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Data Safety In a Time of Natural Disasters

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-prepare-for-unsurvivable dept.

Data Storage 86

CowboyRobot writes "The National Weather Service has begun testing the way it labels natural disasters. It's hoping that the new warnings, which include words like 'catastrophic,' 'complete devastation likely,' and 'unsurvivable,' will make people more likely to take action to save their lives. But what about their digital lives? Recommendations include: Keep all electronics out of basements and off the floor; Unplug your hardware; Buy a surge protector; Enclose anything valuable in plastic. If the National Weather Service issued a 'complete devastation' warning today, would your data be ready?"

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86 comments

Clouds (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605091)

Cloud storage. Imagine how much data you can store in a hurricane!

Re:Clouds (5, Funny)

schizz69 (1239560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605133)

Throw a few billion micro SD cards at it. I'm sure they will have great uptime.

Re:Clouds (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605585)

There's an Idea, back up to a thumb drive, then when the warning of catastrophic unsurvivable bullshit raining down on mankind come, you can; shove the thumbdrive in past your sphincter,put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye!

Re:Clouds (2, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605451)

Actually, this is one of the few advantages of having things in the cloud. I'd assume that the storage is all distributed and mirrored.

Re:Clouds (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605477)

The advantage of the cloud is that it lets you make assumptions that won't be tested until you are unable to restore your backups? Actually, that sounds about right...

Re:Clouds (3, Informative)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605541)

I wouldn't assume that unless you've specifically paid for it. Amazon will charge extra if you want to ensure that your data is replicated onto different continents.

Re:Clouds (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605645)

Well, undersea fiber optic cables which is mostly how you get from continent to continent are ridiculously expensive and if you're a mega-corporation then I can see the value of having an off-continent backup in case India and Pakistan or Israel and Iran or the US and China goes to war. But if you're living in the US and the country is fucked from San Francisco to New York - which is still the same continent - then you probably have bigger issues to deal with.

Re:Clouds (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607031)

I recall that Amazon AWS had an issue a few months ago that took down one of their US data centers. Quite a few customers lost data/machines as they hadn't specified and paid for duplication to other locations. With cloud services, it's relatively easy for a broken fibres or power supply cables to take down services for a whole region. They try to have everything redundant, but 100% up-time is incredibly difficult to achieve.

Re:Clouds (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39617037)

Is replication across continents sufficient? Or do I just have a larger list of potential catastrophes than you do?

Re:Clouds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605749)

Actually, this is one of the few advantages of having things in the cloud. I'd assume that the storage is all distributed and mirrored.

Dude. Don't be "that guy".

p.s. captcha: nonsense

Re:Clouds (3, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606103)

Damn right. I have all my critical data backed up to MegaUpload!

(Only half meant to be funny)

Re:Clouds (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606127)

Cloud storage. Imagine how much data you can store in a hurricane!

So much that you have to serve them off the Tornado web server?

Re:Clouds (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608679)

Cloud storage. Imagine how much data you can store in a hurricane!

So much that you have to serve them off the Tornado web server?

Yes, but the platters are spinning so fast your access time is dramatically reduced.

Re:Clouds (3, Interesting)

kaladorn (514293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606823)

The cloud is a good way to store things (encrypted by yourself before storage) but is only one part of a broader data security and integrity effort.

Where I am, in an apartment, I'm immune to a flood (but not a burst waterpipe). I'm defended against surges of moderate scope by UPSes and surge suppressors. I have a reasonable degree of data replication to protect my data from hardware failures and I have limited off-site replication of data to protect me from catastrophic events like fire, serious water pipe issues, earthquake, etc.

But these sorts of strategies have a cost-benefit issue; You pay for offiste storage generally and if you want to store tens or hundreds of gigs of data, that gets pricey.

Offsite storage also puts your data into the hands of others. Even encrypted, you have to assess there is a degree of security risk in having your data store externally.

Security and data protection has to be scaled to the need and you have to think about both the threats and the costs involved in any plan you choose.

