02-02-12 | Blog Post

Megaupload’s Series of Unfortunate Events

Blog Posts

The recent government shutdown of Megaupload, a massive file-sharing service said to house a substantial amount of copyrighted media, has put into motion a series of unfortunate events and provided valuable lessons learned.

Server Data Deletion
Megaupload’s servers contained more than 25 petabytes (approximately 25 million gigabytes) of data storage (Mashable.com). While the data includes some copyrighted material, a great amount of the data is also legitimate, personal data uploaded by the owners of the content. But the data may be lost forever – initially, the U.S. Attorney’s Office claims the hosting companies that house Megaupload’s servers have filed a letter stating they may begin deleting data as early Thursday, while more recent reports claim the companies have agreed to wait two weeks before wiping servers.

However, a nonprofit, Electronic Frontier Foundation, just announced they will be partnering with Carpathia Hosting to help the legitimate users retrieve their data with at www.megaretrieval.com.

With at least 50 million users’ data at risk of deletion, one to has to wonder if the right to destroy data without providing a copy to their rightful owners or their client was included in their hosting contract. Make sure you know where your data goes if something happens to your cloud hosting provider or if you decide to terminate your contract. While various articles and blogs on this topic point the finger at the cloud storage industry as a whole, the issue at hand is really more about your service provider’s terms of service and your understanding of them.

No Data Backup
Since Megaupload’s assets and domains were frozen, they’ve been unable to pay for their hosting, bandwidth and system administration services and users cannot access their data to back it up. Offsite backup could have come in handy in this situation. Backing up your data to an offsite data center would ensure you still have a copy of your files, instead of depending solely on the state of your servers. A law enforcement official claims the site “clearly warned users not to keep a sole copy of material on the site,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

File-Sharing Recoil
According to PCMag.com, several smaller cloud-based services are changing their services in response to the Megaupload case. FileSonic and Upload.to have disabled their file-sharing functionality, and others are shutting down their affiliate programs. Megaupload paid its users to upload popular files to the site, another point of contention in the case. Many similar file hosting sites have cancelled similar rewards programs.

Hacker Retaliation
Last Thursday, the hacker group Anonymous launched a DDos (denial-of-service) attack on several related websites, taking down those owned by the Department of Justice, FBI, Motion Picture Associate of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Associate of America (RIAA) and Universal Music Group, according to InformationWeek.com.

As the domino effect of the Megaupload saga continues to play out, other businesses should take note of these lessons learned to take necessary measures to protect themselves and their/their clients data.

Megaupload Shows Online Copyright Protection is Needed
Cloud Storage and What SMBs Can Learn from Megaupload’s Demise
After Megaupload, Storage Sites Shutter Services
Feds: Megaupload User Data could Be Gone Thursday
Megaupload Users Get Reprieve on File Wipe
Megaupload’s Ripple Effect
Megaupload Users Plan to Sue FBI Over Deleted Files
Nonprofit to Help Megaupload Users Retrieve Data

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