[Box Backup] Danger of files being erased

Pascal Lalonde boxbackup at fluffy.co.uk
Sun Feb 1 18:16:57 GMT 2004

I've been thinking...

What happens if a box running the BoxBackup client gets broken into?
What if that person has bad intentions, or worse, is filled with intentions
of the purest evil, decides to use the BoxBackup client to log in the
server and destroy your backup?

Is it possible to somehow delete all backupped files using the client?
If so, it is quite frightening. I'm not saying that I'm expecting my
servers to be compromised, but you can never be 100% safe. Maybe there
should be an additionnal protection when it comes to deleting files. For
example, the server could refuse deleting any files unless the client
supplies a specific passphrase. And also is it possible to lock the
backup key, like putting a passphrase on it? Of course the passphrase
has to be entered before using the key, which means when bbackupd or
bbackupquery is started.

And I was also thinking about some maintenance functions. After a while,
the server may be filled with a lot of old data. Maybe there should be a
utility which removes all data that is X days or older, unless there is
only one version of the file, of course. This is yet another suggestion,
which I don't have a need for right now, but it could be handy someday.
Consider a big user base which works with big data files that are updated
often, maybe within a few months the data on the server would grow too big.

Aside from that, I haven't played a lot with BoxBackup yet. But here are
the good points I noticed:

- The server hasn't crashed. It runs on OpenBSD 3.3. It doesn't seem to
  be leaking, having run for a few days. (Although the data backed up it
  pretty small, it may not be significant). From ps aux:
  _bbstored  2040  0.0  0.5  1340  1328 ??  S     Wed06PM    0:00.74
  bbstored: server (bbstored)
  _bbstored 28541  0.0  1.0  2980  2624 ??  S     Wed06PM    0:13.02
  bbstored: housekeeping, idle (bbstored)

- Same for the client. It hasn't crashed:
  root     14512  0.0  0.8  1016  2164 ??  I     Thu01AM    0:10.28
  bbackupd: idle (bbackupd)

- It was a little tricky to install, but I suspect the next version will
  fix a lot of that. Once it is installed though, you can forget about
  it and it just runs, silently.

- I like the way files are restored, although a little search command
  could be useful someday.

- I'm really considering running it on every machine I own. I'm just
  waiting to get more disk space.

- Especially useful with a laptop!

I don't backup a lot of data yet, so I can't really say more than that
for now, and maybe with more data other problems will arise.

Oh, and I noticed a typo in bbackupquery:
Unrecognised command -> Unrecognized command
'z', not 's'.

Pascal Lalonde

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