Still, it is nice there are more options now than there used to be and Amazon and other cloud storage options are handy.

I have a buddy who has to travel to the US but with the later-day border issues, doesn't like to take a laptop. So he stores an encrypted version of his code repo in the cloud and just rents a laptop while in the US, unpacks his repo, does his thing, cleans and wipes the laptop, and returns it when he's headed home. That sort of capability avoids DHS taking a copy of his work. His concern isn't them reading it, so much as them having piss-poor data security of their own and not being able to know where it might end up.

Re:Clouds (2)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608735)

Yes, I take a similar approach when I travel now, given the insanity at the airports, especially since TSA employees seem to take a liking to my Thinkpad (it gets pulled aside so they can paw through my laptop bag every damn time.) Probably it's because I have a few tools in it, I don't know. Anyway, all they'll ever see is fresh re-image of the OS with a few applications, and none of my work files. When I get where I'm going, I download whatever I need, and when I'm finished I upload any new files and then wipe the machine again. They're more than welcome to power up my computer or image the drive. They're not going to find anything I don't want them to find. That's mostly stuff that I do for work, source code and so forth, that I would be irresponsible to not take some steps to protect. Like you say, it's none of the government's business, and they have always maintained demonstrably poor security.

Re:Clouds (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608669)

Cloud storage. Imagine how much data you can store in a hurricane!

Yes, and given the energy release of a hurricane there will be no problem with power for your high-velocity cloud storage system.

Personally, I think the government should broadcast a simple numeric code to make these warnings easy to understand. For example, the code for "complete devastation event" might be 2012.

Why, yes it would (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605093)

Either we'd grab the laptops, or the NAS (which the laptops back up onto) on the way out. And if we weren't home, then we'd still have a not-horribly-old backup over at the parental units' place.

SHBYLKYAG warning (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605103)

"Stick Your Head Between Your Legs and Kiss Your Ass Goodbye" Warning. I guess "Unsurvivable" covers this in a less colorful way. Look, hard copy everything and if not there's still DVDs and CDs to be burned. Personal data can easily be burned on a CD. Keep a copy in a bank vault and at home. You can even keep a thumb drive on you, I did this for years. These days there are cloud services but I like hard data. It's less secure but you can even e-mail yourself data. I have actually done this before as a back up since it can be accessed from your local Starbucks. Consider FTPs since they are fairly cheap and semi secure. The whole point is to get your data away from home to keep it safe.

Mutual backup. (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605105)

Encrypt your stuff, send to a friend elsewhere in the world. He can likewise encrypt his stuff and send to you. Doesn't even need any fancy cryptographic stuff - even the non-techies can set a password on a winrar archive, and winrar's crypto is sufficiently hard to break that the only way I've ever found is to brute-force the password - which still is very slow, due to the use of a multi-round hardened hash.

Re:Mutual backup. (2)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605159)

How about something more realistic like encfs and ssfhs, along with any cloud provider like Dropbox?
http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=encfs+ssfhs+dropbox [lmgtfy.com]
Or skip Dropbox because it costs a lot and host your own disks using SparkleShare, which is based on GIT, and all your GIT/rabbitshare experience with repos is applicable to their management, should you care to.
http://sparkleshare.org/ [sparkleshare.org]

Re:Mutual backup. (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605237)

$10-20/month to Dropbox vs how many hours setting up SparkleShare, worrying about hosting it yourself, etc?

Hell, if you're super cheap, buy space from Google and shove it all into Google Docs (yeah, theres an API). $5 for 20GB of storage or $20 for 80GB of storage (per YEAR).

Re:Mutual backup. (3, Informative)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605297)

I understand you might be TooMuchToDo for a reason, so let me show you how few lines are required to set up SparkleShare.

