A Distributed Denial of Service Attack on Ancestry.com and other Genealogy Sites

 

Ancestry.com

There was an attack on ancestry.com by hackers yesterday, taking down the entire site and all of its associated sites including FindAGrave, newspapers.com, and many of the databases shared by JewishGen.  That means I could not access my tree or do more research except on the FamilySearch website.  Although I have my tree backed up on my computer, I had not backed it up in the last week or so (stupidity on my part), so it was not up to date.

What have I learned from this?  I am too dependent on ancestry.com for storing my family history information.  Yes, I do download copies of all the photographs and most of the documents to my computer, and they are also accessible through FamilyTreeMaker, the family tree software I have on my computer.  All my blog posts are also stored in Word format on my computer as well as on WordPress, the host of this blog.  But what if my hard drive is destroyed? What if WordPress is attacked?  How do we protect our photographs and documents as safely as possible?  I can’t imagine losing everything that I have worked so hard to find and collect, so if others out there have suggestions, please let me know.

Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ancestry.com was up very briefly this morning, so I was able to update my hard drive version of my tree with Family Tree Maker.  But it is down again now, and I am just wondering how much at risk my saved files and research are and will be in the future.

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “A Distributed Denial of Service Attack on Ancestry.com and other Genealogy Sites

  1. Wow, I had no idea this had happened. Mind you I use the co.uk version of the site and haven’t had any issues with it today. I often keep back ups of back ups. I have two external hard drives which I save everything to, so if one fails I have the other one. I don’t keep anything stored on my PC’s hard drive other than program files which are easily restored if you have the discs etc.

    Like

    • Wow, I can’t believe you can get on to the UK version since this has been reported as a worldwide outage since yesterday. Maybe I should try to log on through the UK site…

      I do back up to one external hard drive, but not regularly enough. I keep things on my computer so that I have easy access to them when I want to add something to the blog. I never thought about a SECOND external hard drive. I guess you can never be too careful with these materials.

      Thanks, Alex! And I hope ancestry stays on line for you all across the pond!

      Like

      • Well I was able to use Ancestry about an hour ago – but now is not loading so does seem to have affected the co.uk version too now. *sigh* helpful!

        Like

      • Yes, the US version was also working around 8 am our time, and then it conked out about 40 minutes ago. ARGGGH, Damn hackers…

        Like

      • Not so great when I need it for researching for clients. Luckily I am using some other sites at the moment so hopefully by the time I need to come back to Ancestry it will be back online!

        Like

  2. I use carbonite and find them to be very good. When I bought my new computer they just downloaded all my files into the new computer. It was very easy. This is how I protect my hard drive. Also about twice a year I make a cd of my family tree.

    Like

      • Just google for carbonite I am sure they will pop up. But all that carbonite is a cloud storage system that backs up your computer everyday. I have used them now over 3 years and find them to be excellent. The family tree maker software that I use allows me to make a copy on a cd recordable disk. I also have my tree on my wife’s lap top, my son’s pc and my granddaughter’s lap top. So I hope it is all covered. Oh yes also on a pc that I use that never goes on line.

        Like

  3. I have been struggling with ancestry all morning and finally gave up and started reading the blogs I follow – I am so glad you put this out here – I had no idea they had been hacked. I am usually pretty faithful in backing my research up but I am sure some information gets through the cracks now and then. Thank you again for this information.

    Like

    • You are welcome. Supposedly everything is secure. No data was list. And they say they are back in service mostly. I haven’t had a chance to try yet since this morning.

      Like

  4. This is very helpful, Amy. I struggle with similar issues as far as backing up, keeping things on ancestry, etc. I had no idea ancestry (or any of their other sites) were having issues until I saw a bunch of posts on facebook last night. I just checked and while I can get into their site, I can’t access my trees. Fortunately I just synched with FTM over the weekend and haven’t done much sense.

    Like

  5. Please don’t use the term “hacked” here. Being “hacked” (which implies unauthorized access to administrative privileges) is a far cry from being assaulted by an army of “Denial of Service” bots who care nothing about actually compromising the website security or data.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Ancestry Frustration! | Root To Tip

  7. I use Gdrive (owned by Google) to save all my files, (I don’t have an external hard drive – need to get one). Gdrive is very good though, I have access to all my files whether using my pc, phone or tablet. It is also attached to my Google account. Everything I do on all my devices is automatically saved onto gdrive.I have used carbonate in the past (it is also very good), but the downside is you need to pay. My worry with that is, who will pay the bill when I’m gone/or what if I forget to pay the bill (they will close and delete everything 😦 at least with gdrive, all my family need is my password.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good suggestion—I do have a google account, so I will check it out. Is that the same as Google Docs? Since the DDOS attack, I’ve uploaded everything to OneDrive through WIndows AND some ASUS cloud storage, but hey, the more the merrier! Thanks!

      Like

      • I am sure it’s all connected in someway 🙂 I am sure Google is a safe bet too, plus they don’t hold your bank details (unless you pay for extra space) but you get more then enough for free.
        I like gdrive. All I need do is open my photo album (on my phone) and I can scroll through every photo, family video and document I have ever uploaded. The same on all my devices.
        And your welcome. 🙂

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s