Beam me up
May 28, 2011 7:20 AM   Subscribe

So, I have nearly a terabyte of photos of my daughter stored on a computer which has been taken over by tr/crypt.xpack.gen (if that is your real name). It would probably be best that I store the photos on some sort of server somewhere (clouds?), but I know nothing of such things. Any advice on online storage, computer security, and not shooting in raw would be greatly appreciated. Please help, as we would rather not have to force my daughter back in the womb to recreate the photos of her birth.

The photos are both large and plentiful, in case that affects storage decisions. Also, the trojan has made internet searches impossible as it redirects me when I click on links. I've already run AVG, McAfee, Mawarebytes, ATI, and Avast to no avail though it's possible I didn't have some of the setting correct.

Please feel free to speak to me (in this and any other tech-y type conversation) as if I were the town idiot from the Land-of-No-Computers.
posted by defreckled to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want advice on rescuing the hard drive or advice about normal backups or advice about online storage services?
posted by beerbajay at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2011

Can't help you with the computer issue, but as for image storage, you simply can't beat They're super cheap, totally reliable and offer unlimited storage. I've used them for many years and trust them with all my business images.
posted by blaneyphoto at 7:40 AM on May 28, 2011

The biggest problem with storing that much data online comes from the bandwidth involved - Talking months of fairly heavy traffic, and any online host will charge you an arm and a leg for that.

Most likely, you want a pair of cheap 2TB NASes (NOT external USB drives, actual NASes). These sit on your local network and all your PCs can get to them just like a normal Windows shared folder, but they don't depend on any particular PC to keep working. I say two of them because you'll want to keep one live, and keep the other one as a backup (turn it every now and then, sync it to the live one, and then turn it back off). They can fail just like anything else, so don't trust "off my PC" as 100% "safe".

You can (and should) also use them for more than just photos - Pretty much any "data"-y files (as opposed to programs, that you want to keep local to a PC) you work with, you should keep on the NAS.

That way, when disaster strikes, you may in the worst case need a new PC, but you don't need to worry about trying to recover data from a crashed HDD, or files mangled by a virus, or anything of that nature.

Now, for getting your files off the current infected machine once you know where you want to put them - Personally, I would boot into Knoppix (a standalone Linux distribution that boots from DVD and which a Windows virus can't affect), mount the source and destination drives, and copy the images to their new home. If not familiar with Linux, perhaps you can find someone to help? This won't involve a lot of work - One beer's worth, at most. ;)
posted by pla at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree with pla. But keep the other backup drive in your desk at work or at a friend or family member's house. This will protect you against theft, tornado, fire, etc...

Optionally use True Crypt if you want encrypt the drive before letting it out of the house.
posted by I love You at 8:21 AM on May 28, 2011

Wouldn't keeping the backup NAS at another place simply recreate the bandwidth problem?
posted by bardophile at 9:31 AM on May 28, 2011

bardophile writes "Wouldn't keeping the backup NAS at another place simply recreate the bandwidth problem?"

SneakerNet handles the bandwidth.
posted by Mitheral at 9:36 AM on May 28, 2011

So you'd bring the NAS back from the secondary location every time you were going to back up? Not trying to be obtuse here, it's just my natural state.
posted by bardophile at 9:43 AM on May 28, 2011

Try not to give up on getting rid of the virus just yet. Have you done a full sweep of your computer in safe mode? This might save you the headache of having to transfer all of your pictures.

In safe mode, your operating systems runs on minimum resources; this eliminates any possibility of the virus using the internet to "hide" from being detected by scanners (and because you said that the virus is redirecting you when you get on the internet, this may be happening). Basically, just turn on your computer, continuously press F8, select 'Safe Mode,' and go from there. Hope this helps.
posted by lobbyist at 10:17 AM on May 28, 2011

Ya, sorry that wasn't much of an explanation. In my system I've got three drives. The one that's active and two backups. One backup is held off site and the second is next to the active drive. Every couple of weeks or so I refresh the backup and then take it over to my mom's place where I pickup the back up that is there and take it home. Doing it this way means all copies of my data are never in the same place and at worst if my house is burgled or burns down I only lose a couple weeks of data.

You can do this with just an active and a back up but there is slight possibility of losing your data when those drives are in the same place. I do the three drive thing because I tend to forget to take a single drive back to my remote location once the drive is synced.
posted by Mitheral at 10:17 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

bardophile : So you'd bring the NAS back from the secondary location every time you were going to back up?

Yep. As a "best practices" approach to maintaining good backups, you would normally have at least two backup devices (often tapes, but HDDs actually cost less and hold a lot more), which you rotate on/off-site every time you freshen the backup. A commonly used version of this has a weekly full backup with perhaps a month's worth of offsite devices (so four plus the one onsite) and daily incremental backups.

For home use, you can get away with just one device, which you might normally store in a drawer at work or at your parents' house or something like that. Once a week or so, bring it home, do the backup, and take it back offsite. Note that that doesn't give you 100% protection from a site-specific event causing data loss (if your house burns down overnight when you have the backup device on-site, you may lose both the original and the backup), though, so it all boils down to cost vs reliability.

Personally, I have a detached garage, where I keep a live mirror of my home file server (as well as a weekly-or-thereabouts backup to a cheap NAS I normally keep offline). I suppose some major event could destroy all three copies of my data, but if it did, I likely wouldn't survive such an event anyway, so don't really care. ;)
posted by pla at 10:20 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry Mitheral, didn't see your reply the last time I refreshed.
posted by pla at 10:21 AM on May 28, 2011

At least some NAS systems come with remote replication baked in too, which doesn't help with the initial backup, but does help keep things up to date. Build the duplicate drives on your local network, move one off site and let the replicating wizard keep the two in sync. The QNAP NAS I have does this with an rsync job , so it's reasonably safe and band-width efficient. It's a bit of work and moderately expensive to set-up, but a no-brainer, magic-happens system after that.
posted by bonehead at 11:50 AM on May 28, 2011

By the way, "NAS" means "network-attached storage." I don't believe that's a common acronym.
posted by Noumenon at 6:31 AM on May 29, 2011

« Older Eating and Cooking in Italy   |   Got my "Ghost Hunter" business card, now what? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.