ON THE SERVER:
git init --bare EXAMPLE.git

DO THISLOCALLY FROM Sparkleshare, attach to account:
field 1:
ssh://you@example.com:12345

field 2: /home/you/EXAMPLE.git

NOTES: 12345 = your random SSH port
It helps to know a little about GIT and bash (terminal) commands.
Tested using Ubuntu, I used terms like 'field 2' because I am too lazy to actually consult the SparkleShare GUI which looks a lot like dropbox and is just as easy to use in real-life. Some folks also have more data than they can afford using Dropbox, and multi-terrabyte disks are relatively cheap.
Happy Saturday morning.

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606681)

I don't use power supplies from companies named 'sparkle' and I don't run software called 'sparkle'.

I'm sorry, I stop at GIMP.

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608129)

Bro, I get it. I've worked on data taking for the LHC. I understand its easy to run the commands. You assume the following:

1) You have a server somewhere, either at a datacenter, or at your home and your ISP allows you to make it publically available on the internet

2) That you own the server, a server you have to pay for, and have RAIDed volumes

3) That you want to maintain that server

My hourly rate is $125-$200/hr. If I spend more than 10-15 minutes a month working on this, I've already lost money, hence, Dropbox.

Sure, if you already have the gear, can get free colo, and have a bunch of free time to admin the box, go for it. That just isn't practical for most people.

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605301)

Effective, but note the 'even non-techies.' Us geeks can handle encfs and sshfs, but the rest of the population would struggle to work out why they can't attach a folder to an email. I work in tech support, I've had to explain that on a few occasions.

My own backup system involves tar piped to pigz, accessed via inetd from another server which connects with netcat piped to gpg. The network traffic is cleartext, as it's only going from one end of the house to the other, but it'd be easy to modify for encrypted-in-transit. I just run the pigz and gpg on seperate computers are they are both processor-intensive. Same reason I use netcat-to-xinetd rather than ssh: I need all cycles I can get for the compression and encryption.

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606125)

...along with any cloud provider like Dropbox?

Lots of people were using MegaUpload for that... Now what?

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606689)

Lots of people were using MegaUpload for that... Now what?

Now you have the full force and faith of the US Government storing the data for you - full of win!

This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605161)

Read above comment and follow its advice, it's all you need.

Re:Mutual backup. (3, Informative)

loyukfai (837795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605341)

Crashplan does this (backup to your friends/family members) automatically for free . Paid version include better encryption and/or backup to their "cloud".

FWIW, the software is closed source though.

Cheers.

Re:Mutual backup. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605879)

You just described Crashplan.

Re:Mutual backup. (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607347)

Check out Crashplan. It can do exactly that for free and no hassle.

Faraday Cage? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605163)

..and if it's electronic then it can't hurt to put it in a Faraday cage...

FBI NVidia Backdoor? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605197)

http://cryptome.org/ [cryptome.org] has posted this:

FBI Backdoor: Templar NVIDIA GPU Factoring Suite March 29, 2012
http://cryptome.org/2012/03/Templar.zip [cryptome.org]

Other sites and twitter tweets have picked up the story and linked to the zip archive.

But, what is inside?

No one seems to know or wants to blog/tweet/talk about it on discussion forums, searching the web only reveals links to cryptome's url for the zip archive.

I'm not downloading the zip, but I'd like to know what is inside. Is this a separate program offered by NVidia, a hardware or firmware exploit?

What?

Please begin posting to blogs and discussion forums indexed by Google and other search engines, what this mystery zip archive contains!

Is anybody reading this?

"Unsurvivable" weather warning? (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605223)

If I am not going to survive, I won't be around to care if my data does or not.

Re:"Unsurvivable" weather warning? (2)

rjames13 (1178191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605383)

You are not going to survive only if you stay. If you are smart and evacuate you might not have time to get your data out as well.

Re:"Unsurvivable" weather warning? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605837)

Yeah, I was just thinking "Hurricane Katrina - we sure lost some good cell phones during that" (to paraphrase Jon Stewart talking about 9/11).

One of the first rules of what to do in a serious disaster is to not even think about saving your stuff, think about saving you and any other people you're up to helping out. If it will help you survive (e.g. water and food), then by all means take it, but otherwise ditch it.

