Data Recovery

Also known as “The Onion Router,” Tor is a free anonymization service that allows people to hide their IP addresses and thus surf the web anonymously. When the Tor software is installed, it routes users’ internet traffic through Tor’s network of randomly selected volunteer-run relays that exist all over the world. All of that traffic gets encrypted and re-encrypted multiple times until it reaches the exit node, which decrypts only the last layer of encryption and send it to the proper destination without revealing who the sender is.

silk roadAccording to the Tor website, “Tor helps to reduce the risks of both simple and sophisticated traffic analysis by distributing your transactions over several places on the Internet, so no single point can link you to your destination. The idea is similar to using a twisty, hard-to-follow route in order to throw off somebody who is tailing you- and then periodically erasing your footprints. Instead of taking a direct route from source to destination, data packets on the Tor network take a random pathway through several relays that cover your tracks so no observer at any single point can tell where the data came from or where it’s going.”

The anonymity that Tor makes accessible has been both appreciated and reviled; it protects ethical political dissidents in repressive regimes and whistleblowers, for example, but criminals also use it to partake in illegal activity like buying drugs off the Silk Road and sex trafficking.

Unfortunately for Tor and it’s users, the service may not promise as much anonymity as it claims.

According to Tor Project Director Roger Dingledine, Carnegie Mellon researchers “were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes.” He also claimed that the payment to CMU was at least $1 million.

carnegie mellonMatthew Green, a professor in the computer science department at Johns Hopkins University, explained how the service users were identified: “If a person controls a large fraction of the computers that operate the Tor network, there are attacks they can run that correlate where a user’s traffic is being bounced around the network. By doing that, you can de-anonymize the users, actually track them back to their real address.”

Tor identified that a group of computers was undergoing this exact process back in 2014 and kicked them off the network. It did not immediately understand the source of the attack, but when two CMU researchers were scheduled to present a session titled “You Don’t Have to Be the NSA to Break Tor: De-anonymizing Users on a Budget,” Tor didn’t miss a beat.

Their presentation included methodology reminiscent of the one that hacked Tor: “In our analysis, we’ve discovered that a persistent adversary with a handful of powerful servers and a couple gigabit links can de-anonymize hundreds of thousands of Tor clients and thousands of hidden services within a couple months.”

When the talk was promptly cancelled, Tor suspected the researchers must have been behind the attack on the network earlier in the year.

Many businesses suffer from an ongoing battle against data breach in today’s world of ever-mounting digital threats on assets and proprietary data. Even individuals are at risk of losing their information to identity thieves or blackmailers. The Ponemon Institute’s 2014 Cost of Data Breach study found that the average data breach costs an organization about $5.9 million. While most businesses have security practices in place, third-party data recovery vendors are some of the most common perpetrators of data theft.

Here are some of the best practices for businesses and individuals to implement for their own protection and to close the security gap in the data recovery process.

data breach2

  1. Gap Analysis

An internal inventory must be conducted at least once a year to determine if a security gap exists within an organization. A company should be able to answer the following questions:

In the case of a failure on the part of a storage system, is the drive sent to a data recovery vendor?

Is an incident report filed? By whom?

What is the data recovery vendor selection criterion? Are data recovery vendors properly checked and validated?

What is the current audit and assessment process for third-party data recovery vendors? Who is in charge of that process?

  1. Internal and External Policy Revision

In the event that a security gap is identified, internal procedures must be rewritten so that they include business continuity, disaster recovery and incident response plans.

  1. Maintain Enforcement

Companies should conduct mandatory annual security reviews and employee training deployment in order to ensure that internal and external policy revision can make a real difference in the safety of the company’s data.

  1. Examine Third-Party Data Recovery Providers Closely and Check Their Histories

Ensure that the data recovery vendor possesses up-to-date documents from a third-party security auditing company and that those documents comply with SOX and GLBA. The SOC II Type 2 certification is especially helpful as it requires background checks for all employees prior to employment.

The following criterion are a great start:

  • Proof of internal information technology controls and data security safeguards, such as annual SOC 2 Type II audits
  • Employee training programs that ensure sensitive and confidential data is protected
  • Certified and trained engineers
  • Proof of Chain of Custody documentation and certified secure network
  • Employee background checks
  • Secure and permanent data destruction when required
  • Use of encryption for files in transit
  • Proof of a certified ISO Class 5 Cleanroom

By following these steps, companies and individuals can protect themselves against data theft.  Remember that data theft can happen any time in any place, so always having your data backed up to a hard drive that is stored in a safe place can be the difference between a hiccup in your business and the bitter end. Take the time to be safe with your information and always ask for certification from anyone who wants or needs access to your personal or commercial information; you’ll find the cost of error makes it worth it!

The loss of all the data stored can be very frustrating for any individual. If someone loses all the photos, important files and document stored in their computer, it becomes difficult for them to work effectively. Here comes the role of data recovery person.

  1. Data recovery is essential in case someone is working with some important project and has all the data stored at one place. Then s it is loss of data is not welcomed it becomes essential to retrieve it back.
  2. Also nobody likes to lose all their important personal information which is generally stored in our laptops and computers.

Data Recovery Processes for 3 Major Disasters

SSD or Solid state drive data recovery: SSDs are much better than hard drives and it is believed that eventually they will replace hard drives. They store more information and do not involve any physical parts. So accidental damage physically is ruled out but it can fail due to electric reasons. There are still many ways by which the data stored in SSD can be lost. Here are some of them:

  1. Electronic failure: This is the main reason of failure. As no mechanical components are present, the data is lost due to connector failure or corruption of data due to power failure.
  2. The electric components can also lead to it. In addition, data can be lost due to chip failure.

Because of such kind of failures, the recovery of data is rather difficult in SSD. It is one of the most recent technologies which are used in laptops, computers and other devices. Though with time there can be no wear and tear but still chances of data failure are high in this too. It is also expensive to recover data from SSD.

Flash drives data recovery: This is also a recent technology which is used widely. It includes SD card, USB flash drives, compact flash cards and it is really compact and also does not involve any mechanical components. Here also the damage can be because of viruses and malwares. It can be also accidental loss of information.

  1. When any kinds of virus attack flash drive, it makes the information unreadable. Sometimes a person is not able to open the file only. It becomes corrupt. This can lead to loss of important data.
  2. Physical damage to USB drives like using the wrong drive or accidental spillage of water can lead to data loss. There can also be accumulation of access dirt and someone unknown can also damage the drive.

But data recovery in most cases can be done easily. A professional’s help is required who knows how to access the lost data. The expert can definitely help one to get all the information back.

Data can be lost but can also be retrieved by a professional. One should not try online software as they can further increase the damage.