T version of the phone, it would seem it is based on software added to the phone by AT&T, which appears to cache your response to the unlock screen, and use it to bypass the screen when you re-wake the phone immediately after it goes to sleep.
  • Another example of the vendors messing with the core google product.
  • Users with Microsoft Exchange security policies don’t seem to be affected
  • Users can adjust the settings on their phone by accessing: Settings ->Location and Security->Screen unlock settings->Timeout and setting the value to Immediately, disabling the ‘feature’ that presents the vulnerablity.

Firefox advises users to disable McAfee Plugin

  • Firefox says the McAfee ScanScript plugin causes Stability and Security problems
  • The problem only seems to effect the new Firefox 7, it is likely caused by a compatibility problem with versions of ScanScript designed for older versions of Firefox
  • Firefox has started generating popup warnings to users using versions of McAfee older than 14.4.0 due to an incredibly high volume of crash reports
  • McAfee says it is working with Firefox to solve the issue for the next version of the software
  • McAfee is very popular in corporate environments and is often enforced with a Active Directory Group Policy that makes it nearly impossible for the end user to disable the virus scanner

Bank of America – Unexplained Outages – Is it an attack?

  • The Bank of America website has been degraded, slow, returning errors or down for more than 6 days
  • Bank of America (BofA) said its Web and mobile services have not been hit by hacking or denial-of-service attacks, however they would not disclose what has been causing the online problems.
  • Quote: “I just want to be really clear. Every indication [is that] recent performance issues have not been the result of hacking, malware or denial of service,” said BofA spokeswoman Tara Burke. “We’ve had some intermittent or sporadic slowness. We don’t break out the root cause.”
  • The problems began Friday morning, a day after BofA announced it would charge a $5 monthly fee for account holders using their debit cards
  • Additional Coverage

Feedback:

Continuing our Home Server Segment – This week we are covering backups.
Before we cover some of the solutions, we should look at some of the concepts and obstacles to creating proper backups. There are a number of different ways to back things up, but the most popular involves using multiple ‘levels’ of backup.

  • Full backup

  • This is a backup of every file (or a specific subset, or without specific exclusions) on a system.

  • This is the base of higher level backups, and is also known as a level 0 backup

  • Full backups are the biggest and take the slowest

  • Differential Backup

  • A differential backup is one that includes every file that has changed since the last full backup was started (this is important).

  • >It is very important the higher level backups always be based on the START time of the lower level backup, rather than the last modified, or finish time. During the last backup, if the file changed after it was backed up, but before that backup completed, we want to be sure to include it in the next backup

  • Differential backups require only the most recent full backup to restore

  • Incremental Backup

  • An incremental backup consists of every file that has changed since the start of the last backup of any level

  • Incremental backups are the smallest and fastest

  • Incremental backups can take the longest to restore, and can require access to each of the previous differential backups since last full backup, and that most recent full backup

  • Incremental backups offer the trade off, they take less time and less storage, however they slow the recovery process.

  • Incremental backups, due to their smaller size, make it easier to have ‘point of time’ backups of files, rather than just the most recent.

  • Some backup systems do away with the name designations, and allow even more granularity

  • A level 0 backup is a full backup

  • A level 1 is everything that has changed since the level 0

  • A level n is everything that has changed since the last level n–1 or higher

  • Systems such as the unix ‘dump’ utility, allow up level 9 backups

  • Some backup systems, such as Bacula, support ‘synthetic full backups’

  • A synthetic backup is when you use a full backup, plus more recent differential and incremental backups to create a new, more recent full backup.

  • This can be especially advantageous in remote and off site backup systems, where transferring the full data set over the network can be very slow and costly.

  • rsync

  • Not actually a backup tool, it just creates and synchronizes a copy of the files

  • Copies only the changes to the files, so is faster

  • snapshots

  • A point in time copy of the files in a filesystem (supported by LVM, UFS, ZFS, etc)

  • A good place to take a backup from, resolves issues with open files

  • bacula

  • Designed to backup a large number of machines

  • Quite a bit of setup (Directory, Storage Daemon, SQL Database, File Daemons (Clients))

  • Cross platform

  • Powerful deduplication system, and ‘base backups’

  • Support for Windows Volume Shadow Copy (snapshots of open files)

  • flexbackup

  • simple perl script that creates archives (tar, cpio, etc) with optional compression (gzip, bzip2, etc).

  • Uses the ‘find’ command to create multi-level backups based on modified date

  • backupmypc

  • rsync based

  • Supports FTP, SCP, RCP, & SMB for Windows

  • s very smart about how it handles portable devices that miss backups.

  • It’s magic is it’s de-dupe hard-link mojo that saves tons of space

  • Bit of a nerd project to get going, but is bullet proof once its in

  • TarSnap – BSD Encrypted Cloud Backup

  • Mondo Rescue – GPL disaster recovery solution

  • CrashPlan – Online Backup Software, Disaster Recovery

  • Allan’s AppFail.com article about backups

Round Up:

Jupiter Broadcasting stats


  1. Firefox 42.66%
  2. Chrome 29.73%
  3. Internet Explorer 14.43%