Re:"Unsurvivable" weather warning? (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606153)

Having been through a few of these, it is much better to think about your stuff. Think a lot about your stuff. Just do it well before the day of the hurricane.

Re:"Unsurvivable" weather warning? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606057)

Depends where you live and work. There are tornados where I live... My work and home are off axis enough and about 20 miles apart, its quite possible for one to be wiped off the face of the earth down to bare dirt while the other just has a rainy day.

This doesn't help with some people living in hurricane land, or forest fire land... I've never lived in earthquake land but isn't 20 miles far enough to get you out of utter destruction region and into survivable region?

I work about 3 miles from a port (sea-port kind of port not TCP). Container ship from Iran carrying a container marked couscous turns out to be 10 kilotons. Well that would be a bad day to be at work, although survivable. But at home, about 23 miles away, that is just a "eh".

HDD Cage (3, Interesting)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605233)

If I had to physically escape with my data, it would take less than a minute. Pull off the side-panel to my case. Unplug my HDDs and pull the cage they're attached to. Toss that into a bag, or if time wasn't critical, look into safer solutions like anti-static bags or at least a freezer ziplock or something.

Anything else in the system is easily replaceable in a disaster.

Re:HDD Cage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605243)

well, i would do the same or take both systems with me and screw with the monitors and what not if its that desperate..

Re:HDD Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605921)

I 100% guarantee you that if/when that time comes; you will not even think of your data. You MIGHT even forget your child for a split second.

Your focus will be escape while preventing the escape of urine down your leg.

Re:HDD Cage (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606159)

That really depends on how well you plan. Or if you plan...

Re:HDD Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607747)

That really depends on how well you plan. Or if you plan...

No! And that was precisely my point. When you are awakened in the middle of the night by a tornado outside your window, or the crackle of your house ablaze, or the violent shaking of an earthquake, you will shift into full on panic/survival mode. Nothing else will enter your mind besides self preservation. You move your ass or you die! You don't think about your data. You don't think about your planning/practicing/training, you gush adrenalin and act accordingly.

By the way, ask any survivor, they'll tell you that this is the appropriate response.

Re: preventing the escape of urine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39611807)

Your focus will be escape while preventing the escape of urine down your leg.

In one case, even that could be pointless.... [imdb.com]

AC, were you thinking of that when you wrote the above quote?

Re:HDD Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606473)

If I had to physically escape with my data, it would take less than a minute. Pull off the side-panel to my case. Unplug my HDDs and pull the cage they're attached to. Toss that into a bag, or if time wasn't critical, look into safer solutions like anti-static bags or at least a freezer ziplock or something.

In cases of emergencies you're usually thinking about more important things, like your family.

A better idea would be to get an external drive (USB, FireWire, eSATA) and every Sunday evening do an rsync of your /home (or whatever); call this the "remoteA" unit. Then on Monday take it into work and bring back the "remoteB" unit and put it on the shelf. Then the following Sunday evening sync to "remoteB" and bring it into work; bring back "remoteA" (or "remoteC", or "D", or however many units you want to purchase). Make sure only one device is at your house and all the others are at work.

If you do this you can pull the drive cage as you described of you want, but you'll also know you have semi-recent offsite backups as well. Depending on the size of the cataclysm there's a reasonable chance that of your home and work clones, one set will survive. You can also have a "parentsA/B/x" or "siblingA/B/x" drives if you visit relatives semi-regularly and they're farther away to protect against larger disasters.

Re:HDD Cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607519)

I actually did that for Katrina. At 6 A.M Sunday morning it was a cat 5 and still headed our way. Woke up my wife and told her to pack. Pulled the drive cage out, covered the case with plastic and two hours later we were on the road to Atlanta. We got some roof damage but half the town was washed away.

Time of Natural Disasters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605249)

Surely Dino Londis meant "time of natural disaster" (note the singular). It's unlikely that (in fact, it is irrelevant if) multiple disasters strike at once when a single one is sufficient to wipe you and your valuable data from this disk, err, sphere.

