V is for Voltage is back - down, but not out, we live on

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Joined: Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 17:00
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V is for Voltage is back - down, but not out, we live on

Many of you have noted that VisForVoltage has been down since Saturday. Some contacted me asking what's going on. It's been a small nightmare for me the last couple days, but I was able to get this site running again after several days of downtime.

So, what happened? The hosting company (Dreamhost) tells me the server was almost completely wiped and a hacker had left a "ransom note" saying that if I clicked on some http-something-or-other link and paid a fee the server would be restored. The downtime affected not just VisForVoltage but my other sites also on the server - DavidHerron.com and LongTailPipe.com and a couple others.

Rather than pay any ransom, I worked with Dreamhost to do a security scan of the server, to locate a recent backup, and to get things set up again.

I rebuilt (from source) the software running all three sites to make sure there weren't any backdoors carried forward. I had to do some low level database surgery - because the database backup was a raw database file, rather than an SQL dump.

We have over 9 years of history stored on this website. I am glad to say this legacy will live on and remain a useful resource for us all.

UPDATE: The site was restored using a backup from March 10, and it seems the site went down late Friday night (the 11th) or early Saturday (the 12th). That makes it likely a few postings or comments have been lost. I wish I had better news in that regard, but at the same time I'm feeling much elation that VisForVoltage is still alive.

If you see any issues or problems, let me know and I'll try to fix them.

One side effect is that the site may be slower than it has been. A year or so ago I'd been able to move to having a local MySQL instance on the server -- that coupled with a server using SSD storage meant a huge speed boost. I was no longer able to set up a local MySQL instance, and instead the database for this site is on a separate server. That will have some performance impact, and we'll have to see what that impact is.

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