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DriveSavers Gets "Wired" and Rescues Senior Writer's Data

Mat Honan

If you've read any online technology stories in the past few weeks, you may already be aware of Wired's Mat Honan and the "epic hack" that occurred when two hackers used bits of personal information to gain access to his Apple iCloud account and remotely wiped (overwriting with a repeating pattern) his MacBook Air, iPad and iPod. The hackers also took over his Google and Twitter accounts where they posted racist comments.


Honan lost more than a year's worth of personal photos and videos covering the first year and a half of his baby daughter's life. Documents and emails were also lost and he found that the occasional data backups he had been performing were useless as he tried to piece together his digital life. With his confidence broken and privacy violated, he now wanted to take extra steps to seek out the most secure data recovery provider. Mat Honan commented about his data privacy, "I am an over-sharer. But the things most intimate in life, I tend to keep private."


After careful consideration, and recommendations from several well-respected technology gurus including TWiT's Leo Laporte, Mat selected DriveSavers to recover his digital life. The recovery itself proved to be a challenge for a number of reasons. The MacBook Air contained a solid-state hard drive (SSD). Unlike hard drives that use a spinning platter and floating read/write heads, SSDs have no moving parts and data is stored on rewritable chips. Fortunately, for many years now, DriveSavers has been working with SSDs and flash memory and have developed a number of specialized hardware and software tools to accommodate the technology.


In addition, the SSD from the MacBook had been wiped. Using the Apple iCloud website or the Find My iPhone app, owners of iPads, iPhones, desktop and portable Macs can initiate a remote wipe if their device becomes lost or stolen. In Mat's case he was able to stop the remote wipe in progress by powering down immediately after booting up his MacBook. But even though the process had been stopped, it already had removed several gigabytes of data and directory structure. Through a recreation of the wipe and numerous attempts we were finally able to get back thousands of pictures, movies, documents and email.


To read more about the process read the story on Wired's website:


Data Security Lessons Learned from Mat Honan's Epic HackChained laptop

Data loss can and does happen to anyone. It doesn't matter how tech-savvy you are, how often you back up or how safe you believe your data is - it will (most likely) become lost or inaccessible for some reason at some time. Bearing that thought in mind and taking Mat Honan's loss as an example, we've put together some advanced data protection tips.


Back up data regularly - No matter how busy you are, protecting your data (or your customer's data) is imperative. Make backups easier by automating the process with software. For added protection use the triple-redundant method: Back up locally to a hard drive or other media, back up to a secondary local device and take the media offsite; back up across a network to a server or online backup service.


Use a password manager - It's practically impossible to remember all the passwords you use when logging into various websites. That's why many people use the same password for many different websites. While it's convenient to use a single password, it defeats the purpose of having them. The best option, besides keeping a printed copy locked in a safe deposit box, is to use a password manager such as Roboform or LastPass.


Encrypt sensitive data - Encrypting data on your computer can protect you from an unwanted breach of security or privacy should your computer become stolen. As we were wrapping up this newsletter edition, a news story appeared stating that hackers leaked more than 1 million Apple iPhone and iPad IDs, allegedly stolen from an FBI laptop. Youcan read about it here. While the FBI is denying that the data came from them, this particular case demonstrates how encrypted data can protect sensitive you.

Friday, October 1, 2021

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