And since when is 2012 known as The Year of Natural Disasters? Is this an article about articles about consequences of interpretations of a Mayan calendar? No? Just asking ...

This is an easy one. (3, Interesting)

zippo01 (688802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605253)

http://www.pelican-case.com/ [pelican-case.com] If you break it they replace it. They are awesome and water proof cases. Just build you system inside, something happens, close the door. Done.

Re:This is an easy one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605325)

They claim that the TSA "risk their lives everyday for our security & freedom".

Oh, I forgot, they must mean STDs. Carry on ...

Here's a thought... (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605281)

... try not building your house in an area prone to hurricanes. Or, if you're going to do that, try not living in a house constructed along the same basic design as a plywood packing crate.

Most of the houses in the US would simply not be passed as fit for human habitation in the UK, because of their shoddy thin-crappy-wood-over-thin-crappy-frame construction.

Re:Here's a thought... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39605291)

Most of the economic policies in the US would simply not be passed as fit for human habitation in the UK, because of their shoddy thin-crappy-wood-over-thin-crappy-frame construction.

FTFY.

Well, until the '80s.

Now we've caught the disease and we're both fucked.

'complete devastation likely'

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605351)

Freaky shit DOES occur, however. However rare things can be, it happens. Back on June 1st, we had an F3 tornado tear us up--in Massachusetts. A complete and total shocker, as we never get ANY-thing like that. It started only about a quarter of a mile from where I live, and worsened in the next town over from us. By sheer luck and happenstance, I was facing the very beginning of it and whipped out my Crackberry to film it [youtu.be] . And yea, all I could say was "OMG", which I got dog-piled for in the comments...

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605559)

Haha! In fairness though it must have felt like the end of the world. I remember the first time I experienced an earthquake in the Philippines, I thought everyone was playing an extremely elaborate practical joke on me at first.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605711)

Can't have been much of an earthquake. Usually there is absolutely no doubt in your mind what is happening when you're in a "real" earthquake, it's pretty clear you're about to die. That's what it felt like in the 7.8 I was in.

Re:Here's a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606955)

Here it the Pacific North West the only extreme occurances we get here are earthquakes.
There have been three that I've felt. A small one local to me last year, a decent size one from a distance, and the Seattle '01. When the '01 one hit I was reading a book and thinking "What are those assholes doing upstairs? The house is shaking!" After a few seconds I realized it was an earthquake. The I wondered if the shaking was going to get worse, and then it stopped.

When the big one hits here it's going to suck.

Re:Here's a thought... (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605763)

Yet, despite your bleating, houses in the US survive hurricanes, and blizzards, and earthquakes. So, either you're talking out of your nether regions, or you don't know what you're talking about. (Same thing really.)

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

SirFatty (1940968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605831)

I like the part where you don't really know what you're talking about.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606575)

Most of the houses in the US would simply not be passed as fit for human habitation in the UK, because of their shoddy thin-crappy-wood-over-thin-crappy-frame construction.

First of all, these days, it's usually not thin crappy wood. It's thin sheets of sawdust and glue (OSB). The latest trend is to make more of the frame out of sawdust and glue, too (LVLs, etc.)

However, the construction can be stronger than it looks. A lot of the damage from hurricanes can be avoided by spending a tiny bit extra to include the appropriate metal hurricane straps that help hold the major parts of the structure together better than plain nails. Also, wood frame houses generally have excellent earthquake resistance due to their non-brittle nature. If the UK ever had a strong earthquake (unlikely as that may be), I would *not* want to be inside one of those countless unreinforced masonry dwellings.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606745)

I grew up in Florida during the 1960's with at least four major hurricanes during my childhood. We always thought they were fun. We got to erect tents in the living room and got new board games to play with.

Then afterwards we watched our folks blast rattlesnakes off the steps with shotguns.

Cinderblocks, hurricane shutters and no houses on the beach. No problem.

