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Email Server Has No Backup After System-Wide Hack

Hackers destroyed all of VFEmail's data in a vicious attack.

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VFEmail, an email server that aims to “Make email safe for the masses,” was hacked on February 11th. This server was created for personal users, small businesses, and non profit organizations. This hack led the 18-year-old company to lose all of its data in primary and backup systems dating back to 2001.

Company History

The VFEMail dedicated servers work to ensure users have security for their personal and confidential information. They scan each email, including attachments, to check for viruses before the mail gets to your inbox. If a virus is detected, the piece of email won’t even go through the file servers. SpamAssasin software even discards any possible spam and will only allow it through if it has the potential to be legitimate.

Company owner, Rick Romero, created the company from the ground up, starting with a single FreeBSD server and growing it to include the user of virtual servers. This allows them to separate vital functions of the operating systems such as updates and problems. By isolating any issues, the users can still have uninterrupted access to their email.

How Did the Hackers Do It?

While most hacking has an end goal of extorting money or of gaining an upper hand by finding useful information, this particular data breach  was done with purely malicious intent. The hackers sole purpose was to delete and destroy all copies of data on the email’s server, including their backups. The were able to delete the data by reformatting the disks in the web servers.

Reformatting a disk is a high-level formatting that frees a functioning disk drive of all its contents. This process frees disk space for other data, but to actually erase everything, the attackers had to rewrite every block of data on the disk. A principal security architect at Acceptto Corp was reported as saying that if attackers could access and erase all data, that means the systems were not protected in an effective way. On VFEmail’s Twitter, they wrote saying, “I fear all U.S. based data may be lost.”

Importance of a Data Backup Solution

The worst part of the hack is that the masterminds behind the data destruction deleted the full backups. This situation begs the question: why did a server of this size not have a form of cold storage that was offline? There are several types of backup options but the most common ones are:

  • Full Backup–This is when every single file and folder is backed up. This backup requires the most time and space.
  • Incremental Backup–In this storage, only the initial backup is a full one. Any backups after that only store changes that were made since the previous backup.
  • Differential Backup–This process is much like the incremental as far as how many full backups there are. The difference is it allows for a faster recovery time.
  • Mirror Backup–This storage make an exact copy of the existing data, but as something is deleted on the main server, it is also deleted from the backup.

Our Services for Email and File Recovery

Secure Data Recovery Services has experienced engineers who can locate and fix email corruption as well as repair damaged databases. We offer file recovery services for Mac OS X, all Windows versions, Linux, UNIX, Solaris, FreeBSD and various other operating systems. We can provide a variety of service options to help you restore missing files and email archives as quickly as possible. With a 96% success rate for file data recovery services, Secure Data Recovery can help the average email user, or an established database. Call us at 1-800-388-1266 to recover your emails today.

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