Then came federally funded flood insurance and idiots built on spots that only idiots would build on with the aforementioned packing-crate construction philosophy. I suppose it has it's advantages - for a bit of nuisance, you can have a new house paid for by the government every decade or so.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, or something along those lines.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606881)

Certainly, US houses wouldn't pass the test on the most devastating force in my country... Thieves. They would easily punch a hole through your wall, door, windows, and take your stuff. So that's how we build in my country... block as much you can the access in or out

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607993)

I just keep my gear portable. Hurricanes give enough warning.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609623)

You're kidding, right? I lived in south Florida for nine years, about an hour north of Miami. Those houses are built like forts, with low roof lines to reduce the likelihood that they'll be ripped off by winds, reinforcements in any tall walls so that they won't be toppled, solid cinderblock construction, interior rooms with numerous pipes running through the walls as an emergency fallback area, shutters that can be installed easily in a few hours, and many today even have glass that can take direct hits from large objects at 75, 80, or even more miles per hour without breaking. We were there through several hurricanes, including Andrew, and never once felt the need to evacuate.

Prior to that I lived outside of Los Angeles. Earthquakes were a regular thing as I was growing up. I was there through a few bigger ones. Again, construction there is designed to handle it.

These days I get threatened by tornados. Again, precautions are in place.

And there's nowhere to go that doesn't have natural disasters in the U.S.. To the north we get blizzards. To the south and east we get hurricanes. To the west we get earthquakes. And in the middle we get tornados. Unless you're suggesting we abandon the continent, you've done nothing more than call us idiots for living in our country and insulted the places we've built to withstand those disasters.

It's easy to pull out hyperbole like saying that "most" of our homes are not "fit for human habitation" when the worst natural disasters to hit your region in the last hundred years [wikipedia.org] have been heat waves, Category 2 and lower storms, and floods (which are easily mitigated with proper housing, the types of construction I was talking about earlier that we had in my 40+ year old Florida home, and a little better urban planning). That's not to say that your homes suck and ours are great. We simply deal with more stuff over here than you do over there, and sometimes we get something bigger than expected that knocks us down, just the same as it does with you guys. All I'm saying is that we each try to build according to our needs.

Well, that, and also that you're talking out of your ass.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611269)

None of those have hit my region. That's all in the south of England, which is as geographically and climatically different as Florida is from Alaska.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39611977)

What of it? My point there was that the natural disasters you contend with are not as severe as those we face here. If you are in a region that doesn't suffer from the worst varieties that have hit the UK, then you're merely making my point. I would also wager that your house would be no more able to withstand a strong hurricane than my current one, since those simply not threats we would often face. Again, we build to our needs. Both of us.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39620295)

Well, you know your 140mph hurricane-force winds? We call that January. This year has been unusually calm in that we didn't seen much over 100mph, but you get some years like that and you get some years where it doesn't go below 90mph for a week.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621235)

Funny you should mention January, since just earlier this year you guys were hit with Cyclone Ulli [wikipedia.org] , which was mentioned at the link I provided earlier as one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the UK. By your standards it was a trite storm, coming in with maximum gusts at a mere 106mph (i.e. equivalent to a Category 1 or 2 hurricane, depending on what its sustained wind speeds were), yet for some reason it caused about UK £190 million in damage. Odd that it should do so much damage if what you're saying is true.

Perhaps you got your mph and km/h mixed up? Because as far as I can tell you guys haven't been hit with a storm with gusts at 140mph in at least the last two decades, though my search was by no means exhaustive. The most costly natural disaster in British history was the Burn's Day storm [wikipedia.org] from just two decades ago at UK £3.37 billion, but it had sustained winds of only 70-75mph (i.e. tropical storm or VERY weak Category 1 hurricane level). I've found mention of gusts here and there, but none of them were above about 110mph.

Perhaps you could provide some links to demonstrate that anything you're saying is based in reality?

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39621363)

Hey, I'm just going by what I read off the airport weather station. Cyclone Ulli mostly hit the south of England, where it caused a lot of damage because they rarely get much wind. That's in a different country a very long way from here, though, and all we really got was a few slates off and a couple of trees down.

SimplyciTy (-1, Offtopic)

SimplyciTy (2611255) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605543)

Hey people how would you like a free iphone 4s just go to the link: http://www.iphone4sgiveaway.info/ [iphone4sgiveaway.info] ( ONLY EMAIL REQUIRED)

CrashPlan (1)

Brit_in_the_USA (936704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605779)

A previous Slashdot topic (many months ago) pointed out this program.

http://www.crashplan.com/ [crashplan.com] (Mac, windows, linux)

I've been using it for a few months and it has proven very reliable and useful. You can use it for free with a few unobtrusive ads in the UI. Thier business strategy seems to be to sell you storage space on their servers, but you don't need to pay a dime to use your own or your friends hard drive space.

You can set up all your pc's to backup to each other or certain locations (PC in your group/ Friends PC /External drive/local file folder) and configure what get's automatically backed up.
You can give out "referral keys" to your friends so they can store on your computer(s) and vica versa, however you can't see their files because you don't have their password.

Using this setup I have all my PC's backed up to my server. All my critical documents and family photos backed up off site to a friends PC and also to an external drive that spends 99% of it's time in a fire safe. I have also got my family in different towns and countries backed up to me.

It also does journaling so you can recover an older version of a file.

So choose a well trusted friend or family member and use crash plan to arrange your off site backups.

Relative risk depends on Individual (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605791)

I imagine the risks of cloud storage are average across all individuals... though we probably don't have enough info on which servers are located in Florida and how much redundancy the cloud server companies have. But we have different risks and exposures to hurricanes, floods, etc. Ultimately, how valuable is your info compared to the value you place on beachfront property?

This is a ridiculous story (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39605801)

In the case of a full on natural disaster of pretty much any type what will determine the state of any data you have in the range of said disaster is going to be dumb luck. When something like that hits, there's nothing at all you can do. Surge protectors, stuff off the floor, none of it makes a damned bit of difference. If you have off site backups and off site is outside the disaster zone you'll have data, if you have enough warning and can physically move your hardware out of the disaster zone before said disaster strikes, you'll probably be fine, absolutely anything else is a waste of time.

Re:This is a ridiculous story (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606197)

Not true. After Ike, most of the damaged computers I saw were from 3-6 inches of water. A few more were from small leaks, or blown wind. Plastic trash bags, and setting them on the desk would have saved almost all of them. Other than the one company that bagged all the computers and put them together on the same table in the middle of the room. The roof collapsed partially there, knocking them all off the table. :) Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug...

Hysterical word choices (2)

bbartlog (1853116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606023)

''catastrophic,' 'complete devastation likely,' and 'unsurvivable,'" I think these words accurately describe the effect that their new, scary vocabulary choices will have on their credibility. Really, no matter how dramatic your warning is, some people are just going to think they can tough it out - has far more to do with the temperament of the person than with specific verbiage. Getting all hysterical might motivate a few more people in the short term, but long run it makes you look silly and might even lead otherwise sensible people to ignore your warnings.

Re:Hysterical word choices (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606203)

The overly aggressive warnings to evacuate for Rita are why so many people chose to stay for Ike. It was a poor choice...

Off Site (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606025)

I have a ton of photos, so do members of my family. So, we are each others off site backups. When we visit, data on external "grab and go" hard drives get synced and checked, and extra copies of the good pictures get stored on laptops or media centers, etc, to cover drive failure. At the end of a visit, there may be 6 copies of files, and only 2 stay local. No one minds encrypted files either. Need to sync something important when not visiting? Email an encrypted zip and instructions to store it.

Needless to say, this won't work in a secure corporate environment, of if all your family is in the same disaster. But for us, if the same disaster hits all of us, it probably won't be survivable at all.

your data? (1)

issicus (2031176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606215)

I have seen a few posts about how to keep your data safe, where and how to back it up. Is it really that important? and if so use some common sense... damn..

Another Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606325)

Sentry Safe (and many others no doubt), have Safes designed to store USB powered devices, and you can connect to them from the outside of the safe. The sentry safes for this, are water, fire and security rated.

http://www.sentrysafe.com/Products/278/QE5541_FIRE-SAFE

duplicity and duply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39606339)

Fabulous freeware. Using mine to backup to http://www.strongspace.com

Nothing truly worth it digitally... (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606391)

I have nothing digitally worth risking the life or myself or my family.

Really when you come down to it a disaster is just that and keeping the people around you safe is a million times more important than anything else you may have.

That said my choice of solutions would be a FedEx box full of hard drives to a friend across the country or a good tape safe that is water and fire resistant.

Of course like most I/T people I don't back up nearly enough. ^_^

'Scuse me....something I gotta go do...

Off Site Backup (1)

CharlieG (34950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606433)

Folks, you don't need a local/wide area disaster to cause these problems. How many houses burn down every day? Keeping your 'stuff' off the floor helps, but the only thing that REALLY works is some form of off site backup. Be that "swap the USB drive with the one kept in the bank once a week" (then you only lose a weeks worth of stuff) to automated backups. The DISADVANTAGE of 'swap to the bank' is that MOST folks have their bank close to home, and whatever takes out "home" could prevent you from getting to your backup

That said, backup plans can get a tad 'extreme'. Back when I was a kid, and just getting interested in computers (aka I think this was circa 1972) I got a tour of a data center where the folks were truly paranoid (but they were also using it for load sharing)

The had 2 redundant mainframes at each data location. The location I toured was in Downtown Manhattan. There was another center in Midtown, then there was one outside Boston, One in Chicago, One in California, London, Munich, Paris, and Tokyo. The LAST data center was in Alice Springs. Yes - their disaster plan DID figure in Nuclear War

Re:Off Site Backup (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606669)

That's a remarkably bad choice if they are figuring in nulear war. Given Pine Gap is 10 miles away and a likely first strike target, since it is (or was, or was thought to be - which is good enough for the other side to hit it) a ballistic lauch detection station and signals intelligence station.

Just one term: "Offsite Backup" (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39606861)

If you do not have it, you are doing it fundamentally wrong anyways. If you select "the cloud" as backup target, make sure it is several independent providers. Personally, I have two vServers for backup, but my essential stuff is 10GB. What also works is a safe deposit box, if you do not mind traveling there at least once a month.

External Hard Drives = mobile (1)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608607)

If there's a complete devastation warning, I'm getting the heck out. And some of the first things I grab will be the his&hers external backup drives. Together they'll take up a few dozen cubic inches, and you have complete system states on there for our systems. If there's more time, I might grab the towers or at least disassemble them and take out the drives, but the backups are a good, easy-to-grab start. I won't even grab the cords if I'm in a hurry...those are easy enough to replace for cheap.

Can't remember the past - must repeat it... (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39610389)

Couldn't get the full quote in the title so I shortened it. Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters and catastrophies regularly demonstrate the lack of prepareness that the IT community has. For example, during hurricane Katrina, the phone system's equipment actually worked, cell sites worked but what failed is the battery backup system which was placed in the basement. The basement was the first to flood.

One company performed an offsite backup and stored it in a bank safety deposit box as per standard disaster recovery practice. During hurrican Katrina, the company facilities flooded and the bank flooded too! It took 3 months before the water receded enough to retrieve the backups from the bank's safety deposit boxes!

When the World Trade Center came down, it took out a major telco exchange. Replacing the equipment was trivial compared to replacing the cabling infrastructure. Read this article on the magnitude of repairing the infrastructure [abilitymagazine.com] .

Important data yes (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39612255)

If you want a great low cost way to make sure you don't lose your digital life just buy off-site back up protection. Currently my two main drives which hold everything I would want to keep get backed up in Germany once a week. I think the entire deal costs me something like 15 a month Canadian, not even a value to think twice about.
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